Why Is Katherine Heigl Reading "Men Who Can’t Love"? Julia Roberts Knows (and so does author Steven Carter).
Gerard Butler stands over a barbecue grill, tossing self-help books onto the flames. Katherine Heigl watches Butler’s television performance aghast, clutching her precious paperback copy of “Men Who Can’t Love”. And so begins THE UGLY TRUTH, Hollywood’s latest commentary on the battle between men, women, and gender stereotypes.
Steven Carter has been waiting over a year to see Heigl on screen holding his classic bestseller. But this isn’t Carter’s first brush with Hollywood. If you saw THE MEXICAN with JULIA ROBERTS, Brad Pitt and James Gandolfini, you’ll remember seeing Roberts buried deep in “Men Who Can’t Love” for almost ten full seconds of front and center screen time. And before that, it was Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in the classic bookstore scene from WHEN HARRY MET SALLY. And when DEFENDING THE CAVEMAN opened in one of New York City’s theatres off-Broadway, once again it was “Men Who Can’t Love”, full screen, in the play’s opening montage.
Compared to these other big moments of film and theatre, Heigl’s scene is barely a footnote in Carter’s career. By the time the film was cut, “Men Who Can’t Love” is held so tight in her hand you can’t even read the title. Yet for those who own one of the four million copies of this book that now circulate the globe, the cover is unmistakable. “I don’t expect to sell another million copies because of The Ugly Truth,” Carter admits, “but it is pretty amazing that book that is now almost twenty five years old is still finding its way to the top of the self-help pack.”
Meanwhile, Carter says he has more important things to focus on right now…South America, for example. Last month, “Men Who Can’t Love” reached the shores of Brazil. “That may be where the next million sales are coming from,” says Carter. And he isn’t exaggerating. His first book to be published in Brazil, “What Smart Women Know”, has sold over 500,000 copies in the past two years, with 110 weeks in Brazil’s top ten. Carter’s second title, “Men Like Women Who Like Themselves”, is approaching the 200,000 mark. And Brazil is just warming up--GMT Sextante, Carter’s Brazilian publisher, has gobbled up the rights to a slew of Carter’s most famous self-help titles and they have big plans for the coming years. Carter is logging thousands and thousands of frequent flyer miles as he struggles to keep up with publicity campaigns.
Given its extraordinary staying power, “Men Who Can’t Love” may one day become the best selling self-help title in the entire relationship/psychology genre. Its wisdom appears to be timeless. And there is nothing ugly about that truth.
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