It's official: Bret Easton Ellis is one of the most overrated American fiction authors out there. His latest effort, "Imperial Bedrooms" is a huge dis...moreIt's official: Bret Easton Ellis is one of the most overrated American fiction authors out there. His latest effort, "Imperial Bedrooms" is a huge disappointment on every level. A sequel to his iconic novel, "Less Than Zero," "Imperial Bedrooms" revisits the original characters, namely Clay, 25 years after the original.
Basically, he spends the first 1/3 of the book criticizing the film adaptation of "Less Than Zero" (starring Andrew McCarthy, Jami Gertz, RDJ), because it sanitized the scandalous source material for popular consumption. I can buy that--the book was edgy and controversial but the Brat Pack flick was a heavily censored coming-of-age film. After his diatribe against the film adaptation, the author focuses on Clay's debaucherous lifestyle as a screenwriter with a mysterious stalker.
The author assumes that everyone has already read "Less Than Zero," as practically none of the characters are given a decent backstory, goals, and motivation (especially Blair). The whole stalker/murder mystery element--which basically takes up the entire book--is laughable and just makes the entire story seem ludicrous.
What I dislike most about "Imperial Bedrooms" is the use of gratuitous sex scenes and tales of drug usage; I am definitely not a prude, and I must say that these graphic scenes contributed absolutely nothing to the story. It's sad that Ellis had to stoop this low to capture the reader's attention--it's true, I was snoring for the rest of the book. The scenes come out of nowhere with no apparent motivation. For instance, blah blah blah, another TXT from my stalker, blah blah blah Julian's lying about Blair AGAIN blah blah blah I'm fisting two teenage prostitutes in the desert. WTF!
This would all be OK if the author actually offered a world view or some sort of commentary about these behaviors; I was hoping that he would take a moment to ponder WHY all these things (ie. orgies, drug abuse, plastic surgery) are taking place and what does it all say about our society. That would be much more interesting than a bunch of simplistic sentences merely describing the naughty behavior taking place on any given day. And I literally do mean SENTENCES. If he's going to discuss these subjects in a somewhat realistic manner, he might as well go into juicy detail.
It's ironic that a novel that begins as a diatribe against the mainstream Hollywood machine ends with the most ridiculously predictable conclusion possible. The murder mystery (that only really had one OBVIOUS suspect) is solved and there's room left open for a sequel. As always, Ellis' writing is very cinematic and unfortunately, this simplistic screenplay-esque style robs "Imperial Bedrooms" of any depth it potentially had.
If you want to read a complex murder mystery that includes salacious details about the New York and L.A. nightlife, then I recommend Jackie Collins' latest bestseller, "Poor Little Bitch Girl." It includes masterful storytelling on her part.(less)
Honestly, I spent the first 2/3 of this book YAWNING, because it reads like more of a Television History textbook than a TV writer's memoir. But I wou...moreHonestly, I spent the first 2/3 of this book YAWNING, because it reads like more of a Television History textbook than a TV writer's memoir. But I would just attribute that to bad marketing--looking at the cover, my expectations were a little off. The early chapters of the book, while full of facts & figures, deserve thorough reading because they explain important aspects of the Television industry such as industry hierarchies, average salaries, Nielsen ratings, ad revenues, etc.
The last 1/3 of the book was surprisingly breezy and full of fun insider accounts from the set of "Dawson's Creek." Finally, the novel began to live up to its title, "Billion Dollar Kiss," referring to the game-changing kiss between Pacey & Joey (Josh Jackson & Katie Holmes). That said, I think it takes a lot of guts for someone to claim responsibility for the WORST seasons (aka everything after 2) of the laughably bad WB melodrama. The book works because Stepakoff is well aware that he was aboard a rapidly sinking ship and he admits that the success of the show was due entirely to the WB's whitewashed advertising campaign as opposed to the actual writing.
Up until I reached the first-person tales of working on "Dawson's Creek," this book review was stuck at 2 stars, but the extensive accounts of TV industry politics were well worth the price of admission.(less)
What an appropriate title for Heather "LongBoobs" McDonald's new book! I sped through several chapters on Heather's past (sexless) relationships, eage...moreWhat an appropriate title for Heather "LongBoobs" McDonald's new book! I sped through several chapters on Heather's past (sexless) relationships, eager to see exactly how she lost her virginity at age 27, and when the moment of truth finally comes, the entire ordeal is described in ONE MEASLY SENTENCE! Of course, as we all know, Heather ultimately got her happy ending with a loving husband and children, but that part of her life is described in give-or-take 15 pages. As the title promises, I literally felt "blue-balled" once I reached the story's end. Although Heather often talks about her dry humping expertise, the book lacks a thorough discussion of sex and what it really meant to finally give up her V-card.
