Stupid and Contagious

Stupid and Contagious

by Caprice Crane

An audio file of this program is available in mp3 format; click to listen.

I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation. The book is Stupid and Contagious by Caprice Crane.

Although they may not know it, people in novels have it easy. Now, let me back up a little bit.  I’m talking about romantic fiction right now, not the kind of book where you get kidnapped and have to escape through the woods at night and it’s raining and you’re being pursued by an axe wielding maniac, or the kind of book where you get beheaded for crimes against the state during the French Revolution as your lover watches helplessly from the crowd, or the kind where you are one of a handful of survivors in the smoking remains of a world gone mad. Those people, clearly, do not have it easy. So let me rephrase. That adorable girl that at first thinks that new guy in the neighborhood is annoying when he takes her parking place, or the sweet yet lonely and misunderstood guy who thinks the new girl at work is a little flaky when she eats his Powerbar, those people — they are the ones that got the good literary jobs. The worst things they have to worry about is the ex-boyfriend showing up a third of the way through, or maybe she’s allergic to his beloved yellow lab. Now, since the stakes are a little lower than the very survival of the human species, for instance, it’s up to the author to make these quirky men and women real people you care about and are invested in having a happy ending, not people you want to punch in the neck and tell them to get over themselves.

Sometimes, though, the author is particularly crafty, and you get a little of both. In her novel Stupid and Contagious, Caprice Crane does two things right off the bat that made me suspicious. She named the book after song lyrics — not only a song, but THE song. If the book had been written 20 years ago, it would have been called Stairway to Heaven. Then, she set the chapters up in that he-said/she-said format which leads so often to fatal cuteness. And around here, cuteness will not be tolerated. So I’m reading, and my eyes are a little narrowed to begin with, and we meet her characters, ditzy, quirky, nutty Heaven, and overgrown frat boy Brady. She reads his mail. He thinks she’s insane. My eyes are starting to roll. Then something funny happened. I started to care about them. I started to really want to know what happened. Then God help me, about halfway through, I realized I was in love with both of them, and I couldn’t stop reading until my darling Brady and sweet, dear Heaven worked everything out. It may not be survival of the human race, but honestly, what’s more important than falling in love?

This may be Caprice Crane’s first novel, but she knows the entertainment industry from the inside out, having famous parents, writing screenplays and already having conquered MTV. I found we share a deep and abiding love for espresso, which is the first food group and start of a productive day.  I spoke with Caprice from her home in New York City.

Hear my conversation with Caprice on Book Radio, SiriusXM Channel 80 on Saturday, February 17 at 6pm and Sunday at 10am, and on Sonic Theater SiriusXM Channel 80 on Sunday the 18th at 11:30 am and pm, all times EST.


I’m Kim Alexander and this is a Fiction Nation minute. The book is Stupid and Contagious by Caprice Crane.

Now, wait a second, it’s that whole thing of naming a book after a song — I have feelings on that. But Caprice won me over by the strength of her writing and her stupid, contagious, loveable and adorable characters. Although I didn’t feel that way at first. Stupid and Contagious is set up in a series of chapters narrated by Heaven and Brady, and at first I was all, I can’t spend a whole book with these annoying people, which coincidentally is what they think of each other — at first. Heaven is a world class bad waitress. Brady is too old to act like he’s still in college. And they’re neighbors.  Ms. Crane has a great ear for the way that men and women talk about and to each other, and by the end of the book I was in love. Their pilgrimage to the yearly Kurt Cobain memorial must be experienced. Stupid and Contagious by Caprice Crane. I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation on Book Radio, SiriusXM Channel 80.


I’m Kim Alexander and this is a Fiction Nation minute. The book is Stupid and Contagious by Caprice Crane.

This book has a few gimmicks, which I have come out against in the past — titles taken from songs, alternating he said-she said chapters, but in this case, it absolutely works, because Ms. Crane can absolutely write. Heaven and Brady are neighbors. He thinks she’s a flake, she thinks he’s possibly mentally delayed. Actually, they both have a point. Their mutual dislike leads to a very grudging friendship and a road trip to find the president of Starbucks. A little yellow brick road-esque? I think so. But Brady has invented Cinnamilk, and after all, you only need one big idea. Stupid and Contagious is full of great supporting characters, like Sarah, the queen of psycho ex-girlfriends, and Strummer the dog, plus dead on pop culture references ranging from fat free water to celebrity cameos by Ben Stiller and Tommy Lee. Stupid and Contagious by Caprice Crane. I’m Kim Alexander. This is Fiction Nation on Book Radio, SiriusXM Channel 80.


I’m Kim Alexander and this is a Fiction Nation minute. The book is Stupid and Contagious by Caprice Crane.

The author is the daughter of Tina Louise — that’s Ginger from Gilligan’s Island for those without Nick at Night, and Les Crane — west coast radio announcer and talk show host. Growing up around celebrities has given Ms. Crane a wicked insight into the workings of the industry, and she puts it to excellent use in this book, set in the indie music scene of Manhattan, Los Angeles and Seattle, with stops in trendy restaurants, lots of Starbucks, and the occasional airport Ramada.. We meet Heaven and Brady, neighbors and enemies — at first — and follow their travels from coast to coast and to being able to stand each other. Stupid and Contagious is full of pop culture touches that never feel dated, and the author’s comic timing is a pleasure to read. Heaven and Brady do not find each other across a crowded room, and the progression of their relationship feels natural and organic. Stupid and Contagious by Caprice Crane. I’m Kim Alexander on Book Radio, SiriusXM Channel 80.


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