Jennie Erdal
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Buy *Ghosting: A Double Life* online

Ghosting: A Double Life

Jennie Erdal
288 pages
April 2005
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Ghosting is as unique a story as any I have read during this last year, and Jennie Erdal has earned the right to tell it, and to publish it under her own name. Though Tiger, the nickname Erdal gave to her former employer, is a central character throughout the book, Ghosting is, thankfully, more Erdal's story than his.

The writing life has long been a portal between the real and the surreal, as Jennie Erdal learned first-hand when she became an editor of Russian books for a well-known London publisher and later graduated into a career as a personal ghostwriter for that same publisher. Writers often enjoy lives of equal parts adventure and misadventure, and in times of misadventure, being a ghost gives greatest advantage. Erdal certainly experienced both in her career that spanned two decades, multiple continents, several books, and numerous columns, all published under Tiger's name. But, after a while, even ghostwriters want credit where credit is due, and so when circumstances leant themselves to Jennie's departure from Tiger's employment, she did what any good ghost would do. She went back to Scotland and decided to write a book of her own. It isn't, difficult to wonder why Erdal chose the ghosting life as the subject of the first book she would publish under her own name, though one wonders if she isn't still depending on Tiger just a wee bit?

Ghosting is an admirable piece of work, and I generally enjoyed it. At times, I felt as much a part of the emotional teeter-tottering the author was experiencing in the wake of Tiger's eccentricities as well as her own personal challenges. Readers gain a strong sense of this woman's strengths and weaknesses, and that makes her even more real to them. There are moments, however, where Tiger's robust personality and, for lack of a better term, "odd" behaviors threaten to take over the story, but Erdal manages him well and keeps Tiger in his place while she tells her own story. I did take exception with the coarse language and the reprinting of explicit material from books that Erdal ghosted for Tiger. The content proves itself the weakest link in this text, and as the author points out, no one writes sex scenes well, and true to form they serve no real purpose here. Certainly, Ghosting can stand without them, as Erdal has proven she can do as a fully manifested writer in her own right.

In the end, I was rooting for Erdal's escape into her own career as a writer. Run, Jennie, run. Run far. Run fast.

© 2005 by Susan Cronk for

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