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Little Known Facts
Christine Sneed reads at Lincoln Square's the Book Cellar.

The entire time we were reading author Christine Sneed’s recently published first novel, Little Known Facts, we were thinking about George Clooney.

Clooney doesn’t have grown children. But if he did, we could imagine him as the inspiration for the book’s fame-burnished lead, Renn Ivins, a 50-something Hollywood actor who melts knees with a glance and whose non-famous kids, ex-wives and young girlfriends all inevitably orbit within his sphere.

Sneed, on the other hand, lives a long way from La-La Land, teaching writing at Northwestern University and living in the snug, pretty North Shore community of Evanston.

But from the way she builds characters--Ivins’s impatient charm, his pampered son’s depression, an accomplished ex-wife’s loneliness and an intelligent daughter’s all-too-familiar mistakes--you would think she had showbiz in her blood.

Little Known Facts reads like a literary take on US Weekly’s “Stars Are Just Like Us!” page; the story isn’t about fame’s glamorous trappings so much as it is about the everyday side effects.

Hollywood is, of course, easy fodder for a page-turner. But it’s Sneed’s elegant prose that makes this one guilty pleasure we don’t mind tucking into our spring-break luggage.

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