A debut novel about the TV industry during pilot season.
An English professor at UCLA, June Dietz is out of place in Hollywood. But her husband is an actor, and his quest for work rules their lives. It’s not surprising, then, that June falls for the handsome TV producer who likes poetry. Will she leave her husband, or will she find a way to save her marriage? This is the question that fuels the plot, but it’s unlikely that readers will care much about the answer. Steinhauer (Los Angeles bureau chief of the New York Times) and Hendra (How To Cook Your Daughter: A Memoir, 2005) present June—a professional woman and a mother—as the real, righteous antithesis of the “stay-at-home exercisers” and other L.A. caricatures who people the novel, but June is no more appealing and at least as self-absorbed. On the whole, this novel does not suffer from an overabundance of realism. Major events turn on the fact that the heroine has either forgotten her cell phone or turned it off—a plot device that is annoying once, and which becomes ridiculous with repeated use. As satire, the book doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know about Los Angeles, though there may be a potential audience in readers who long to know how a TV pilot gets made. Unfortunately those readers will have to endure such prose as, “He leaned quietly against a wall with a large white sign that read HOT SET, which meant that the room, which had been made to look like a coroner’s office, would be used soon and should not be disturbed.”
Not very good.