Nev Schulman
author of IN REAL LIFE
Nev Schulman is famous as the host of MTV’s Catfish, where he investigates situations where people fall in love online with…someone who’s not entirely the person they say they are. Schulman is a good investigator because the same thing happened to him. In his new book In Real Life, Schulman explains how to stay sane online (and why to occasionally stay off social media), all while honestly revealing his own vulnerabilities.


KIRKUS REVIEW

Searching for the overlap of our online selves and our “real life” selves.

It wasn’t all that long ago that the words “Internet dating” were a badge of dishonor, considered the last-ditch effort for single men and women. Of course, with the Internet now entirely fluid in popular culture, it becomes easy to misrepresent yourself online. Catfish is the MTV series started by Schulman (itself an extension of his earlier documentary of the same name), someone who fell hook, line and sinker for online dating deception. With this book, the author aspires to create an extension of that show, to “dig into the deeper issues that motivate” such deception and that motivate anyone who spends significant time on their online relationships. Schulman makes inroads deep into armchair-quarterbacking territory with broad psychological generalizations that seem derived from his own experience and the carefully chosen examples his show has chosen to feature. A section titled “Fear” declares, “No duh, right? Hiding behind a fake profile is a pretty good sign that someone is terrified of being themselves.” Catfish fans could take umbrage at a reviewer pulling a quote that makes Schulman an easy target, but every page is peppered with bromides that offer little in the way of useful insight, aimed more at establishing the author as, in his words, “a guru on digital love.” There are islands of good advice, however—e.g., “invest in creating the content of your life” rather than a well-curated Facebook timeline—but more than half the book is more concerned with Schulman’s positioning himself as a guru than attaining any depth.

Another quote from the book, one more telling about “catfishing,” comes from comedian Marc Maron, who said that every status update is essentially a plea: “Would someone please acknowledge me?”


Recent Interviews

Nancy Isenberg

author of WHITE TRASH

July 19, 2016
WHITE TRASH by Nancy Isenberg Poor Americans have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement. They were alternately known as “waste people,” “offals,” “rubbish,” “lazy lubbers,” and “crackers.” By the 1850s, the downtrodden included so-called “clay eaters” and “sandhillers,” known for prematurely aged children distinguished by their yellowish skin, ragged clothing, and listless minds. Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over 400 years, in White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America, Nancy Isenberg upends assumptions about America’s supposedly class-free society––where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. “A riveting thesis supported by staggering research,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >

Jonas Karlsson

author of THE INVOICE

July 12, 2016
THE INVOICE by Jonas Karlsson Actor and writer Jonas Karlsson’s new novel The Invoiceexplores the true nature of happiness through the eyes of a hero you won’t soon forget. A passionate film buff, our hero’s life revolves around his part-time job at a video store, the company of a few precious friends, and a daily routine that more often than not concludes with pizza and a movie in his treasured small space in Stockholm. When he receives an astronomical bill from a random national bureaucratic agency, everything will tumble into madness as he calls the hotline night and day to find out why he is the recipient of the largest bill in the entire country. How will our carefree idealist, who is content with so little and has no chance of paying it back, find a way out of this mess? “A fable for the ages,” our reviewer writes. “Should be read alongside The Trial and Nineteen Eighty-Four as an antidote.” View video >

Upcoming Kirkus Interviews

July 26, 2016
Morgan Matson
August 2, 2016
Jeffrey Toobin
August 9, 2016
Rae Meadows