From Publishers Weekly
Alternately brilliant and cluttered, this baroque third volume of Wagner's loose Hollywood trilogy (following the much-praised I'm Losing You and I'll Let You Go), moves along in fits and starts, crammed with celebrity cameos and sharp social commentary. The fable follows the workaday, neurotically self-absorbed lives of wannabe actress Becca, who hires out for trade shows as a Drew Barrymore look-alike, and Lisanne, a pathetically overweight secretary who, because of her morbid fear of flying, takes the Amtrak back home to Albany, arriving minutes too late to say good-bye to her dying father. These two women find their lives inexorably shaped by the karma of 34-year-old movie icon Kit Lightfoot (People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive"), a Buddhist who has meditated every day for almost 13 years. Lisanne returns to L.A. pregnant after a one-night stand with her high school flame. Slowly withdrawing deeper into neurosis, she becomes obsessed with Buddhism after her boss sends her to deliver a mandala to Kit. Suffering a severely debilitating brain injury when a disgruntled autograph hunter hits him in the head with a bottle, rich Kit is, poetically, nursed back to health by his grasping father. Ambitious Becca is hired as a cameo corpse on HBO's Six Feet Under and winds up girl Friday to TV sitcom queen Viv, Kit's fiance, who is shacking up with Kit's best pal. The irony verges on the farcical as Kit struggles to get his life back and the identity of his attacker is revealed. Though Wagner packs his twists too tight, leaving the reader gasping for air, this convoluted chiaroscuro offers probing insights into the human condition.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
It's all here: the sleaze and the smut, the gossip and the glamour, the hype and the hypocrisy that is Hollywood. In the final installment of his cell-phone-phrase titled entertainment-industry trilogy [I'll Let You Go
(2001) and I'm Losing You
(1996)], Wagner continues to viciously satirize life in "la la land," equally deriding the hangers-on and the heavy hitters with biting scorn and gritty cynicism. Megastar, sex symbol, and penitent Buddhist poster-boy Kit Lightfoot is attacked by a delusional fan, suffering brain damage that threatens to either derail or jump-start his languishing career. Weaving a circuitous storyline befitting a multi-installment miniseries, Wagner connects Lightfoot's illness and recovery with the desperate ambition of celebrity look-alikes and the pathetic devotion of die-hard fans, thus fully lambasting Hollywood's vulgar excesses and egregious vacuity. In a scathingly caustic, salaciously crude, and sardonically campy morality tale depicting the emotional bankruptcy inherent in a self-absorbed and fame-obsessed Hollywood subculture, Wagner limns an over-the-top expose of that shallow society's most exploitative bottom-feeders. Carol HaggasCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved