Jay Hauser is wrapping up his freshman year at Dartmouth when his friend Stuart offers him a chance to make some real money over the summer break selling knives. Jay takes the job after Isabelle, his friend and the girl he is madly in love with, tells him that he isn't charming enough to pull it off. Now he has something to prove. Jay's quest quickly becomes an obsession as he works his way up in the cult-like world of knife selling using any means possible - mostly lying, cheating, and manipulating (though not stealing) - to win the summer sales competition. Eventually, Jay is neck-deep in a truly odd subculture that is harder to break away from than he ever imagined. Add to the mix a hostile mother, a girlfriend that he isn't in love with, a best friend that he is in love with, a brother who doesn't like the fact that he's turned into a sleazy salesman and the very real possibility of not returning to school for his Sophomore year - and what is normally a vacation for the average college kid becomes a full-blown existential crisis that will leave readers wondering whether to laugh or cry. And they just might do both.
KNIFEBOY is a satiric and often hilarious peek at a cult-like "profession", but at its heart, it is a story about young love, fear, and self-acceptance.
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(235mm x 245mm x 22mm)
Simon & Schuster
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Country of Publication:
US Kirkus Review »
No, this debut novel is not about street gangs or plastic surgeons but about a door-to-door salesman involved in hypercompetitive cutlery sales.Jay Hauser has just completed his first year at Dartmouth. He's trying to decide what "cool" fraternity to join, but in the midst of this major life decision he has a summer to contend with. Challenged by a potential girlfriend that he's not cut out to be a successful knife salesman because he's not "charming" enough, he vows both to woo customers with his charm and to beat the competition. Working out of his home in the Detroit suburbs, Jay starts hitting up his divorced parents, his grandparents, his friends' parents and even his maid, trying to persuade them all to purchase expensive sets of Bladeworks knives. He hones his selling strategies and even develops a few of his own outside the scripted ones provided by the company. Horatio Alger - like, after the first "push period" he finds himself as the most successful salesmen in his region. Jay's response is to become even more competitive, hoping eventually to overtake Jorge Acu-a from Puerto Rico or perhaps even the legendary Reid Tallenger, who's made more than $800,000 over the course of his career. Bladeworks managers are so impressed by Jay's sales record that they break precedent by inviting him to speak at one of the summer sales meetings, hoping he'll inspire others during the traditionally slow days of late summer. (The motivational motto Jay comes up with is "Kick Ass in August.") Meanwhile, Jay is trying to balance the demands of his social life by maintaining a sexual relationship with his girlfriend Brooke while pursuing Isabelle, a girl he'd originally tagged as "not hot enough."This mildly comic novel seems to have been written almost solely with an eye to film adaptation, probably an Adam Sandler vehicle. (Kirkus Reviews)
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