Thursday, July 9, 2009

The First Assistant by Clare Naylor & Mimi Hare

This book is actually a sequel to The Second Assistant. One's rise in Hollywood, of course starts at the bottom, and everyone has more than one assistant, so in the first book, our main character, Elizabeth Miller, is hired as the second assistant in a Hollywood agency. Now, Lizzie, who has grand hopes of becoming a Hollywood producer, is a first assistant. That's really all you need to know.

Both books are pure escapist reading and pretty disappointing if you're looking for a heroine with a backbone. Lizzie's neurosis, while entertaining, are so highly magnified that it seems all she has going for her is dumb luck as she climbs the Hollywood ladder. Her character has this competing duality that is quite frustrating. She was smart enough to go to a good college and initially begin a career in politics in DC. Then, she moves to LA and becomes this insecure mess, making silly mistakes reminiscent of a person without common sense. Argh.

In The First Assistant, Lizzie is "rented" out to an up-and-coming actress to serve as an on-location assistant. While on location, the conniving second assistant back in the office attempts to get Lizzie fired and Lizzie's famous boyfriend gets photographed kissing an ex-girlfriend. This is actually enough to make her life fall apart (for a short time.) In the end, it all works out (a Hollywood ending?), but the authors rush to get her though to that happy ending. The writers cram so much in so quickly, you finish chapters craving more detail while not really believing that any of the events in the book could actually happen. The rush of the writing and the lack of depth int he story made this anything but a calming, escapist book to read (and I found serious typos too.)

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