Monday, July 6, 2015

Beautiful People by Wendy Holden

Goodreads Description: A witty, utterly addictive novel from bestselling author Wendy Holden,Beautiful People is a tale wicked in its observations yet buoyant at its heart: an irresistible confection you'll want to devour immediately.
Darcy-a struggling English rose actress when The Call comes from L.A. An Oscar-tastic director. A movie to make her famous. The hunkiest costar in Hollywood. So why doesn't she want to go?
Belle-a size-zero film star but she's in big, fat trouble. Hotter than the earth's core a year ago, she's now Tinseltown toast after her last film bombed. Can she get back to the big time?
Emma-a down-to-earth, down-on-her-luck nanny trying to weather London's cutthroat childcare scene and celebrity mom whirlwinds. What will it take for her to get back in control of her own life?
Jet to London, Hollywood, and Italy; toss in a passionate star chef, a kindhearted paparazzo, and a reluctant male supermodel; and find Wendy Holden at her best-a smash international hit.
My Review: Am I missing something? I feel like there's some big secret and I'm missing out. How did people actually LIKE this book? How did it get almost 4 stars on Goodreads? If the rest of Wendy Holden's books are anything like this one, HOW did she ever become an international bestselling author? I feel utterly confused. This book was awful. I can't even begin to describe how horrendous this book was and I feel so bewildered right now by all the people who loved it or even semi-enjoyed it!
I'm a big chick-lit fan...when it's well-written. I adore Sophie Kinsella's books (that woman knows humor) and I'm a huge fan of Liane Moriarty (if her books could be classified as chick-lit?). As for YA, I'm a staunch loyalist of people like Kieran Scott and Janette Rallison. Not every chick-lit in the world is good but I can be a big girly-girl and I love humor, so chick-lit does appeal to me. So when this book was described as "literary cheesecake" on the back, of course I had to get it!
And I regretted my decision. So, so much. I had to force myself to plow through this 400-page book. I didn't understand a single thing that was going on or why Holden decided to weave together a story as flat, two-dimensional, and insipid as this. 
For one thing, the book was far too big, there were too many characters, and it was too long. It was a pretty hefty-sized book with a small font and right away we were introduced to about 20 characters—NONE OF WHOM I LIKED! It's unbelievable. I can find redeeming qualities in the most boring of characters. And I didn't like anyone here! Some people seemed okay at first but then they just made these strange decisions that I didn't understand and it was just so...boring. They were all so two-dimensional, I literally did not care for a single one and I absolutely hated a few. 
Also, her portrayal of Hollywood ground my gears. Perhaps I'm sensitive because I'm a cinephile and I'm really into the Hollywood scene but it was the worst portrayal of Hollywood ever. I'm not naive; I know there are empty-brained, shallow, heartless jerks in Hollywood. But there are also a lot of nice, good-hearted celebrities in Hollywood. This portrayal of Hollywood as a dog-eat-dog, heartless world filled with vapid felt so cliche, boring, and old-fashioned. Perhaps Hollywood used to be that way? But I doubt it. Celebrities are humans like the rest of us and there will always be a mix of good and bad among them. I would have liked to see a more realistic portrayal of Hollywood. 
The individual stories droned on and on and on and all of the characters seemed so flat it was almost incredible. Eventually, stories began to criss-cross and tie together and I didn't feel any thrill at all. Normally I'm the person who gets really excited over stories crossing over but I felt zero emotion or anticipation while reading this book. It was like watching a train wreck. I literally kept wondering, Why the hell am I reading this book?
And then it ended on a "happy" note (for some characters), I suppose? But it just felt really abrupt and random to me. 
This book was not enjoyable. It was not gossip-y fun in a good way. There were quite a few shocking topics—such as child neglect—which were glossed over as one-note plot points? Which was awful. And even when she tried to make her characters deep and emotional, it felt so fake. Also, the humor was atrocious. I don't think I laughed out loud even once. Perhaps I cracked a few smiles.
I realize I'm being super harsh here. Clearly, her books have fans. But personally, I think there is so much better chick-lit out there. I am not going to be wasting my time with any of her other books. 
Cover: I think it's pretty cute, for those cartoon-y types of covers anyway (which have never been my favorite). 
Overall Grade: F

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