By far, my biggest complaint is that the book rambles on so much that it feels like a stream of consciousness writing. I say that because each chapter starts with one story but somehow will lead to ten different tangential stories from Heather's life. With the interminable amount of spatial and temporal jumps, I could never keep any of the stories or character names straight. Almost every chapter was so convoluted that I never understood the significance of the chapter titles. Very haphazard. By the end of the eighth flashback, I would ask myself, "What the hell were we talking about again?"
In spite of its flaws, "You'll Never Blue Ball In This Town Again" delivers some funny moments--McDonald is a comedy writer/stand-up comedienne, after all--but it's not nearly as laugh-out-loud funny as Chelsea Handler's memoirs.(less)
Although I never quite made it through the 2008 film adaptation, I was pleasantly surprised when I picked up F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story for the...moreAlthough I never quite made it through the 2008 film adaptation, I was pleasantly surprised when I picked up F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story for the first time. Deemed "the funniest story of all time" by Fitzgerald himself, the book was humorous but at no point was I rolling on the ground laughing. "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" is a short and sweet story about a man who starts life at 70-year-old and experiences the aging process in reverse, with hilarious and at times, heartbreaking results. The concept of yearning for the unattainable, a theme that dominated Fitzgerald's most famous work, "The Great Gatsby," is definitely echoed in "Button"; in this case, Benjamin yearns to live a normal life while those around him yearn to have his mysterious, immortal qualities.(less)
Despite the large print and short chapters, it took me a week to trudge through this memoir. "The Film Club" is the first memoir I've ever read from a...moreDespite the large print and short chapters, it took me a week to trudge through this memoir. "The Film Club" is the first memoir I've ever read from a middle-aged father's perspective and yet it is, by far, the most sickeningly sentimental memoir I've ever read. Whenever David Gillmour attempts to describe a deep love and affection for his son (aka EVERY other page), it comes off as inappropriate and incestuous... seriously, I was expecting penetration at any given moment. *cringe*
Also, as someone who loved school, I had a hard time reading about a father who let his son drop out of school at age 16, stay unemployed, live at home rent-free, smoke cigarettes, drink wine and beer, have sex, and watch three movies a week as an educational substitute. Gillmour continuously doubts himself about his child-raising techniques... as he very well should.
The only saving grace of this novel are the insights and anecdotes from the author, who happens to be a former film reviewer/producer/documentarian. I'd say, skip the novel altogether, and import the FILMOGRAPHY into your Netflix queue.(less)
Although I was skeptical at first, I have fallen in love with Patti Stanger, who is most commonly known as "The Millionaire Matchmaker." In true Patti...moreAlthough I was skeptical at first, I have fallen in love with Patti Stanger, who is most commonly known as "The Millionaire Matchmaker." In true Patti fashion, this book is an incredibly straight-forward, comprehensive guide to finding a life partner. While she has successfully debunked the myth that gay men and straight women are SO much alike when it comes romance and attracting mates, I could still take her advice... with a grain of salt, of course. (less)
A dangerous combination of beauty and brains, Chelsea Handler reveals an uncharacteristic vulnerability in her third memoir, "Chelsea Chelsea Bang Ban...moreA dangerous combination of beauty and brains, Chelsea Handler reveals an uncharacteristic vulnerability in her third memoir, "Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang." Unlike her earlier books, Chelsea goes into great detail about her parents and siblings, as well as her neurotic boyfriend, the real-life CEO of the E! Network. As always, she had me cackling at every single page; if you're looking for some laughs, "Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang" will not disappoint! (less)
To tell you the truth, I TRUDGED through the first third of this novel. Initially, I found the chapters to be TOO short, the characters were underdeve...moreTo tell you the truth, I TRUDGED through the first third of this novel. Initially, I found the chapters to be TOO short, the characters were underdeveloped, and it was full of melodrama. But lo and behold, melodrama turned to gripping drama as the overarching murder mystery/prostitution ring storylines became more and more complicated. Specifically, after Carolyn's abduction, I literally couldn't put the book down. Finally, Jackie Collins' masterplan finally came into view as the short chapters created a suspenseful tone and a mood of desperation. I was literally cheering out loud by the end of the story; I was very impressed by the story arc of EVERY single character. (less)
I wholeheartedly agree with Ira Glass when she said, "I think America would be a better place if everyone on every side of the gay marriage debate wou...moreI wholeheartedly agree with Ira Glass when she said, "I think America would be a better place if everyone on every side of the gay marriage debate would read this book." The follow-up to "The Kid," Dan Savage's latest novel, "The Commitment," is a heartwarming story that will make you re-consider how you define terms like love, family, commitment, and marriage. Not only is it the story of Dan's longtime commitment to his boyfriend Terry, it's also a very well researched book that objectively analyzes both sides of the marriage equality debate in the U.S. (less)
Excellent encyclopedia of the most notorious murderers, kidnappers, spies, etc. It's a fascinating, eye-opening read that is incredibly well-researche...moreExcellent encyclopedia of the most notorious murderers, kidnappers, spies, etc. It's a fascinating, eye-opening read that is incredibly well-researched.(less)