Brooke loved reading the dishy celebrity gossip rag Last Night - until her marriage became a weekly headline, that is.
Brooke was drawn to the soulful, enigmatic Julian Alter the very first time she heard him perform “Hallelujah” at a dark East Village dive bar. Now five years married, Brooke balances two jobs—as a nutritionist at NYU Hospital and as a consultant to an Upper East Side girls’ school, where privilege gone wrong and disordered eating run rampant—in order to help support her husband’s dream of making it in the music world. Things are looking up when, after years of playing Manhattan clubs and toiling as an A&R intern, Julian finally gets signed by Sony. Although no one’s promising that the album will ever hit the airwaves, Julian is still dedicated to logging in long hours at the recording studio. All that changes after Julian is asked to perform on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno—and is catapulted to stardom, literally overnight.
Amazing opportunities begin popping up almost daily—a new designer wardrobe, a tour with Maroon 5, even a Grammy performance. At first, the newfound fame is fun—who wouldn’t want to stay at the Chateau Marmont or visit the set of one of television’s hottest shows? Yet it seems that Brooke’s sweet husband—the man who can’t handle hot showers and wears socks to bed—is increasingly absent, even on those rare nights they’re home together. When rumors about Brooke and Julian swirl in the tabloid magazines, she begins to question the truth of her marriage and is forced to finally come to terms with what she thinks she wants—and what she actually needs.
©2010 Lauren Weisberger (P)2010 Simon & Schuster
"Weisberger has insightful takes about the price of success in our celebrity-obsessed culture." (Publishers Weekly)
Don't get me wrong. I like to while away a few hours with chick lit as much as the next girl. I have read Lauren Weisberger before and find her romps just the right mix of fun and frolic. That said, this wasn't my favorite -- but it wasn't bad. I liked learning a bit about the music business, and getting to think about my own tendencies to read the headlines of tabloids at the grocery store. Howver, the story just felt a little bit under developed overall.
That said, Merritt Wever and something about her tone sort of constantly imbues such a real quality to Brooke. As her husband Julian is thrust into super stardom, you can hear Brooke screaming through Merritt's narration ... "are you kidding me with this man-child behavior right now?"
The book seemed to wrap up kind of neatly for me after a requisite period of struggle, but I'm not sure Brooke & Julian actually evolved as much as they just made it through enough pages to be released from their suffering.
One highlight of the book are the song lyrics which really gave a sense of believability to the story of the "one hit wonder," and I am sure I'm not alone in thinking someone should run with them and create a complimentary hit to accompany the book! So that is a real fun element of the book.
Ultimately this was a boring and juvenile story of quasi over-priviledged people living out their fantasies. The question is: "would anyone REALLY care about these people?" The answer is most definately NO. The main character's (name already forgotten) continually whined over wanting to stay in a committed relationship while working professionally - while also dealing with her husbands newly discovered fun-filled career. Quick call the Disney people for that ever popular "happily ever after" ending. Mind numbing DRIBBLE!
After Chasing Harry Winston I was excited to listen to another of Lauren Weisberger's novels. This one, however, was slightly disappointing. I had to convince my self to look past the narrator to keep going. I found her winy and slightly annoying which I am sure Lauren was not going for in her main character. The book seems a bit bland and I feel like parts are un-realistic in that the lead character makes decisions that most women our age (30 something) would not make in the same situation. Bottom line, check the sample to see if you can stand the narrator for 12+ hours.
The narator is dreadful and overpronounced every word. Story was also slow. Deadly combination
Very entertaining, I enjoyed the story and the characters a lot. I could not stop listening (as apposed to could not stop reading, ha) I went for many jogs, cleaned and organized my room, cooked and many other things so I could keep listening!
I'd have to put this firmly in the popular fiction category, but I wouldn't call it celebrity fiction, though that's what it is about. Lauren Weisberger treats us to a husband and wife team who actually achieve their highest aspirations financially and professionally, and suffer personally for it. So it has something for everyone...those who hope they succeed, and those who hope they fail. What kept me listening initially was the girlfriend talk in the beginning. It's always amazing to me that two people so different become such lasting friends. This is fiction, granted, but Weisberger seems to have a firm grip on the public pulse. In fact, she looks/writes like the pretty, popular girl at school. If you ever wondered what they were thinking while talking, here you might look behind the curtain.
Weinbeger talks about a different way of life from my own, and while I do not add reading celebrity gossip sheets to my list of guilty secrets, I do wonder about what it must be like to have one's privacy ravaged daily in supermarket tabloids. I actually admire those able to keep steady under such fearsome scrutiny. At her best, Weinberger reminds me of British novelist and screenwriter Julian Fellowes, who introduces us to a world beyond our imaginings in the upper reaches of British royalty. She is a bright, understanding, and seemingly balanced observer of human foibles as practiced by those we sometimes treat as super-human, when in fact they are only beautiful, famous, or rich, or all three.
I did grow somewhat tired of the stiff resistance to success as practiced by the wholesome main character, but it gave me moments to think what I might have done in such circumstances, and to wonder if I would have been so circumspect if I was 28 or 30 years old. But the ending was pure fiction of the old feel-good variety. I wasn't expecting it--things never turn out that way. But it was so delicious, that I listened to it twice.
It may have been a lot better with a decent reader doing the job, but Merritt Weaver should give up any further aspirations of being a reader, let alone an actor. The story sputtered and stuttered on until, yes, I just had to turn it off. I tried, I really did!
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