The turbulent career of a Hollywood star, from the indie film festival to the red carpet to the lonely bedroom in the mansion.
Known for biting satires of Brooklyn yuppies, Sohn (Motherland, 2012, etc.) has laid down her lance and joined the paparazzi with this slow-moving, predictable novel of the Hollywood A-list. You've heard of TomKat and Brangelina—meet SteMad, a nickname which would be terrific if this were a comic novel but is presented here with the phoned-in, almost medicated dullness that is the dominant tone of this book. Its heroine, Maddy Freed, leaves her indie director boyfriend for Hollywood icon Steven Weller, a leading man whose career has been plagued by rumors that he is…wait for it…gay. Naïve Maddy is tormented by this vicious lie, which she thinks can't be true because if it were, how could he have sex with a woman? "His breath was hot as he leaned in and kissed her. She had never been kissed like this. His lips were soft but deft....The kiss went on through entire decades of cinema...and the kiss was nothing like the ho-hum kisses Dan had given her lately; it had personality and confidence, and she offered her whole mouth, her self, to him." Poor Maddy; she's got a lot to learn. As her market value and critical esteem rocket past those of her aging-hottie husband, she is ever more isolated and mistreated. On the plus side, Sohn knows her Hollywood; even the names of minor characters—directors Walter Juhasz and Elkan Hocky, screenwriter Oded Zalinsky—have a savvy energy that hints at how good this book could have been if played for laughs.
Behind the scenes of the tabloids, this novel finds a dated plot, dopey dialogue and cardboard characters.