There are cursed books, and then there is Peter Golenbock‘s fictionalized Mickey Mantle memoir 7. The latest twists, as reported by PW Daily’s Kevin Howell, is that the unabridged audiobook version does not carry the narrator’s real name but instead credits that old Hollywood stalwart workhorse Alan Smithee. “Smithee” is actually the fourth narrator that Phoenix Audio – owned by Michael Viner, no stranger to controversy and notoriety – approached about reading the book.
“The first two actors that read the manuscript turned it down because of its sexually explicit nature,” Henrietta Tiefenthaler, Phoenix Audio‘s head of production, told PW Daily. “The third, John Larroquette, began recording and, half way through the book, he decided it was not a project he wanted to have his name attached to. A fourth person was hired and completed the book without credit. I think it was his agent’s idea to do it anonymously.”
As for how the book itself is doing, PW reports Bookscan sales of approximately 3,000 since the April release date – a far cry from Lyons Press’ announced* 250,000 print run and marketing budget.
*But since the book was damn near impossible to find in bookstores, one might think the print run stats are somewhat exaggerated.