Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Oh You Pretty Things: A Novel by Shanna Mahin

Oh You Pretty Things: A Novel.  Shanna Mahin. Penguin Group (USA). April 2015. 368 pp.  ISBN#: 9780525955047.

Some readers and TV viewers thrive on anything to do with lifestyles of the rich and famous! Well, here’s a sneak view into the life of the “personal assistants” who spend 24/7 doing the biddings of the semi-famous but rich stars of Los Angeles.  Jess Dunne belongs to the third generation of Hollywood “wanna’ be great” actors and actresses and certainly knows the workings of the desire for that ultimate win, success.  But she’s not doing so well on the acting scene; and when our story begins, she’s working as a barista at a local L.A. coffee joint and being passed over for decent hours because she’s not young and chic enough! Her only consolation is her roommate Megan who is also auditioning for every possible actress position on the planet.  Their snappy and snarky dialogue puts plenty of humor and reality into what would otherwise be absolutely pitiful and moronic situations!

At an acquaintances suggestion she applies for and is accepted to be the personal assistant of a semi-famous actor, who turns out to be an agoraphobic, demanding son of a gun whose every whim becomes Jess’s desire to fulfill!  The real question that keeps occurring to the reader while reading page after page of this unreal but ironically real world is how long will it be before Jess quits.

However, Jess’s Mom appears on the scene soon enough, another “potential” actress who everyday life is an endless drama, usually ending with an empty hand held out to Jess for financial assistance for her Mom’s latest project.  Oh, did I say Mom – because Jess’s not allowed to call her that but instead calls her by her name, Donna.  But there’s a dramatic change coming that will shock and soften Jess’s heart about Donna, a rather poignant, seductive scene about the possibility of change in every scene that struts across life’s stage.

Jess next is able to land a job, again as a personal assistant, for another near-famous actress, due to Jess’s amazing culinary skills.  The story beyond here is where Jess begins to start analyzing what is really happening here and what it means for the rest of her life if she chooses to keep pursuing her own dreams! 

There are some meaningful and potent scenes in between a great deal of absolute nonsense (acceptable euphemism)!  Plenty of funny comments and scenes save the day for this novel especially geared for Hollywood watchers, lovers of certain newspapers and magazines tending to this specific life form, and those who are true people-watchers who are always looking to connect to fame, even if it is vicariously!  Highly recommended for only those who thrive on this world!

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