One of the most common questions I’ve gotten having completed two novels is, “Where’d ya’ get your idea for the plots?” Well, ideas for a great story can come from anywhere and everywhere. Having just finished reading the The Plot by author, Jean Hanff Korelitz, that’s a question this book’s main character, Jacob Finch Bonner will be haunted by. Why? Because he stole the plot from one of his former, and now very dead, writing student and made himself famous and landed his new book on the New York Bestseller’s list.
The story begins when Jacob is teaching writing at Ripley College and has been struggling to publish anything worthy since his first novel. Enter the story is Evan Parker, an arrogant young man with disdain for any kind of feedback this third rate instructor can give him. Evan boasts that he already has the best idea for a novel and that even if you were a bad writer, this book would be a guaranteed success. When Jacob begins reading Evan’s work, he has to admit that this kid has something special. And when Evan finally discloses the plot, Jacob knows this kid will eventually have a #1 bestseller.
Fast forward a couple of years and Jacob wonders why the bestselling novel hasn’t arrived on the scene yet. The answer, Evan Parker is dead and there doesn’t seem to be any novel that materialized. So what’s an author to do? Yep, you guessed it, Jacob takes the plot of his former student and writes his own #1 bestseller. Jacob is enjoying the notoriety and fortune that comes from writing such a masterpiece. That is until he receives the email from TalentedTom@gmail.com informing him that he’s a thief, stealing the plot of someone else’s story.
Jacob continues to receive emails and other correspondence that threaten his future. He frantically follows the tricky trail of Evan Parker’s life, trying to discover who is determine to destroy him and his career. The whole time the reader can feel Jacob’s nagging guilt and the palpable terror of being exposed.
I enjoyed The Plot very much. I have to admit though, I figured out fairly early in the story how it was going to end. I was a bit disappointed in my discovery, but I still thought it was an excellent read. I believe I gained more from this book simply as a writer myself. It really spoke to me regarding the struggles writers have, the insecurities of being good enough, the fear of judgement, and yes, failure. But overall, I would definitely recommend this book to my friends who like a good mystery.