The curious story of an unlikely celebrity chaser.
When first-time author Buhl pursued an easy (and sleazy) money job as a paparazzo, she quickly grew to love the challenge of getting "the shot,” explaining that it’s “like we're in some hideously exhilarating Bourne chase but with real people—famous ones—real payoffs and limited risk of death." She notes that celebrity-magazine editors want photos of beautiful people doing beautiful things but also everyday things—jogging, getting coffee, entering and leaving the gym (preferably sweaty), or shopping. Buhl's advice to celebrities who don't want to be stalked or photographed and live in Beverly Hills or West Hollywood is straightforward: "Do not eat, hang, shop, go to the doctor, drive, live, or basically be in [the city]….Ninety percent of paps hang out in this two-mile radius of town." The few places celebs have privacy rights are inside their homes, their backyards (but not their front) and in bathrooms. Buhl has felt conflicted about her paparazzo status and eventually broke the cardinal rule ("Do not need or desire to be liked by these people") when she pursued her crush, actor Adrien Grenier. During a standoff with Cameron Diaz, she imagined herself telling the actress, "I have an MBA, Cameron. I'm smart. I'm not like them. I'm one of you. You’d like me." The author revels in the absurdity and hazards of her chosen profession, but her colorless language and voice rob readers of the adrenaline rush. Eventually, the narrative hits a wall when she intersperses her increasingly mundane celebrity-chasing accounts with the story of her efforts to have a family. (Even the ongoing will-she-or-won't-she with Grenier grows tiresome.)
Perhaps entertaining to the celebrity-obsessed, who will learn that, unlike what the tabloids would have them believe, stars are not "just like us."