If you’ve ever questioned your looks, or wondered if you were “good enough,” Adam Linn’s “American Sexy” could be the book for you.
Linn, a Dorchester native who has been living in New York since 2001, started working on the book in 2009 after writing screenplays. “I’ve just come back around to that,” he said. “Whereas a film takes a ton of people and a ton of money, I really just wanted to write, and a book was the way to go.”
Inspired partly by his experiences as a screenwriter and director and partly by his experiences growing up in Dorchester, Linn’s book turns a mirror on a society in which no one is ever good enough, and attempts to show just how dangerous the pursuit of perfection can be.
“Working in film and TV, the normal stresses of society – Am I good enough? Am I smart enough? – are just magnified 100 times,” Linn said. “And I saw these things as being almost kind of funny. People are kind of broken down into all sorts of pieces of meats. So this idea of a book where this girl who doesn’t think she’s pretty enough and she goes on this show [called ‘American Sexy’] and becomes gorgeous but still isn’t happy really came out of that experience.”
After almost four years and numerous drafts, “American Sexy” was born. With the book finally written, however, came a new concern: What kind of response was it going to get?
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Linn said. “The book has some very fantastic elements. [Katie] goes on this show and it’s magical. This is ‘American Idol’ on steroids. I didn’t know how people would react to this element of magic, but it’s fun. It’s like “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” And I think adults, readers, we’re all big kids. It’s an adult fairy tale.”
Linn also worried whether he would be able to reach younger readers. “I’m thinking my audience is 35 or older. I mean, I’m 40, and [someone who is] 24 is very young to me,” Linn said. “Can I speak to that audience? I don’t know, but I hope so.”
Linn went on to say that he gets asked a lot whom exactly the book is for. “It’s not for people who want “GoodFellas.” It’s not that book,” Linn said. “It is a book for anyone who has looked in the mirror and said, ‘Am I pretty enough?’ And the answer is always no, and it shouldn’t be. I think society causes that to be the answer, and I would encourage everyone … If you don’t say yes, no one else is going to say yes.”
Linn jokes that it’s funny that a guy wrote “American Sexy,” since the people who are interested in it are mostly women. But, he says, “This idea of not fitting in, or not being good enough, is a stand-in for not being strong enough, not being pretty enough, and it’s universal.”
Not only is the idea of not fitting in universal, but Linn finds himself relating to his protagonist. “I was at this museum the other day and they were talking about this painter who had a female alter ego and I was thinking ‘My God, I think Katie Blub is my female alter ego,’” he said. “It’s funny to think about that.”
So will readers be seeing Katie again in the future? Linn says there is a possibility, but for now, he just wants to write. “I don’t know if the next book is an “American Sexy” sequel. I don’t know if Katie makes a return, even though I love her so much,” Linn said. “But this is my passion. As long as I can keep going, and I can find an audience, I’ll do more books.”