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Hollywood Car Wash: A Novel Paperback – Bargain Price, May 5, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Originally self-published last summer and (more than likely falsely) rumored to be a roman à clef by a Katie Holmes insider, this primer on selling your soul chronicles the rise and abrupt fall of talented, fresh-faced actress Amy Spencer, star of a wholesome breakout TV hit. The Michigan co-ed lucks into the lead role of a Dawson's Creek–like series and then immediately gets tossed into the Hollywood sausage maker. Amy might have the soul of an indie chick, but she's been an emotional robot since her beloved dad died, and her grief is no match for the temptation of fame, money and a studio-selected, contractual boyfriend with a not-surprising secret life. But can the simple Michigan girl-next-door keep up the grueling Hollywood life? Amy finds her Tinseltown antidote, but the rescue for her sullied soul ends up being far more mundane. Glammy, dishy and disposable—a beach book shoo-in. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In this dishy debut, a midwestern college student finds herself the star of a hit TV show. Amy Spencer, a drama student who aspires to make indie films, goes to an audition for a new television show and, to her surprise, ends up beating out typical Hollywood beauties to get the part. The network claims to want a girl with a “midwestern look” in the role, but no sooner is Amy cast than the demonic network executive overseeing her show presents a laundry list of demands, including that Amy lose weight, get plastic surgery, and even change her name. Though she is put off by the superficiality and pressure, Amy acquiesces, lured by the novelty of lavish free gifts and paychecks she can use to help her mother. But when Amy’s agent pushes her into a deal with a handsome film star that requires her to fake a relationship, Amy starts to wonder just how far she is willing to go. Anyone who has paged through a celebrity gossip rag will devour this juicy exposé. --Kristine Huntley
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Original edition (May 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416587780
  • ASIN: B005GNMBZ8
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,352,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lori Culwell is the author of six books, including Hollywood Car Wash, a chick lit/ humor type novel that was originally self-published, then was acquired by Simon & Schuster and re-released. She is the owner of Get Creative, Inc, a consulting company specializing in search-engine friendly content, and of BookPromotion.com,
dedicated to providing authors with good advice. She is also a consultant to agents, authors, and publishers, helping them sell more books, and speaks at BEA and around NYC at various author and agent gatherings on this subject.

Find her on Twitter @loriculwell or at www.LoriCulwell.com

Customer Reviews

You MUST buy a copy.
PinkLady15
I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a fun, quick read.
shirleytemple
The writing is great too- I look forward to her next book!
Shadycat

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Busy Reader VINE VOICE on July 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
A quick romp through the Hollywood machine. Amy get's hired out of college to be the 'title' character in a new TV series. Along the way, the powers-that-be in Hollywood demand weight-loss, highlights and extensions, a stylist overhaul, and a name change. 'Star' is now on her way.

Follow Amy/Star through the changes she finds in her lifestyle through the season's of her show.

Hollywood 'blind items' are sprinkled throughout the book, which if you are a blog reader you'll likely be able to guess who they are, as well as identify who some characters in the book were based on (the stylist who keeps her clients in nose powder in order to drop a few sizes .. anyone recognize?)

This book was OK for me. This is the first edition which has some spelling and punctuation errors, which have been fixed in the second printing. It's a fast and fun read, but it left me wanting. It seemed like the authors intent was to be able to spill blind items rather that build up the plot. But, it was still an enjoyable read. I certainly do not feel it was worth the $17.95 that the publishers are selling it for (this is more a trade paperback and should be retailing for around $12.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. Northrup on April 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
An excellent first novel for L. Culwell; she's written a chick book with surprising depth. I find three distinct levels on which to read this book, though I would not be surprised if there are more. The surface level (and one which is probably often overlooked in pursuit of the second) is a true Hollywood success story. Culwell delivers the "rags to riches" tale complete with love affair we expect, rescuing her heroine from drug abuse and starvation-dieting and finally dropping her into the arms of a director who loves her and a career in indy films. We love it, we really love it! The second (most obvious) level invites the reader to criticize Hollywood for pushing young starlets to the brink of destruction in favor of higher ratings and more fan approval. The villains of H.C.W., both human and inhuman, are exactly the kind of horrific monsters we love to hate, and the best part is we are promised it is all true. The deepest level (and I'm sure the one that is most overlooked, but for which Culwell deserves the highest praise) turns the reader from critic to critiqued as Culwell subtly reminds us that it is our desire for an inside look at real Hollywood stars that ultimately allows such situations to be created. Consider that Star Spencer's final breaking point occurs as photogs. almost run her off the road, yet we still (as Culwell intently draws us in) are desperate to know who the real Star is (and will spend money to find out more about her, viz., buy this book) and so are part of her real destruction. By purchasing this item, we are tacitly agreeing to participate in the very system we bought it to criticize and protest. An excellent ironic twist; Brava.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By RMB on April 17, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm not going to lie, chick lit is not usually the genre I read, and despite the fact that I do live in LA, I don't pay much attention to "the biz." That said - this book is fabulous, a must-read, and laugh-out-loud funny. HCW is wittier than your average fare. It's also a deliciously twisted look into the life of a celebrity.

If you ever catch yourself looking through US Weekly and other gossip mags, this book is for you. If you've ever theorized about the strange goings-on of celebs, this book is for you. Hell, if you can READ, this book is for you. Stop wasting your time reading these reviews and just buy it already! You won't be sorry.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer A. Eve on May 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
Much has been said about who this book is about. My question is - who isn't it about? The "Brad Rockwell" parts are most definitely about you know who. But the rest of the book seems to cobbled together from stories on multiple celebs. Indeed, the protagonist (Amy/Star) is more likely a composite of several young stars.

The first edition of the book was published with an incorrect version of the manuscript -- this issue has since been corrected (June 2007).

All in all a good, fun, fast read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Meredith Haynes on May 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
Both the subject and the writing style are compelling in this book. The subject of "creating" a movie-star persona is interesting and the details Ms. Culwell shares are both shocking and amusing. It made me question all the Hollywood hype I now read in the newspaper. I now stop and think, "is that event truly happenstance or was it planned and staged." Her writing is superb and I even laughed out loud a few times--my proof of a good book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on June 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
According to the Amazon Rating System for book reviews, Hollywood Car Wash is a four star book. Paraphrasing Amazon: This is a really good book, one I look forward to reading again and a book I'll promote and loan to my friends.

I love this book. It is well written, fascinating and insightful. Told in the first person, it is the story of a young college drama student who auditions for a part in a weekly TV drama and gets it.

Lori Culwell's voice as Amy Spencer is both vulnerable and authentic. I can't help but wonder what part author Culwell played in the Hollywood scene to gather so much insider information. It is difficult to remember this book is a work of fiction, even as I write the review I realize I am assuming that everything she writes about is accurate and true. Like I said, I love this book, and it is a very convincing indictment of the star system.

The title Hollywood Car Wash is actually a term that refers to the transformation expected of actors in order for them to achieve sufficient star power to become cash cows for the networks.

For Amy Spencer it begins with a name change and a modest request by the network for her to lose a few pounds--but soon escalates into complete control by the powers-that-be over what she eats, wears, says and who she's seen with--until she loses herself completely.

This book confirms a theory I've had about the Hollywood star system for a very long time. The studios make offers that few of us could or would refuse. It's not that the stars have weak characters or no moral fiber, it's simply that most of us aren't equipped to live life effectively without boundaries.

The Hollywood machine is a master of seduction and a very slippery slope. People like Brittany Spears and Lindsey Lohan are more to be pitied than censored. Did I mention, I love this book?

Armchair Interviews says: Did the reviewer mention she LOVED this book?
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