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The Starter Wife Paperback – April 4, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Downtown Press; Light edgewear edition (April 4, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743265033
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743265034
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,483,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The third and funniest in a succession of novels about the cutthroat social mores of the entertainment industry by a woman who has witnessed them up close." -- The New York Times Book Review

"Lively, wry." -- The Washington Post Book World

"Fearless and fabulous. Only an insider like Gigi Grazer could have so much wicked fun with the intricacies of Hollywood's power couples." -- Lauren Weisberger, author of The Devil Wears Prada

About the Author

Gigi Levangie Grazer is the author of three prior novels: Rescue Me (2000), Maneater (2003), and The Starter Wife (2006). The Starter Wife was adapted for an Emmy Award–winning USA Network miniseries starring Debra Messing, and later for a television series; Maneater was adapted for a Lifetime miniseries starring Sarah Chalke in May 2009. In addition, Gigi wrote the screenplay for Stepmom, starring Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon. Gigi’s articles have appeared in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Glamour. She lives in L.A. with her two children and three miniature dachshunds.

More About the Author

Gigi Levangie Grazer is the author of three prior novels: Rescue Me (2000), Maneater (2003), and The Starter Wife (2006). The Starter Wife was adapted for an Emmy Award-winning USA Network miniseries starring Debra Messing, and later for a television series; Maneater was adapted for a Lifetime miniseries starring Sarah Chalke in May 2009. In addition, Gigi wrote the screenplay for Stepmom, starring Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon. Gigi's articles have appeared in Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Glamour. She lives in L.A. with her two children and three miniature dachshunds.

Customer Reviews

Poorly written, shallow plot, unrealistic characters.
Kelley Stephanopolous
The book doesn't pick back up--and the only reason I found myself laughing past p. 150 was because it was ridiculous.
frannyglass
I also watched the USA Network's miniseries based on this novel, and I have to say much of it is not like the book.
Armchair Interviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

80 of 92 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Because she is a real-life "Wife Of," Gigi Levangie Grazer has been hailed as the "on the inside" Hollywood chick-litter. Inexplicably, it turns out, because "The Starter Wife" is full of the vapid, name-dropping superficiality that any housewife from Nebraska could dream up.

Gracie is a "Wife Of" -- wealthy, toned, dyed and perfectly preserved, and married to a Hollywood heavyweight with one kid. Until Kenny hits midlife crisis -- he dresses loudly, gets an earring, and then tells Gracie that he wants a divorce. In the dizzying whirlwind of divorce, Gracie finds out that he's having an affair with Britney Spears (presumably in the months before she started slumming it with Kevin Whatsisface).

A concerned pal lends Gracie her Malibu house, so the newly-divorced can get her bearings and life back on track. And as she wanders the California beaches with her gay pal and married neurotic friend, Gracie finds herself desired by not just one but two men -- a handsome homeless man, and Kenny's dissatisfied has-it-all boss. Can she become more than Kenny's "starter wife"?

Okay, it has a different plot -- one that Shar Jackson might find emotional satisfaction in, admittedly. But the core of "The Starter Wife" is yet another thin plot, with a moronic heroine and lots of name-dropping. It's even worse that much of Grazer's name-dropping is out of date -- since this book went to press, Brad and Jen have broken up. So no one's worried about them procreating.

Grazer's lack of inspiration shows through in the storyline itself, which meanders aimlessly between Hollywood-expose cliches and middle-aged-woman-reinvents-self cliches. The writing meanders as well, as if the author is desperately trying to fill up space.
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63 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Dangle's girl on May 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
At what point do you keep reading after a character has totally turned you off? I kept thinking that as I plodded through "Starter Wife," pulled along by the witty dialogue and exotic/horrifying setting but disgusted by the main character. Gracie (does she really need a gay boyfriend named Will?) is a whiny, self-absorbed, zero of a character, who pitilessly judges everyone around her while falling into lockstep with the values she supposedly loathes. She sticks around with a jerk until he dumps her, then immediately starts shopping for Jerk No. 2. "Maneater" had a shallow, materialistic heroine as well, but dang, she was a lot of fun. Gracie is obsessed with her age to a point way beyond funny -- into the realm of the truly pathetic, and her character's insecurities seem to track uncomfortably close to the author's, judging by the recent NYT Mag article. Not half as fun as "Maneater," and not half as insightful about Hollywood as anything by Bruce Wagner. Save your money and buy yourself some Botox instead.
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38 of 48 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
Because she is a real-life "Wife Of," Gigi Levangie Grazer has been hailed as the "on the inside" Hollywood chick-litter. Inexplicably, it turns out, because "The Starter Wife" is full of the vapid, name-dropping superficiality that any housewife from Nebraska could dream up.

Gracie is a "Wife Of" -- wealthy, toned, dyed and perfectly preserved, and married to a Hollywood heavyweight with one kid. Until Kenny hits midlife crisis -- he dresses loudly, gets an earring, and then tells Gracie that he wants a divorce. In the dizzying whirlwind of divorce, Gracie finds out that he's having an affair with Britney Spears (presumably in the months before she started slumming it with Kevin Whatsisface).

A concerned pal lends Gracie her Malibu house, so the newly-divorced can get her bearings and life back on track. And as she wanders the California beaches with her gay pal and married neurotic friend, Gracie finds herself desired by not just one but two men -- a handsome homeless man, and Kenny's dissatisfied has-it-all boss. Can she become more than Kenny's "starter wife"?

Okay, it has a different plot -- one that Shar Jackson might find emotional satisfaction in, admittedly. But the core of "The Starter Wife" is yet another thin plot, with a moronic heroine and lots of name-dropping. It's even worse that much of Grazer's name-dropping is out of date -- since this book went to press, Brad and Jen have broken up. So no one's worried about them procreating.

Grazer's lack of inspiration shows through in the storyline itself, which meanders aimlessly between Hollywood-expose cliches and middle-aged-woman-reinvents-self cliches. The writing meanders as well, as if the author is desperately trying to fill up space.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By W. Zollo VINE VOICE on July 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Self-sufficient girl (children's book author) Gracie meets boy (Hollywood exec.) Kenny. Girl marries Boy and waxes (not philosophical), pedicures, implants and straightens and colors her way through almost ten years of marriage. Boy leaves Girl to increase the population of the male mid-life crisis-er. Girl grows up (sort of)?

Right up until the end, Levangie Grazer is on an eccentric and witty roll. Gracie is the queen of the acerbic and flippant one liner. Statements that quite literally had me laughing aloud.

What's a girl to do when she gets dumped via cell phone? (This is grim, though not as dour or provocative as Carrie Bradshaw's infamous post-it-note). Why you carb-out, entrust your scandalmonger friends (a lovely, oh so stereotypical trio, the reader doesn't {or shouldn't} feel cheated by) with your outlandish uncertainties and fall in love with a homeless guy!

The dialogue is shamelessly lit-lite...but it's also gleefully stabbing and clever. Gracie is a one-dimensional character with brilliant dimensions. Kenny barely makes it into the dimished dimensional, non-media magnet set.

The Starter Wife had me fused to its pages until the last two chapters when Grazer pulls the typical tactic of tying up the lose threads. Why start being typical here? I would have loved for those threads to not only remain undone but to have frayed even more and I sense Grazer could have effortlessly pulled this off, if she hadn't backed off.

Well, maybe one can hope for an alternative ending when the paperback comes out?

Still, this was great fun and so worth the ride.
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