I have finally decided to get rid of that list thing I had going on. My TBR list at home was never actually forty-five books high. I just keep adding books to it. One step forward, two steps back. I know the list confused/annoyed a lot of you so it is finally gone!
Last Night at Chateau Marmont was given to me six months ago by my best mate’s mum who had noticed I was dangerously close to finishing the book I was reading. I thanked her for her generosity, even though I had another book stashed in my suitcase. Because, as any good bookworm will tell you, you always need a backup when you’re nearing the end of your current literary squeeze.
If I had bought this book myself, or had it on loan from the library, I would have marked this DNF (Did Not Finish, for those of you unfamiliar with the acronym; like I was about three days ago). But because it was a gift, I stuck with it. Ugh, I hate guilt.
This. Book. Was. Terrible. Absolutely awful. One of those chick lit novels that give the genre its terrible name. The story revolves around the Alters: Brooke and Julian. They’ve been married for five years and for that time, Brooke had worked two jobs to support her struggling musician husband (don’t even get me started). The story starts when Julian actually makes it and becomes an overnight sensation, and the “struggles” that caused. And…that’s it. There is maybe one subplot: Brooke’s job. Our secondary cast get glossed over. Which sucks because the secondary cast is actually interesting. We have Nola, the gorgeous Samantha-Jones-from-Sex-and-the-City type. And, now that I think about it, she’s the only character with enough substance to be classed in the “secondary cast” category. none of the other characters were given much of a look in for any reason other than plot devices and a way to gauge how famous Julian is at any given point.
Oh, guys, I’m just getting warmed up.
Let’s start with our protagonist: Brooke.
What. A. Whinger. All she did was complain. And the worst part was that she only complained to us! She never communicated any of her fears or worries with the man she has decided to spend her life with. I mean, I guess I get it, because without that whinging Weisberger had no novel.
Worse than this was that Brooke never let onto Julian that she was unhappy. She followed some horrible advice of her mother’s that was essentially “always be happy when Julian gets home from anything music related because this is his huge break and it is way more important than your mental health”. And Brooke does it. Always. I mean, a lot of her problems would have been fixed if she had instigated a “hey, husband, I’m super happy for you but all of this fame stuff is really hard and I’m struggling to cope” conversation. But no, let’s bore the reader.
Now for Julian. What. A. Tool. He seemed like an alright guy at the beginning of the book, but then he becomes famous and lets it all go to his head. So much so that he starts telling Brooke to be a trophy wife and give up on her career goals, and that Brooke may be more comfortable if she lost a little weight because of paparazzi photos. Seriously! Brooke is always described as just carrying a little extra weight (read: healthy). She’s a nutritionist so she actually is in the healthy weight range. Her husband was just being a dick.
And whenever he flies home to spend time with Brooke, he is permanently glued to his phone, spending no time with her at all. God, I just hated him. And his wife.
The big “issue” in the story is that Julian waa photographed seducing a woman who isn’t his wife. Yes, he goes that far into the music scene. Instead of grovelling or, I don’t know, apologising, Julian essentially tells Brooke she has to suck it up, nothing had happened, and the fact that he’d made out with this woman and taken off her clothes didn’t matter because they didn’t have sex. Ugh! Not only that, but Julian and his manager forced Brooke to be all happy and smiley because they happened to be at the Grammy’s when the story broke. Disgusting. I don’t think Julian ever apologised in any real way for cheating on his wife and that, to me, is more unforgivable than the act itself.
But let’s talk about this big “issue” first. Although she does have every right to be mad and upset, Brooke storms off without ever actually seeing these photos with her own eyes. I mean, if it were me, I’d want to know exactly what I was angry about before I completely reacted. But no, Brooke lets her hunger (from her extensive Grammy’s preparation, where no food was provided) fuel her rage and she leaves. She never even sees the photos until the next day. What?!
And THEN, when Julian finally deigns to turn up to talk about his fuck-up, he doesn’t apologise. He doesn’t beg forgiveness. He shows up with a “game plan”, essentially telling Brooke what their lives would be like for the next few years. Apparently this was supposed to be the big romantic gesture, but I found it controlling and totalitarian.
Worst of all? Brooke ACCEPTS. She says yes to Julian’s lukewarm “will you marry me again?” when Nothing. Was. Resolved. At all. Brooke seems to me to be a person who enjoys being told what to do. It’s gross.
So now onto the “writing”. Shallow is the best description I can come up with. There is no deep meaning to this book, though Weisberger tried. Brooke works as a nutritionist at a high school, and she works with a girl named Kaylie who exhibits worrying eating-disorder-like symptoms. But this little subplot could have been developed and expanded upon but no, our horrible protagonists are more important.
Moving on from the lack of substance, let’s talk writing skill: there was none. A whole lot of telling instead of showing and a preoccupation with what people looked like. Was this preoccupation done ironically, showing the music and media industries’ preoccupation with appearance? No. This is how Weisberger described her characters. And for some reason, we always had to know exactly what Brooke was wearing. I didn’t care. I never did. And I never remembered. I actually skipped these descriptions. They did nothing but add more words to this catastrophe of a “novel”.
I shouldn’t have wasted my time finishing this book. Please don’t make my mistake: