Monday, June 11, 2007

Cover Girl Confidential - Beverly Bartlett

Cover Girl Confidential
Beverly Bartlett
5 Spot

Chick Lit

Addison McGhee has come a long way from her birth in a refugee camp in Turkey. Her parents were granted permission to immigrate to the U.S. when she was a small child, and a careless bureaucrat mangled her true name into something that sounds Irish. Her family settled in rural Nebraska, but Addison had bigger plans. When she was able, she went to Hollywood and spent a few years doing TV and film roles. She was on a downward career skid that included an embarrassing stint on Hollywood Squares when a producer spotted her and hired her for a new show.

The program was supposed to last a week, and cover the impending weddings of several minor royals and the sitting U.S. President. The chemistry between Addison and her co-host, Hughes Sinclair, was so good that it morphed into a regular morning infotainment program. Addison and Hughes and their new coworker, Baxter Bailey, the curmudgeonly weatherman, became household names. Then events spiraled out of control. In quick succession, Addison got married, unmarried, convicted of assault (it happened on the air) and set for deportation. The lesson here? Always read the fine print on anything you sign.

The author manages to deftly blend a breezy style with real issues. Gay marriage, and the culture of celebrity both come into play in a big way, but the tone is never preachy or dull. There are plenty of celebrity names dropped throughout the story, all used fictitiously of course, but they add to the overall atmosphere of the story. I have to admit that I found Addison to be a bit of an airhead but I think that was completely intentional. And she still manages to be a likeable and sympathetic character.

You can read this as fluffy chick lit, or as a parable about what happens when celebrities start to believe their own press releases. And, honestly, in this weekend after the whole world watched Paris Hilton being dragged, screaming, back to jail, the story carries even more immediacy and resonance. Either way, this is a quick and enjoyable read that gives an unusual twist to the genre.

Rating: 7
March 2007
ISBN# 0-446-69558-0 (trade paperback)


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