Barmack, Erik 1973-
BARMACK, Erik 1973-
(Erik S. Barmack)
ADDRESSES: Home—Brooklyn, NY. Office—The Sporting News, 475 Park Avenue S., 27th Fl., New York, NY 10016.
CAREER: Writer; frequent guest on Squawk Box, CNBC.
The Virgin (novel), St. Martin's Griffin (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor to Sporting News and Atlantic Unbound.
SIDELIGHTS: Erik Barmack's first novel, The Virgin, takes on the phenomena of "reality television" shows, specifically those of the matchmaking variety. Reality-show contestant Jeb Brown narrates the novel as he tries to be the last man left standing on The Virgin, a program that features twenty men competing to deflower a beautiful twenty-six-year-old virgin named Madison. The contest follows the format of the actual reality show The Bachelor, as contestants go on stage-managed "dates" with Madison and attempt to win her heart. Interspersed with Jeb's narrative are the e-mails Madison sends to her friend Mitch, providing her side of the story, as well as passages in which a pair of television-obsessed single women provide "snarky episode 'summaries'," as Booklist contributor Allison Block described the "most memorable chapters." These "thoroughly vicious, gemlike chapters" are also Bookreporter.com reviewer Eileen Zimmerman Nicol's "favorite parts" of the novel; she called them "a welcome antidote to Jeb's morose self-analysis." However, a Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that, more than simply writing "a too-easy satire of reality television, Barmack reaches to make the book a parable of a generation looking for identity." This is most evident in the characater of Jeb who in a former life was an insecure, unemployed, directionless nebbish named Joseph Braun.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 15, 2004, Allison Block, review of The Virgin, p. 707.
Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2004, review of The Virgin, p. 1019.
Publishers Weekly, January 3, 2005, review of The Virgin, p. 35.
Bookreporter.com, http://www.bookreporter.com/ (May 6, 2005), Eileen Zimmerman Nicol, review of The Virgin.