ARTISTIC DIFFERENCES

Another version of the showbiz story about the Impossible Star who makes life hell for everybody—this time in the context of a TV sitcom. Jimmy Hoy and Neil Stein are a successful TV comedy writing team in Hollywood. Neil is the anxious one (not surprising, given his eight dependents and splashy lifestyle), and narrator Jimmy is the carefree single guy, dating dizzy little actress Kiki while staying cordial with ex-wife Miranda. By the end, Neil's marriage will be history, Kiki will have left town, and Jimmy will be ``wholly reconnected'' with Miranda, but all this is strictly background: the only person center stage is the gorgeous though talentless Geneva Holloway, who's already graced the cover of TV Guide when she's chosen for Jimmy and Neil's latest series (replacing a super-hostile, gun-waving black star). But from the start, she is trouble, insisting on ridiculous script-changes, getting a pedicure while listening to the story presentation, then treacherously dumping her handpicked, HIV-positive hairdresser (who will later commit suicide). Even Jimmy's threat to quit (``this is the most egregious fucking bullshit'') and Neil's suicide attempt do not throw Geneva off stride; what finally gets her dismissed is her direct attack on production company head Avery Schine (``You needle-dicked bug fucker!''). End of story? Not quite, for first- novelist Hauck is well and truly stuck to his tar baby; there follows a ludicrous epilogue in which Geneva, shooting a movie-of- the-week in Africa, falsely accuses a native of theft and has her hand cut off by the authorities. Crude, humorless, in-your-face stuff. Each chapter is preceded by a mildly amusing showbiz anecdote, maybe to compensate for the sour taste of what follows.

Pub Date: June 24, 1993

ISBN: 0-688-12152-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1993

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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