Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Murder at the Academy Awards, Joan Rivers

Posted by lea at 11:50 AM
Author R for the Great Library Challenge.

I've been somewhat fascinated by Joan Rivers since reading all the profiles and reviews that came in the wake of the documentary, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work. What's most fascinating is that she's so candid about her desperation to be the centre of attention in Hollywood and her shameless antics for staying there.

With a career that literally spans decades in front of the camera, Ms Rivers has turned her hand to writing and along with Jerrilyn Farmer (the author of the Madeline Bean culinary mystery series) penned this novel, which I vaguely understand may be turned into a series.

In Murder at the Academy Awards, the protagonist Maxine Taylor is the extremely-thin veiled literary doppelganger of Rivers herself. She and her daughter Drew do what Rivers and her daughter Melissa do in real life: stalk celebrities on the red carpet for interviews as they head into the Academy Awards ceremony.

The mystery begins when one of Hollywood's brightest young starlets, who also happens to have been a close school friend of Drew's, drops dead on the red carpet mid-interview with Max Taylor. Very soon, Max is on the chase, using her wiles to enter rehab under false pretences and crash glamorous parties to find the murderer and clear her daughter's name.

It's an easy to read, light-hearted romp that basically expounds the cleverness of Max Taylor and her love for her daughter Drew. However, Rivers' sharp wit doesn't translate that well in written form, and many of the gags seem rather belaboured. It's all in the name of fun though, and if you can wade through the heavy name dropping and you don't mind the re-imagining of Hollywood with Rivers and her daughter as the nucleus, you may enjoy it.

Here's an interview with Rivers from Amazon editorial:

Q: What kinds of books do you enjoy?
A: At my age, anything in large print.

Q: Is it true when they say that you should “write what you know”?
A: Absolutely, which is why my next book is about having thighs that are visible from outer space.

Q: What is it like having a novel published at the age of 75?
A: I am so old, even the spine of my book has osteoporosis.

Q: Computer, typewriter or pen and paper. What tools did you use to write your first book? 
A: Chisel and stone.

Q: Are you one of those writers who work at home in a dirty old bathrobe without showering for days? 
A: Yes, except for the part about working at home.

Q: What’s the first step in getting a publisher interested in your book?
A: A check for fifty grand made out to “cash”.


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