Bookshelf: Family Ties – Alex Gets the Business

Family Ties – Alex Gets the Business
By Joe Claro
First Published in 1986
Published by Avon Books
103 Pages

This was a very, very quick read, clocking in at just over 100 pages. But it was an enjoyable one that did a fine job capturing the spirit, tone and humor of the television series. The book itself is in wonderful condition, perhaps one of the best in my collection. To be fair, it’s also one of the newer books, so it hasn’t had decades to become worn and beaten from being passed between readers. It is the only novel written for Family Ties, which isn’t surprising. By the 1980s the heyday of the tie-in novel was over.

As the title suggests, Alex Gets the Business focuses heavily on the character of Alex P. Keaton (played brilliantly by Michael J. Fox) as he tries to juggle his love life with his love of business. As the story begins, ALex has just been accepted into the prestigious Nu Alpha Mu fraternity. All business, all the time. He’s thrilled, understandably, but his sisters are quite as excited. To make things even better, one of his professor’s thinks very highly of him, so Alex invites him do dinner.

Alex Gets the Business Front
Alex Gets the Business Front – Copyright 1986 Avon Books

The professor in question brings a friend named Marcie (it’s never really explained how the professor knows Marcie or just what their relationship is) and during conversation it’s revealed that Marcie is just $10,000 short of opening her own salon. Alex just happens to have a net worth of roughly $10,000. Things seem to be looking up for Alex. He even has a beautiful girl named Nan Winters interested in him. Not that he’d ever cheat on his girlfriend Ellen. But it’s nice to be noticed. He does make the mistake of offering to go to a dance with Nan, who’s only interested in ALex’s association with Nu Alpha Mu.

Ellen, of course, finds out. To make matters worse, Marcie turns out to be involved in some shady business dealings that Alex can’t stomach. When he goes to his professor with his concerns he’s shocked to find the professor doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with what Marcie’s doing. Neither do his fraternity brothers. Ultimately, Alex does the right thing and makes it clear he doesn’t want anything to do with Marcie (he’ll get his investment back quickly). And he patches things up with Ellen. But most importantly, he’s learned a valuable lesson about business and maybe, just maybe, started to develop a conscience.

Alex Gets the Business Back
Alex Gets the Business Back – Copyright 1986 Avon Books

Alex Gets the Business may be a quick read but it’s a pretty good one. There’s some fighting between Alex, Mallory and Jennifer, a few jokes about the college days of Elyse and Steven and just enough personal growth on the part of Alex to make the novel truly reflect the television show. Family Ties airs every Sunday on one of my local network affiliates and I try to watch whenever I remember. It’s a good show and this was a good tie-in novel.

One final note: the back cover includes a photo of the entire cast including whichever child actor played Andy Keaton as a child. But there’s no mention of him in the book.

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4 Replies to “Bookshelf: Family Ties – Alex Gets the Business”

  1. Actually, the “heyday” of the TV tie-in book never really ended; in the ’90s, there were adaptations and original novels based on the Olsen twins’ “TWO OF A KIND”, “SABRINA THE TEEN-AGE WITCH”, “LIZZIE McGUIRE”, and other series aimed at young female readers. And there are some that continue to this day…

  2. True, there are still tie-in novels being published (the most recent one I’ve read is a novel based on FOX’s Bones). There’s even a whole organization for tie-in writers: The International Association of Media Tie-in Writers. But there’s nowhere near the same volume as in decades past, when shows like The New People, Lucas Tanner and The Girl with Something Extra all received a tie-in novel or two.

  3. Yep- you probably won’t see an original paperback novel based on “THE BIG BANG THEORY” or “MEDIUM” for “$2.95” on your friendly local Borders or Barnes & Noble’s bookshelf tomorrow…but there’s always the possibility of at least ONE “tie-in” with the new season’s “hot property”.

  4. My Bookshelves are filled with TV tie-ins: I love em.

    But I doubt will ever see such volume again: 32 Dark Shadows paperbacks and 23 Man From UNCLE.

    Personally I’d like to see an authors take on Medium or House.

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