Monday, July 9, 2012

Book Review: Last Night at Chateau Marmont

Last Night at Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger

Here's what it's about: Brooke loved reading the dishy celebrity gossip rag Last Night. That is, until her marriage became a weekly headline.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.

Weisberger came to fame with The Devil Wears Prada. She's also written Chasing Harry Winston and my favorite, Everyone Worth Knowing. Last Night at Chateu Marmont is an enjoyable read although not my favorite of Weisberger's books. While each of Weisberger's novels are chick lit with a serious twist, this dug deeper than others (which I respect) but muddled there too long for my taste. 

Brooke is a wonderfully relatable character. What's so interesting about this read is that it takes all of the things that Brooke and her husband Julian had wished for each other. She doesn't have to work two jobs to support them. He makes his big break and can finally meet his parents' expectations of him. Money is no longer a worry. Brooke is even an US Weekly gossip mag lover like myself. What they didn't expect is all the stresses that would come when the world is suddenly watching what they thought was a happy marriage--when they, themselves, end up on the very pages they used to watch so fervently. 

Weisberger writes an accurate portrayal of life in the limelight. How publicity to advance Julian's career sometimes feels like its own kind of betrayal. And the problem with living the glamorous beautiful life is that all the glamorous beautiful people are there to tempt you.

You read this novel and realize how fragile relationships are and how we all, in our own special way, crave attention whether it's from a certain few or from the masses. It's important, however, not to forget where you came from and who has been there all the way to support you. My only request of Weisberger would have been to better straddle the balance between a  a relationship unraveling (with the tension, twists, and turns this storyline can provide) and that of a marriage counseling session. 

Still, if you're looking for a summer read, this is still a possible contender. 

1 comment:

  1. I adore a great chick lit read. I hadn't heard of this one before so, thanks! Definitely sounds like an interesting summer read.