Sometimes you discover really humiliating facts about really famous authors in the most unlikely of places.
This past Sunday was my brother’s birthday. We have a birthday tradition in our family: we all go up to my parents’ house, we sit on their king-sized bed, the birthday boy or girl wears a costume jewelry crown and a pink sash that says “Birthday Princess” and proceeds to open presents. My brother’s girlfriend, in addition to getting him thoughtful and real presents, snagged my brother a couple of joke gifts at a used bookstore.
One of these presents happened to be a children’s chapter book titled The Power Twins, by Ken Follett. Yes, Ken Follett, of international-bestselling, 1,839-Customer-Reviews-on-Amazon.com The Pillars of The Earth fame. Before you ask, it’s not another author who just happens to have the same name. Follett owns up to his dark and seamy POWER TWINS past on his official website and everything.
This is the synopsis for the book, found on the aforementioned site:
“When Uncle Grigorian asks Fritz, Helen and Jonathon to stay with him on his farm, all seems normal. They soon find, however, a space capsule in the farm shed and that ‘Uncle Grigorian’ is really a messenger from outer space! The children are given special powers and sent into space to settle a dispute over control of a planet. Together, they hunt for a solution to save the planet from destruction.”
Gorgeous, right? I almost read it and reviewed it for you Book Rioters but then I remembered that I have better things to do with thirty-five minutes of my time.
To be fair, Follett deserves some slack. He has written, what thirty books? He’s been writing since, what, the mid-70’s? He’s sold what, a hundred million copies of his books? Not all of his literary efforts were going to be The Grapes of Wrath and Gravity’s Rainbow. That’s just Book Physics.
Still, I love that this big-britches, hundred-million-copy-selling, Oprah-club-approved author has a book out there with the tagline: Can two kids really save the universe? Oh, and those kids have Renaissance painting halos and are in the flying saucer from Plan 9 From Outer Space. Natch and natch.
Now I want all famous and respected authors to have some embarrassing kids novel as a skeleton in their Literary Closet. Jonathan Franzen. Roberto Bolaño. Tom Wolfe. Joan Didion. Margaret Atwood. Toni Morrison. Can you imagine the awesome-sauce-ness?
What embarrassing things do YOU know about famous authors? Discuss!