THE STARTER WIFE by Gigi Levangie Grazer


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Screenwriter and novelist Grazer (Maneater, 2003, etc.) may not be happy to be identified as “the wife of” film producer Brian Grazer, given that her romantic satire intends to lampoon the way Hollywood wives of the rich and powerful are locked into soul-numbing pampering.

When 41-year-old Gracie Pollock’s studio big-shot husband Kenny announces that he wants a divorce, Gracie is devastated. No matter that Kenny has no redeeming character or personality traits and is becoming physically unattractive in middle age to boot. A children’s-book author with a regular life before she became a “wife of,” Gracie has spent the last ten years re-creating herself—through surgery, makeup and Pilates—into the sleek, vacuous blonde Kenny wanted, but now he’s sporting an earring and dating Britney Spears (after a sturdy disclaimer, Grazer sprinkles real celebrity names liberally throughout), so Gracie disappears from the Hollywood invite lists. And thanks to a pre-nup, she’s powerless to make settlement demands. When Kenny wants the mansion back, Gracie and her three-year-old daughter, Jaden, borrow the Malibu Colony beach house of Gracie’s friend Joan, who is abroad with her much older husband (until he dumps her for an older woman). One of her new neighbors is Kenny’s boss, the legendary Lou Manahan, still sexy in his 60s. Gracie and he share a jaded view of Hollywood and almost connect romantically—until he announces his intention to stage a fake drowning death to see the reaction at his funeral. Instead, Gracie falls for the handsomely mysterious Sam Knight, who saves her from drowning herself. One little problem: Sam is homeless, sleeping in the backyard of an elderly lady for whom he does odd jobs. Of course, he’s more than he appears.

As much middle-aged chick-lit fairy tale as bitchy satire, with a minimal grasp on reality, though Gracie’s voice is irresistibly engaging.

Pub Date: June 2nd, 2005
ISBN: 0-7432-6502-5
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2005


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