James Gunn The Toy Collector

ISBN 13: 9781582340814

The Toy Collector

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9781582340814: The Toy Collector

A tragicomic novel about nostalgia, addiction, and 1970s action figures. The Toy Collector is a wickedly funny portrait of a young man who sells stolen pharmaceuticals to finance his growing addiction to memorabilia. An orderly at a Times Square hospital, James Gunn (also the protagonist's name) buys his toys at exorbitant prices, searching the familiar tacky plastic for his childhood dreams in a perverse effort to avoid adulthood. As the story switches from the make-believe world he creates with his childhood friends-populated by Scrunch-Em, Grow-Em Dinosaurs and toy robots-to the grown-up pleasures of sex, drugs and alcohol, James falls in and out of love, and stumbles through New York City in search of dubious redemption. At once raucous, sentimental, and hilarious, The Toy Collector is a novel about the lasting strength of childhood, the responsibilities of adulthood, and the repercussions of a generation nursed on TV shows and action figures.

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About the Author:

James Gunn is a writer, actor, and filmmaker. While attending Columbia University, where he earned an MFA in writing, he was hired by Troma Entertainment. He wrote the cult hit film Tromeo and Juliet, he wrote and starred in the acclaimed independent film The Specials and has written the screenplays for Spy vs. Spy, and Scooby Doo for Warner Brothers Studios. He lives in Los Angeles, CA.

From Publishers Weekly:

In the summer of 1995, a 25-year-old orderly named James Gunn starts pilfering drugs from New York City's Saint Dominic's Hospital to finance his addiction to buying the retro toys he loved while growing up in St. Louis. When he's not on one of his frequent, blind-drunk benders, having sloppy sex with random women, Jimmy basks in the magnificence of Charlie Barlow's antique toy store, where he spends thousands of dollars on TV paraphernalia, action figures, robots and games, in an attempt to recapture the few moments of beauty in his mostly horrifying childhood. Jimmy and his younger brother, Tar, survived delusional parents, cruel peers and the suicide of one of their friends by sticking together, with creative violence and wit. Those moments, sensitively told in flashback without the burden of sentimentality, often involved the boys' favorite toys, like Scrunch 'Em, Grow 'Em Dinosaurs. His pack growing up included Tar; Gary Bauer, the awkward misfit; and Nancy Zoomis, who played "I'll show you mine" with Jimmy. As the Gunn brothers matured, Tar became responsible and respectable, able to cope with his rage and bitterness about his parents and about society. But Jimmy is still an immature wastrel, who gets blotto daily and has tantrums that ruin his intimate relationships. As Jimmy attempts to heal old wounds by recollecting his painful past, he must face what his toy collection represents: a nostalgic coverup for his life's disappointments, a "longing for innocence" to quell his "rage and sadness." Author Gunn succeeds at the tough task of making Jimmy an engaging protagonist, and the hero is indeed alive, pathetic and witty. Readers will root for this outrageous loser because Gunn has given him a hilarious personality that shines through his misery and despair. (May) FYI: Gunn wrote the script for the forthcoming movie, The Specials, and stars in the film along with his brother, the actor Sean Gunn.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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James Gunn
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