Most of us dream of having the life of a movie star: the wealth, the fame, the adoration. One can even argue that it is the quintessential embodiment of the American Dream. But what if you attain that life, only to find that it is not so much the American Dream as a “Waking Dream”– an unreal and foggy existence that only pulls you farther from yourself? That’s what happens to Elliot Adrian, the “star” of award-winning novelist Michael Loyd Gray’s latest book, Not Famous Anymore.
Movie star Elliott Adrian’s days are a whirlwind of parties, booze, and luxury. The problem is, none of it means anything to him. His outwardly perfect life is really just a prison, and although he cannot see the gilded bars, something deep within him knows he must escape before it kills him. Deciding he doesn’t want to be famous anymore, he disappears from Hollywood and begins working his way back to his hometown in rural Illinois.
In his travels, Elliott meets many people who lead—on the surface—rather unenviable lives: the cab driver, the solitary rancher, the man pouring cheap beer in a small-town dive. But as each experience unfolds, he learns that they are in fact much richer men than he. Imagine his surprise when he tries to buy their friendship; they are not only unimpressed, but almost seem to pity him. Through their kindness, honesty and quiet strength, he learns a most valuable lesson: that giving of yourself is the only real currency.
Not Famous Anymore is a social commentary, not only about the excesses of those living that Hollywood dream, but about everyone who aspires to live it without really understanding what it means. It is about the millions of people who follow Ashton Kutcher on Twitter and watch every installment of the Real Housewives. But what makes this book so incredible is that is also about another America, filled with people who don’t care what Kutcher is doing. For these people, living the Dream means a different kind of abundance: nature, family, and the satisfaction of a hard day’s work. It is these people who help guide Elliott home.
Gray is not snubbing his nose at wealth or fame, but simply reminding us of a lesson often forgot: that material success, without direction and substance, can lead to an empty existence of moral decay and spiritual ruin. Ultimately, the book is about turning away from the distractions of our technology- obsessed world and looking inward to find our own truth. Elliott doesn’t check email, tweet or go on Facebook. He doesn’t even use the phone that much. He goes from living under a constant spotlight to living completely under the radar. It is only then that he discovers that underneath all the superficial junk, he is a man with enough character, courage and moxie to face his own demons, and slay them. And that is a lesson we would all do well to learn.
To learn more about Michael Loyd Gray’s work, visit http://www.michaelloydgray.com/