Book Cover

In a wry take on the male midlife crisis, a Hollywood lawyer
spends a weekend reenacting the Battle of Gettysburg with a Playboy Playmate,
to the consternation of family and friends.

John Reynolds Stanhope, age 47, was named after the Civil War
general instrumental at Gettysburg, grew up near the battlefield, and worked as
a guide there. Now he’s a successful Hollywood lawyer, agent, manager, and
producer, but he’s also flabby and has insomnia, and his pilot about sleep just
got rejected by A&E. So he has secretly planned a weekend playing his
namesake with Gettysburg reenactors at a sports field north of Malibu. Then
stuff happens—and through it all, Morris (All Joe Knight, 2016, etc.), a
Hollywood lawyer and producer himself, cracks wise on Tinseltown with an
insider’s glee. Reynolds gets drunk while discussing a reality TV project with
a former Playmate and a one-time Miss Universe and decides to bring them to the
battle. His wife, a top-notch movie producer, uses an app to discover he lied
about his weekend golf plans and pursues him, eventually asking their daughter
and her friend to meet her there. Reynolds’ lunch companions invite their sons.
The worried wife also asks for help from her husband’s longtime client, a
character based on Norman Lear, who brings along an actor suggesting Tom Cruise
without Scientology. While the solo weekend gets as crowded as the Marx
Brothers’ stateroom scene, Reynolds navigates battlefield skirmishes,
existential questions, and awkward interactions with his wife and daughter.
Morris gives him some fine speeches about history and war. But amid all the
comic material, the hero’s quasi-crisis—a “feeling that nothing [is] worth half
a try”—may just be the biggest shell among the hail of potshots at Hollywood
culture.

A well-written work that some readers may find entertains more than
it engages.

kirkusreviews.com

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