It is no surprise that free-thinking individuals will often arrive to similar conclusions. How they arrive there, however, is the beauty of what makes each individual unique.. About a year ago, when I was about 2/3rds complete with my first novel, I caught up with my best friend of 20 years, Daniel Robinson, and learned that he, too, was close to finishing his first novel.
By now, I have self-published my book and Daniel is on the road to having his picked up by a publisher. The cameraderie I felt in authoring my first book alongside my best friend reached a new peak after we had finished each other’s first drafts, and we realized that both of us were attempting to express a very similar journey of seeking a meaningful life in today’s artificial world; but what was most shocking was that both of our protagonists finish their journey in the belly of the beast, having breakfast at a McDonald’s franchise.
Daniel’s book, “First They Ignore You,” leads the reader into a hilariously epic misadventure through Los Angeles culture. Despite elements of parody, FTIY has a remarkable plausibility everyone can imagine in the ridiculousness of today. The main character, Russell, a young writer, has recently sold his first Television series to a major network. At the core of the adventure is Russell’s rumbling desire for the things that many a good man desire, justice, love, real connection and purpose in the world. The very talents that allow Russell to arrive to any boastworthy pedestal in his life are some of the very vices that tear his strong character wide open in the superficial social arena of Los Angeles film and television, which despite having a popular and glamorous appeal, might as well still be anytown, anyhighschool, or anybusiness, USA.
What endeared me to Russell was his ability to sardonically cut through the bullshit of Hollywood, yet still with a crippling futility to understand his own bullshit, which happens to be the only bullshit that any of us is ultimately responsible for. For Russell, the external embodiment of his weaknesses was his addiction to fast food. His cycle of pride, guilt, arrogance and escape always led him into the comforting yet gut punching arms of the golden arches (and Carl’s Jr, and Wendy’s and Taco Bell and so on). The fast food and all of its cartoonishly evil qualities make for good allegory, but in the end, the burgers and fries were but little symptoms of a man who was only scratching the surface of his potential to enjoy life. The character arch and catharsis I felt by reading “First They Ignore You,” is something I only hope to have captured in my non-fiction adventure story, “Spacetime Bicycle: The Grade.”
Two new authors: Daniel Robinson, a vegetarian screenwriter working in California, and myself, a local food connoisseur working in Texas both started in the same Atlanta suburb philosophizing over McDonald’s chicken nuggets as 5th graders. Our paths, though completely different, have been hilarious, hopeful, disgraceful, or just plain strange, but as time unfolds it’s turning out to be an enlightening journey, which I hope is a feeling that Daniel and I’s first novels have conveyed. I don’t think we are alone in these journeys of awakening from the American Dream and so I think that every individual, whether they’re a budding revolutionary or someone who just feels hopelessly dissatisfied will be able to deeply relate to either of these books.
You can follow Daniel on Twitter at
or shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how to get a copy of “First They Ignore You”
To preview or purchase Spacetime Bicycle: The Grade by Joseph Boswell please visit