Thursday, 24 March 2016

Thanks PG! (Book Review)

Hi there!

Title: Thanks PG!
Author: John Isaac Jones
Publisher: Self-published
Published Date: 12th September 2014
Rating: 3 Stars

*Thanks to the author for the review copy*

Synopsis: Thanks, PG!:Memoirs of a Tabloid Reporter recounts the life and adventures of reporter Billy Don Johnson during his twenty years (1975-1995) working for the fictional tabloid The National Insider. After his dreams of becoming a crusading journalist with daily newspapers are dashed, Billy throws himself into the wild world of diets, household tips, ghosts, UFOs, weird history, and celebrity scandal, all of which is designed to please Padrone Gallione (PG), the wonderful madman who was editor of the magazine. Like the tabloid industry itself, this book is a combination of fact and fiction. Within these pages, you will find untold stories from the lives of many famous people, get an inside look at how tabloid stories are created and examine the origins of celebrity scandal in American journalism. Ultimately, this book is a tribute to the genius of Generoso Pope Jr., founder and publisher of the National Enquirer.

Review: I wanted to read Thanks PG! because I have read and previously enjoyed one of John Isaac Jones’s books before, and I was eager to try another myself. I might not want to be a journalist in my future as a career, but I have always had an interest in journalism myself, so I was eager to read a bit more about it.

This one follows the story of Billy Don as he works his way through several newspapers until he finds a job working for PG. PG seems to have a reputation around him as being slightly whacky… but nonetheless a genius. His paper sells, he has money and he knows how to get the big inside scoops and hires the best investigators. Billy is lucky to have his job, and then has to continuously prove himself by finding plenty of cool stories and writing about them. He has to go to interesting lengths to get some of his information and we learn all about it.

What I liked about the beginning of this novel was the inside it gave into the journalism world. There’s a lot more that goes into publishing a newspaper than some people could begin to imagine, and it was interesting to follow along with Billy as he slowly learns how everything works. He works quite a few smaller jobs before he joins ranks with PG, so he gets to learn quite a bit. We get to see the point of view of many of the different jobs required to make a paper come together.


However, that does make me think that this book might not be for you if you have no interest in journalism. I knew I was enjoying it because I have an interest in journalism myself, and that might not be the case for those who tend to find it boring.

There was such a wide variety of news stories that Billy got to look into! And we get to hear about all the most interesting ones here. My favourite had to be when he had to go to China (which is my favourite country) and look into a story revolving around the historical figure of Chiang Kai-Shek (who I know about because we’ve studied him and China in history this year). But there are so many more… some revolving around Elvis, others around celebrities that I had no ideas about. Billy really does travel as he writes his stories too, so you’re never caught up in the same place for too long.

What made me think about this novel was that it really did push some of my morals. I couldn’t agree with everything in this book. There are no vivid descriptions, but there is a mention of sex at certain times and also the use of drugs. Then there is also the issue of exploiting celebrities for the sake of news. Things like bugs and hacking come into play, and sneakily taken photographs through what is supposed to be private affairs. Don’t get me started on stories that cover murder issues or the issues of deaths of celebrities. The families weren’t given peace, and I felt like sometimes they weren’t always as respectful to the deceased as they were dying as should be. But the thing is that, that’s how the journalism world goes. It really got me thinking about the way we idolize celebrities and take them off the pedestal that sees them as just another human as well. It also had me thinking about how we sometimes will do anything to get what we want. Now, this isn’t any criticism of the book itself – you’re not always going to agree with everything you read – but this book is thought provoking in that sense.


One thing that I wanted more of in this story is how the profession affected Billy’s life. It’s strictly all work and it makes it seem like his life was work and nothing else. Once he leaves his family, there is little mention of him ever going back there and visiting them. He goes through some girls but there is no mention of him wanting to ever settle down with one. And while this does focus on the journalism side of things, I wanted to see how his career bled into his normal life and what it cost him to be so focused on his work. I was hoping to see more of that.

All of this aside though, John Isaac Jones knows how to write. The story caught me in from beginning to end and I was intrigued all the way through!



Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Olivia’s Question: Do you have any interest in journalism? Do you think we sometimes will go to any measures to get the information we want?


Olivia-Savannah x

18 comments:

  1. Sounds like an interesting read - I think it's important that books *do* make us question and think about things in a different light sometimes. Stepping into another perspective makes us more understanding people, and actually makes for better writers!

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    1. Oh yes, we definitely need to look outside the box and see things from different angles sometimes. I just love that this book does that for me.

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  2. Hi, Olivia - Nice analysis. I liked that it gave some inside info into the journalism world. :)
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal - Impartial, Straightforward Fiction Book Reviews

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    1. Yes it did a very good job of doing that ^.^

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  3. [ Smiles ] The title of the book caught my attention.

    Honestly, it is not one of those books that I would rush to read.

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    1. I can tell that his book is not for everyone, though.

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  4. I have my degree in journalism and have always been intrigued with the written word and what not but I just know this won't be for me. It's like I like it but I don't. I don't know. Lol. Thanks for this review though!

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    1. It's pretty cool that you studied journalism! It's a shame you think this one won't be for you :(

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  5. Although, I studied English in college, I never took a journalism class (even though I also minored in Mass Communication too). I just never had an interest in but after reading your review, I do find it interesting how Billy ended up working for a tabloid. To me tabloid reporters are vultures feeding on the lives of a celebrity, prominent figure and the famous. Like you, I'd find it more interesting and want to read it if also dealt with how being a tabloid reporter affected his life. His integrity as a reporter and morality as a human being.

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    1. I'm hoping to study English in the future as well! Tabloid reporters really do need to be into digging and uncovering stories that everyone wants to read. I just would've liked to see both the work and the effect of it too!

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  6. Sounds like a very different read to what I'm used to but thought provoking nonetheless! I enjoy seeing things from different perspectives and like you said, there are two sides to every story :) that said this probably isn't the book for me because journalism lacks that spark for me personally
    Enchanted by YA

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    1. I can understand that! And yes, it was interesting to see how certain newspapers would twist or stress the focus on different parts of a story.

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  7. I think this sounds like an interesting book and I do like that it lets you in on a totally different way of life. Glad it sparked your interest right away and kept you reading. :)
    ~Jess

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  8. Is that OJ Simpson on the cover? LOL! I love to just read things, so I may find this insightful and a little amusing. I've never really had an interest in journalism myself, but that doesn't mean I won't enjoy this book. Glad you liked it.

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    1. It probably is because there is a story about OJ Simpson in this book as well! Maybe you should give this one a try!

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  9. A very different kind of read for sure. Not sure if I would read it though.

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