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How the Girl Next Door Got Behind the Velvet Rope Using Shameless Flattery, Fake Laughter, and a Few Other Tricks

by Jancee Dunn

Pub Date: June 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-06-084364-0
Publisher: HarperCollins

Mall-rat moves to the city, becomes a Rock Chick, then rediscovers her inner nerd.

In high school, the author sported “a perm that was extreme even by mideighties New Jersey standards, rendering my hair as dense and impenetrable as a boxwood hedge.” She dreamed of a glamorous life, but as she entered adulthood, it seemed the world had anything but glamour in store for her. After dropping out of the University of Delaware, Dunn moved in with her parents and went to work as a fact-checker for an ad agency. This was the kind of job to which a gal wore a plaid suit with giant shoulder pads, a string tie and a hairspray helmet. Bored stiff, Dunn leapt at a chance to interview for an editorial-assistant post at Rolling Stone. Charming the higher-ups with her decided lack of Ivy League polish, she got the gig and soon had her own byline. With the new job came a fantasy urban life: countless men, countless clubs, not to mention Ray Charles serenading her in an elevator and Christian Aguilera sending her a bouquet of flowers. Eventually, though, Dunn realized that this ultra-cool existence was not for her. She began hanging out with her mom and spending most nights in her apartment watching documentaries. Despite the unwieldy subtitle and the distracting how-to-interview-a-celebrity interludes, this debut memoir isn’t really about working at Rolling Stone. It’s about becoming acquainted with, and accepting, your true self. Dunn is a master of character development, capturing the essence of a person in just a few, well-chosen details, and she deftly deploys dialogue. Indeed, her prose transforms the predictable plotline of the last 100 pages—as her sisters and friends churn out babies, Dunn dates many losers, and her biological clock ticks ever louder—into something magical.

Funny, frothy and fabulous.