Review: My Year as a Clown by Robert Steven Williams

Silver Medal Winner for Popular Fiction from the Independent Publisher Book Awards.

With MY YEAR AS A CLOWN, Williams introduces us to Chuck Morgan, a new kind of male hero—imperfect and uncertain—fumbling his way forward in the aftermath of the abrupt collapse his 20-year marriage.

Initially, Chuck worries he’ll never have a relationship again, that he could stand in the lobby of a brothel with a hundred dollar bill plastered to his forehead and still not get lucky. But as his emotionally raw, 365-day odyssey unfolds, Chuck gradually relearns to live on his own, navigating the minefield of issues faced by the suddenly single—new routines, awkward dates, and even more awkward sex.

Edited by Joy Johannessen (Alice Sebold, Michael Cunningham, Amy Bloom), My Year As a Clown will attract fans of the new breed of novelists that includes Nick Hornby, Jonathan Tropper and Tom Perrotta. Like others in that distinguished group, Robert Steven Williams delivers a painfully honest glimpses into the modern male psyche while writing about both sexes with equal ease and grace in a way that’s both hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time.

Robert Steven Williams

Robert Steven Williams is an author, singer-songwriter, and musician. His debut novel, My Year as a Clown was published in December 2012 by Against the Grain Press. It won the silver medal for popular fiction from the Independent Publisher Book Awards in 2013.

As a writer, Williams was a finalist in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and was awarded a Squaw Valley Writers Community Thayer Scholarship. He attended Bread Loaf, Sewanee and the Squaw Valley Writers’ Conferences, and worked closely with the esteemed fiction writer, Barry Hannah. His short fiction has appeared in Carve Magazine, The Orange Coast Review, and the anthology Tall Tales and Short Stories Volume II. Additionally, he was the executive producer of the critically acclaimed BOOM! Studios CBGB Comic series and nominated for a 2011 Harvey Award for Best Anthology. Robert’s work has also appeared in Poets & Writers Magazine, Billboard, USA Today and LetterPress, a newsletter for writers. He is also co-author of the best-selling business book, The World’s Largest Market.

As a musician, Williams studied songwriting with Rosanne Cash, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and several other top country writers. In 2005 he released the critically acclaimed CD “I Am Not My Job,” featuring Rachel Z (Peter Gabriel, Wayne Shorter) and Sloan Wainwright.

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READ an Excerpt:

http://issuu.com/robertstevenwilliams/docs/my_year_as_a_clown_excerpt_long?e=7017472/1188935

My First Chapter Review:

MY YEAR AS A CLOWN begins in a rush, and then the reader watches as Chuck’s life disintegrates as though it were a slow motion movie. It was terribly painful to read as the woman Chuck loves to distraction, tells him in a nonchalant manner the marriage is over and she is moving out (and moving on) on Wednesday. She hands him the news as though it were an appointment on the calendar that needs to be kept and nothing more.

I was contacted to do a first chapter critique of MY YEAR AS A CLOWN by Robert Steven Williams, and in as much as the writing was well done (and there were no grammatical errors to note) the chapter failed to grab me in a way that would keep me reading the book. It just did not contain the “umph” that it would need to hold my attention.

The book is garnering wonderful reviews on Amazon so perhaps it is a book that takes reading a number of chapters before it can be fully appreciated. I would recommend reading the reviews before making the decision to read or not read.

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