Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Nasty Bottom of Morning TV

Top of The Morning by Brian Stelter by Kate Johns, Guest Reviewer

When I saw the stories on Yahoo telling what horrid things Ann Curry went through after working for the NBC Today show for over fifteen years, I was more than intrigued by the story. That’s when I made haste to get a copy of Top of the Morning. After reading several chapters, I found I had woken from a fifteen minute nap when my head was doing that head bobbing thing, and my book had fallen to the floor.

Top of the Morning is overall a dull book. It reads like the writer does not know how to tell a story, and Gee, I thought that was what writers were supposed to do. The book was supposed to be about all the morning shows which would have made it more interesting if this had been the case, but it wasn’t. It was a hodgepodge of mismatched chapters that quite frankly didn’t make sense in their order.

Although it was interesting to get the inside scoop on what happened to Ann Curry after she was fired and replaced on the Today Show, this book wasn’t an interesting read. Even though Brian Stelter tried to make it sound like he was right there experiencing what was going on when The Today Show started moving Ann Curry out of the limelight, it still came off as the author was not right there, and for all we know, he could have made it all up. I’m also certain that Ann Curry isn’t allowed to talk about what really happened with the Today Show shoving her out of the uncomfortable nest. She has been retained with NBC as a foreign correspondent, and pops up from time to time. From what I read in Top of the Morning, Curry has a four year contract with NBC for five million a year.

This book did tell what happened to Curry and how the producers started planning on getting rid of her almost as soon as she started as Matt Lauer’s co-host. Stelter said they called the firing of Curry as, “Operation Bambi.” Then they proceeded to treat her like garbage until they essentially fired her.

After reading what happened to Ann Curry in Top of the Morning, this book became very boring. In fact it felt like I was suddenly thrust into reading a history book. The author starts telling the history of television’s morning shows with Dan Hartman and Joan Lunden. I was wrapped up in the story of what happened to Ann Curry and what was happening on the Today Show, that to suddenly switch gears like that became a bore fest. It’s like you are sitting in the backseat of an expensive limo, drinking fine wine, when suddenly the limo driver stops the vehicle with a squeal of the brakes. He jumps out, opens your door, tells you to get out of the limo and leaves you stranded there.

That’s how Top of The Morning reads: it goes along at an interesting fast pace, you are served decent reading fare, and suddenly you are stopped in your tracks. The best part of the story ends. Suddenly the author throws in a boring history lesson on morning TV, and then slightly entices readers again by talking about the absolutely idiotic morning TV show called, “Morning Joe.” I tried watching Morning Joe a year ago, and soon found staring at the only female anchor on the show became too boring. I was left wondering, ‘does this woman know how to talk or have any idea what is going on in the world?’ All I saw her do was say, “Coming up next and we need to do a commercial break.”

Top of the Morning became a dull read all too soon, and needed more information on what happened to Ann Curry. The main point here is when you are writing a book, you need to tell a story. When the story ends after 125 pages into the book and switches gears ending the story, which can lead to aggravating the reader. I also noticed besides changing gears midstream and ending the more interesting story, was the author lacked a real sense of what was going on. Most writers who are really good at their craft will write in a descriptive manner. Stephen King describes everything and he does it all in this scary, nasty way that makes a reader wanting that next move. Readers are waiting to be scared.

When a writer does not describe details of how the set looks on a morning talk show, or what the morning hosts are wearing, that says that the author really was not there witnessing what took place. That says the author lacks a magical sense of imagination. Top of the Morning also lacked an identifiable written voice. Most authors will tell a story in a certain voice. When I write most of my articles, stories, blog posts, I write in a certain voice, like I am talking to a friend. This book lacked a certain voice. Brian Stelter lacked a certain voice, imagination and it really seemed that he was not witnessing what really happened. Anyone can watch TV and analyze it. But the trick here should have been for Stelter to bring the audience in by writing in a certain voice, using more imagination, and perhaps doing more than just watching TV.

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