Review: Nothing Special by Nicole Flattery

Everyone has a slightly different interpretation of Andy Warhol. Whether it is his work as an artist, writer, photographer or filmmaker or of the man himself. Something of an enigma, he can mean different things to different people. Nothing Special offers Nicole Flattery's interpretation of Warhol, who she has spend a considerable amount of time and effort researching. It tells a fictionalised account of one of the young typists who finds themselves working at the Factory, typing Andy Warhol's novel a. Seventeen year old Mae is not a real person but she may as well be, given the level of research done by the author. It opens with her well into adulthood, and tells us of a life lived where she is free, but not someone extraordinary, like the many people who graced the Factory in the 1960s. We learn how she got the job at the Factory, after being ostracised by her peers at school and after a visit to a somewhat dubious doctor. At the Factory, she finds a kinship of sorts with another same-aged typist Shelley. Together they find themselves typing a manuscript that the both find fascinating and perverse, and caught up in a world that is equally so. However, Mae's saving grace is that unlike her friend she is not looking for fame and fortune and this eventually serves her well.

This was an entertaining, though reasonably short, read. Having only recently read a I found this fictionalised, behind the scenes glimpse to be quite interesting. I also loved the spin that the author put on the missing tape--which also offers an insightful glimpse into female friendship. We also get a glimpse into Mae's difficult relationship with her mother, and her heartbreaking and occasionally touching relationship with her stepfather. 

Overall an entertaining read. The real typists of a (with the exception of Maureen Tucker,) have largely been written out of history, but it was fun to see speculation by a true Warhol fan of who they could be. 

Recommended.

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