The back jacket of Spin, a novel by the fortuitously named Robert Rave, out Tuesday, Aug. 18, from St. Martin’s Press, describes the story of Taylor Green, a young man from the Midwest who is hired by a “New York public relations dominatrix, Jennifer Weinstein.” He is drawn into her world of “sex, greed, power, and fame.” Examples: He has to carry her drugs through airport security and buy porn for one of her clients, and he walks in on her having sex in her office.
In the epilogue, Ms. Weinstein plows her car into a crowd outside a restaurant in an upstate town “fast becoming a mini-Hamptons.”
Mr. Rave’s agent, Jason Allen Ashlock of Movable Type Literary Group, wrote the following to the Transom to promote the book’s release: “Don’t know if you’ve heard or been following the chatter about Robert Rave’s debut novel SPIN, a thinly veiled roman a clef by a clever young man who worked several years for the delightful Ms. Lizzie Grubman. You know, The Devil Wears Prada set in the dark underbelly of celebrity PR, and all that.”
But when the Transom rang Mr. Rave Monday afternoon, he seemed to disagree with his agent’s pitch.
“No. It’s not based on Lizzie,” he said. “It’s certainly an amalgamation of a lot of people I met over the years in New York.” (The author lives in Los Angeles now.) Ms. Grubman said as much to the Transom. “He worked for me. He was the assistant to my assistant,” she said. “I do believe that it’s not about me because how can someone write a book about someone they don’t know?”
Mr. Rave told the Transom he worked for Ms. Grubman for some time starting in 1999, when he was 23 years old, first as an assistant, and later as a senior account rep. Ms. Grubman denied that he was ever promoted from assistant.
How did Mr. Rave explain the miscommunication between him and his agent?
“That’s just agent’s speak. I think agents like to present a hook,” said Mr. Rave. “I’m sure it would be a much juicier and saucier thing for me to say it was based on Lizzie, but it’s totally not.”
When the Transom rang Mr. Ashlock back, he said, “Obviously, for legal reasons, Robert wouldn’t be able to say even if it was about Lizzie.”
He also suggested that Mr. Rave’s reluctance to admit that Ms. Grubman was the “Miranda Priestly” of the novel may be telling of the sort of spin skills he learned while working for Ms. Grubman. This Mr. Rave did not disagree with. “Quite honestly, she was wonderful,” he said. “She’s a great publicist. I learned so much from her about the business.”
There is already talk of the book being made into a feature film, with Zac Efron rumored to star.
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