Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Simon Rich--Boy Wonder

Looks Like He'll Be Getting Carded in Bars Until He's 40

About all I know about Simon Rich is that he's a preternaturally talented writer -- the youngest ever hired by Saturday Night Live, nailed a two-book contract from Random House before he graduated Harvard and, oh yeah, his parents are Frank Rich and Alex Witchel.
And judging by all the huzzahs that have come his way, he earned his own cred and didn't gorge on the fruit from the nepotism tree. Bully for him.
What I haven't been able to figure out yet, though, from my semi-cursory research, is that even though he was born in 1984, every photo of him that's on the web makes him look like he's about 12. The one (left) that accompanied the review of his first novel, Elliot Allagash in today's New York Times looks like an outtake from his confirmation/bar-mitzvah or whatever. Ones I spotted elsewhere also revealed no signs of facial hair. Pretty freaky. But talented. Enough so, to get him reviews in the daily Times and the Book Review on May 20.
Both mostly positive assessments, of course, were done by Times outsiders.
Just wondering, but if his old man wasn't a big cheese at the paper would he have gotten that treatment? As I said, just wondering. Simon does have his own set of chops, but the double review treatment for a first novel -- his previous book, "Ant Farm and Other Desperate Situations" was a collection of quickie satires and comic observations -- is accorded to few and far between. For now, every review, like this one in the Chicago Tribune, will tag him Son of Frank -- even when that's not the sum of his many parts.

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