Kaplow, Robert 1954-
KAPLOW, Robert 1954-
PERSONAL: Born May 30, 1954, in NJ; son of Jerome and Doris (Hartman) Kaplow. Education: Rutgers University, B.A., 1976.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, MacAdam/Cage Publishing, 155 Sansome St., Ste. 550, San Francisco, CA 94104-3615.
CAREER: Journalist, educator, and writer.
Two in the City, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1979.
Alex Icicle: A Romance in Ten Torrid Chapters, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1984.
Alessandra in Love, Lippincott (New York, NY), 1989.
Alessandra in Between, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1992.
The Cat Who Killed Lilian Jackson Braun: A Parody, New Millennium Press (Beverly Hills, CA), 2003.
Writer of satirical songs and sketches for National Public Radio's Morning Edition (sketches performed as "Moe Moskowitz and the Punsters") and Fresh Air (sketches performed as "Basil Starling"), beginning 1984.
SIDELIGHTS: Journalist, teacher, and author Robert Kaplow has distinguished himself with his novels for young adults. His books generally focus on the joy and hardship associated with love. In Two in the City a young couple decides to put off college and live together in New York City after they graduate from high school. Alex Icicle: A Romance in Ten Torrid Chapters, a story of unrequited love, features an anguished main character who introduces himself as "all the loathsomeness of the human condition distilled into one horrible, malignant growth and fashioned into the fourteen-year-old features of Alexander Preston Sturges Swinburne—boy monster." Alessandra in Love concerns a high school girl who, after falling for and dating a musician, finds herself happier when she is away from her ambivalent, aloof beau.
With the 2003 publication of Me and Orson Welles, Kaplow presented his first novel written for an adult audience. The story focuses on a New Jersey high school student named Richard Samuels who improbably lands a small role in the Orson Welles Mercury Theater production of Julius Caesar. In real life, the New York production propelled Welles to eventual Hollywood fame. In the novel, the young Richard learns a lot about the theater, love, life, and being a man.
Writing in Publishers Weekly, a contributor noted that the conceit of Richard's minor role as Lucius in the play "forms a nice counter-point to the coming-of-age material." The reviewer also noted that Kaplow "doesn't quite capture the dark side of the enigmatic Welles" but that the book is "an entertaining offering." A contributor to Kirkus Reviews also praised the book, noting, "It's a pity that Kaplow appears to be aiming for the grown-up market in this adult outing, because, as a young adult author, he has crafted one of the best depictions of male adolescent yearning ever to hit the page—though one that few adolescents are likely to read."
Kaplow remained focused on the adult market with his next book, 2003's The Cat Who Killed Lilian Jackson Braun: A Parody. The book tells the story of a noted children's book author who, along with his cats, investigates the ghastly murder of Ms. Braun. Her body is found in a bar in Lower Manhattan, but her head is missing. The resulting investigation gives Kaplow plenty of leeway to parody everything from the police who are too busy making reality TV shows to solve the crime to pop culture divas like Britney Spears and Oprah Winfrey.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kaplow, Robert, Alex Icicle: A Romance in Ten TorridChapters, Houghton Mifflin, 1984.
Entertainment Weekly, October 24, 2003, Melissa Rose Bernardo, review of Me and Orson Welles, p. 112.
Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2003, review of Me andOrson Welles, p. 980.
Publishers Weekly, September 1, 2003, review of Me and Orson Welles, p. 63.
School Library Journal, October 15, 2003, Judith Kicinski, review of Me and Orson Welles, p. 98.*