Imagine Me and You

Billy Mernit, Author
Billy Mernit, Author . Crown/Shaye Areheart $23 (287p) ISBN 978-0-307-39537-5
Reviewed on: 12/24/2007
Release date: 04/01/2008

Screenwriter and writing instructor Mernit gives a slight twist in this middling debut to the standard romantic farce. Jordan’s wife has left him, but the screenwriter and screenwriting instructor isn’t worried—he has a plan to get her back. If he plays on her jealousy, she’ll be forced to return. He can’t bring himself to have an affair with a real woman, so he makes one up, modeling his fictitious girlfriend after Naomi, one of his former students. Of course, not too long after his ruse begins, Naomi shows up—but Jordan is the only person who can see or hear her. As imaginary Naomi cryptically prods Jordan to find his true path, he becomes entangled in his deceptions, especially when both his estranged wife and the real Naomi arrive in L.A. Half an analysis of the clichés of the romantic comedy genre and half a thinly veiled criticism of Hollywood, the novel keeps readers at a distance, indulging in long sidetracks about screenwriting and romantic comedies in general. In the end, Mernit is more interested in subverting genre tropes than in creating a fully realized novel. (Apr.)