July 1, 2008

Psychotic Review: Hollywood Car Wash by Lori Culwell

Having just returned from a beach vacation, I needed to read something that was fun, frivolous and light. "Hollywood Car Wash" was just the ticket.

Written by Lori Culwell after living in Los Angeles and hearing a multitude of stories from her friends in the industry, "Wash" is the story of college student Amy Spencer, who is plucked out of anonymity at age 19, to helm a new WB/CW-type teen soap, as the lead "Autumn". At first thrilled at the opportunity, the money and riches, the connections and the spectacular freebies and perks she gets, she quickly begins to sour on the lifestyle when, in rapid succession, she is given a name change (Amy Spencer is too Midwestern; Star Spencer is much more Hollywood); told she needs to lose 20 pounds, as everyone who is anyone in Hollywood is a size zero; given pills to help facilitate a rapid weight loss; sent for colonic cleanses; encouraged to diet unhealthily; had her hair bleached and extended; had her teeth surgically removed so that veneers can be put in; had her nose "modified", her tummy tucked, and her cheekbones filled out. She also finds out that dating Hollywood's biggest action star, with the assistance of a contract, is not everything it's cracked up to be.

I'll admit that I only picked up this book because of the rumors last summer and fall that the lead character was loosely based on Katie Holmes, complete with an arranged hookup with a renowned major Hollywood player. And I'll also admit that I could easily mentally imagine Katie Holmes herself when reading "Wash". At least the portions of the book where it didn't discuss that character Amy/Star was actually very talented and wanted more out of her career than just fame and notoriety. Reading about Amy/Star's delight over shopping and the many perks she received, along with the celebrities she got to meet, gave me a firm mental picture of Katie Holmes, squeeing over meeting David Beckham and taking possession of Tom Cruise's black AmEx card.

That being said, "Wash" is a light and fluffy read, clocking in at 248 pages, making it neither too taxing mentally or taking up too much weight in your beach bag.

Rumored to be first in a series, I look forward to Ms. Culwell's future efforts and recommend "Wash" as the perfect beach read.

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