Fame Shark

  • Review
By – June 10, 2013

It’s easy to hate Roy­al Young, author of the new mem­oir, Fame Shark: Tales of a Low­er East Side Hus­tler. Young tells his own sto­ry of liv­ing in the squalor of the Low­er East Side and doc­u­ments his numer­ous attempts, some sad, oth­ers over the top ridicu­lous, to taste any­thing of fame. He is young, brash, pre­ten­tious, mean, judg­men­tal, and unabashed­ly self-aggran­diz­ing. With an artist dad who seeks to live vic­ar­i­ous­ly through his son and a ther­a­pist moth­er who admin­is­ters tests on her boy, Young appears to buy the great Amer­i­can lie of the last forty years: you are unique. From the ear­li­est of ages, des­per­ate to be on screen, even more des­per­ate to just be the cen­ter of someone’s atten­tion, ulti­mate­ly the world’s attention. 

You would hate Mr. Roy­al Young if he wasn’t so damn hon­est and endear­ing about it all. He isn’t ask­ing for sym­pa­thy or empa­thy, or even sup­port. He knows how grat­ing he can sound and doesn’t care, and this is where his genius lies. As much as this is a mem­oir, like every good mem­oir, it strad­dles the line between fact and fic­tion. This book is the record­ing of a life as much as it is a hilar­i­ous and often poignant per­for­mance, a chance to fol­low an obses­sion tol the end of its rope.

Celebri­ty, Judaism, and the Low­er East Side: An Inter­view with Roy­al Young

Read Roy­al Young’s Posts for the Vis­it­ing Scribe

Joseph Win­kler is a free­lance writer liv­ing in New York City. He writes for Vol1Brooklyn, The Huff­in­g­ton Post, Jew­cy, and oth­er sites. While not writ­ing, Joe is get­ting a Mas­ters in Eng­lish Lit­er­a­ture at City Col­lege. To sup­port his extrav­a­gant lifestyle, Joe also tutors and unabashed­ly babysits. Check out his blog at nocon​ver​sa​tion​left​be​hind​.blogspot​.com.

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