Boice, James 1982-

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Boice, James 1982-

PERSONAL:

Born April 14, 1982, in CA. Education: Attended James Madison University.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Boston, MA. Agent—Kelly Skillen, PMA Literary & Film Management, Inc., 45 W. 21st St., Ste. 4SW, New York, NY 10010.

CAREER:

Has worked as a dog washer, pizza deliveryman, telemarketer, and gas-station attendant; currently works for a forensic psychiatrist in Boston, MA.

WRITINGS:

MVP (novel), Scribner (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor of short fiction to periodicals, including Fiction, McSweeney's, and Esquire.

SIDELIGHTS:

James Boice was born April 14, 1982, in California, and raised in Virginia. Boice began college at James Madison University, but soon decided to drop out of school in favor of working on his writing independently. Taking the deposit money returned to him by the university, he moved to San Francisco. He lived in hotels until he ran out of money, spending his time writing and developing his voice. Boice acknowledges that the road to publication was difficult. He amassed a large collection of rejection slips and worked at various unskilled jobs to support himself, including as a dog washer, pizza delivery man, telemarketer, and gas-station attendant. Eventually, his efforts began to pay off. His short fiction has appeared in several prestigious publications, including Fiction, McSweeney's, and Esquire. Boice's first novel, MVP, was published in 2007.

MVP began as a short story. Boice had sold his first short story by then, and he was also receiving more personal feedback from editors when they rejected his work. In the case of the short version of MVP, one editor praised it, but noted that it was lacking a real point. As a result, Boice went back to work and fleshed it out into a full-length novel. The book starts with the rape and murder of a young woman at a resort in Las Vegas. The assailant, Gilbert Marcus, is a professional basketball player whose own father failed to succeed in the sport. He pushed Gilbert ruthlessly over the course of his childhood in an effort to live vicariously through his son. Gilbert is depicted as a tragic figure who was drawn to the opportunity for fame and adula- tion, but at the same time was pressured by the need to live up to his image. The combination eventually causes a mental breakdown that leads him down a path to violence.

Many reviewers of MVP thought that Boice possesses a talent that shines through his writing. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews, for instance, commented that the novel "shows flashes of virtuosity, though some of the writing clangs off the rim," concluding that "though the developing writer has considerable stylistic flair, the novel mixes slam dunks with air balls." Cleveland Plain Dealer critic Vikas Turakhia felt that Boice "succeeds in depicting the sullied underbelly of contemporary professional sports." A Publishers Weekly asserted: "With its bristling intelligence and crystalline prose, this provocative novel secures Boice's status as a player to watch."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Books, June 2, 2007, Kristin Kloberdanz, review of MVP, p. 7.

Boston Magazine, May, 2007, John Gonzalez, review of MVP, p. 38.

Entertainment Weekly, May 18, 2007, Jeff Labrecque, review of MVP, p. 71.

Esquire, May, 2007, review of MVP, p. 28.

Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2007, review of MVP.

Publishers Weekly, April 9, 2007, review of MVP, p. 33.

ONLINE

Cleveland Plain Dealer Online,http://www.cleveland.com/ (June 27, 2007), Vikas Turakhia, "Pro's Messy Life Bares Sports' Evils in MVP."

Esquire Online,http://www.esquire.com/ (January 13, 2008), profile of James Boice.

James Boice MySpace Page,http://www.myspace.com/jamesboice (January 13, 2008).

MVP Home Page,http://www.mvpanovel.com (January 13, 2008).

Writers Digest Online,http://www.writersdigest.com/ (January 13, 2008), Kevin Alexander, "The Silent Type."