A wannabe model bottoms out in LA.
This thinly fictionalized story of onetime model Tobi Tobin is another in a long and somewhat venerable tradition of books about shallow young women who go in pursuit of shallow things and are ultimately swallowed up and spit out by the infernal LA glamour machine. Determined to escape the boredom of her teenage life, young Tobi drinks, smokes, and sleeps around before leaping at the chance to become a model. The inevitable disappointments that follow are only alluded to in a patchwork quilt of flashback and memories—unfortunately shot through with screenplay-style dialogue exchanges and even voice-over narration. The author’s “memoir”/first novel is largely set years later in LA as Tobi struggles to keep her low position in the business, finding modeling and acting gigs hard to come by. Eventually, she gets lucky and lands a job working the door at a new nightclub. In many ways, it’s a dream job, since it pays in cash, allows Tobi to sleep in, provides her with plentiful industry contacts and free booze, and demands that she exercise her inner snob by determining who should and shouldn’t be allowed in. These passages, which mostly come later in the story, are by far the most interesting and exciting, and indeed an entire book could have been written just about the ups and downs of the job. For Tobi, as well as for the reader, it’s a huge letdown, then, when the narrator goes home after work and sinks into a bath of self-pity—the author’s attempt to give her character a soul by allowing her to feel pity for various caricatures, like the angelic homeless kid who hangs by the entrance to her club every night, only reinforces a sense of irritating self-involvement.
A potentially dramatic story about the price of the fast life, unfortunately drowned by an adolescent mindset.