Plus One provides a comic view of Hollywood excesses, but at its heart is a family reclaiming what’s important.
Christopher Noxon’s Plus One describes a family struck by sudden good fortune in Hollywood. It’s a laugh-out-loud, big-hearted novel of a marriage threatened by the success of the wife while the husband scrambles to find his place.
The book opens as Figgy and Alex Sherman-Zicklin are in a chauffeured Town Car on the way to the Emmy Awards. Figgy, a struggling writer for most of their marriage, has been nominated for Best Comedy Writer for Tricks, her first show that made it to production, “a dark and dirty dramedy about a housewife who runs a prostitution ring out of a scrapbook shop.” Alex wants to support his nervous wife, but when her name is called, Figgy approaches the podium with confidence and claims one for the ladies. Left behind, Alex is befriended by Hank, who explains their plus-one status—the small print at the bottom of the awards invitation—and encourages him to claim his share of the spoils. He also explains the subtleties of California divorce law. After ten years of marriage, a spouse gets alimony for life. Alex and Figgy have been married for nine: the clock is ticking.
Things go downhill quickly. Figgy starts working long hours. Alex quits his mid-level advertising job to take care of the kids—Sylvie, a seven-year-old foodie, and Sam, with his own line of cosmetics—and coordinate the remodel of their new multimillion-dollar house. The writing is consistently clever, and the gags keep coming, but it’s not until Alex is at his all-time low, underappreciated and keeping a handful of secrets from his breadwinner wife, that he reclaims his place in the family. The last chapter adds emotional depth to the couple’s winning quirks.
Christopher Noxon is a journalist and a “plus one” to a successful TV writer/producer. He is the author of Rejuvenile: Kickball, Cartoons, Cupcakes, and the Reinvention of the American Grown Up.
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