“You think more like a man than any woman I’ve ever known — and most men.”
“If you think that’s a compliment, you’re crazy,” she said. “Every time a man discovers that a woman thinks, the only way he can explain it is that she happens to have a male mind. You just don’t know me, Al. I’m feminine as all hell.”
Budd Schulberg. What Makes Sammy Run? Vintage Book. (1990). p. 131.
Schulberg earned critical success and notoriety with his first novel,What Makes Sammy Run? at the tender age of 24. Sammy is a searing exposé on writers in Hollywood and of the ‘American Dream.’ Schulberg spares no details in revealing the costs of ambition and achieving commercial success in the City of Angels. Behind the rhetorical question of what makes us run, Schulberg illustrates the rise and decline of one Sammy Glick, from a cocky copy boy to sociopath mogul. The effortless writing, while lacking at times in character development, showcases excellent editing, where not a word is wasted. Glick is not unlike Lonesome Rhodes in his chameleon morals and manipulation, another character in the Schulberg short story ‘Your Arkansas Traveler’, which provided the basis for the 1957 Andy Griffith and Patricia Neal film A Face in the Crowd. At the time Glick appeared, everyone knew that Schulberg had modeled his main character on the infamous Jerry Wald. For those readers who adore F. Scott Fitzgerald, Schulberg wrote The Disenchanted which chronicled, in loose terms, Budd’s relationship with the great writer in his decline. Readers may find Schulberg’s role during the McCarthy-era interesting. What Makes Sammy Run? remains a compelling and relevant read.