Logan is cousin to the fabulously successful, former teen-sensation pop singer, Kelsey Wade. After spending years estranged from Kelsey and her family, Logan goes to visit Kelsey in LA and ends up taking a position as Kelsey’s personal assistant. Logan is then swept into Kelsey’s crazy world: non-stop tours and interviews, a mother not-so-subtly using Kelsey for her fame and fortune, and a father who controls Kelsey’s career with an iron fist and who will not suffer imperfection. Logan watches while the pressures of living in the public eye and performing to her parents’ standards and the failures of her marriage and parenting send Kelsey on a downward spiral.
If that summary didn’t clue you in, this is a fictional look at the Britney Spears crazytown years. This is pretty much the only reason that I enjoyed this book. I never followed the Britney situation really closely, but whenever a celeb very publicly has a nervous breakdown, it is hard to look away. Same thing with this book: it was hard to look away. I felt so sorry for Kelsey and just wanted to see her come out the other end of things. I wanted her to stand up to her controlling father, say no to her mooching mother, and seize the life she really wanted (though I’m not exactly sure she knew what that was). In that sense, I just had to keep reading to see what happened. I also thought this was a pretty sympathetic examination of a celebrity’s nervous breakdown.
All that said, though, there were some serious flaws in the construction of this story. I don’t know why this book was told from Logan’s point-of-view. A third-person omniscient would have worked much better because, really, this isn’t Logan’s story, it’s Kelsey’s and I don’t think we’d want a limited POV from Kelsey. I mean, maybe the authors didn’t want to come off tabloid-y, but Logan felt unnecessary and her little side adventures (she has a romance with another celeb assistant and she has some relationship issues with her mom) were totally beside the point.
Also, I felt that the plot was sort of invisible here. There wasn’t really a conflict to be resolved or characters being developed or anything. I mean, I guess the plot was celeb goes crazy, let’s watch from the POV of her cousin! As a result, parts of the book dragged, especially the beginning. And finally, there was some choppiness in the writing, some editing errors, and a really sloppily handled big secret (there was pretty much no tension leading up to the reveal… it was a disturbing secret, but I didn’t really care about it since I didn’t know it was coming, if that makes sense.)
While Between You and Me was far from perfect, I don’t really know of any other books that offer an insider look at the drama we all read in celeb gossip rags. And I know I’m not the only one who would like that premise. It was pretty entertaining and I’m sure would make a good beach read, but don’t expect a literary masterpiece here by any means.
6 thoughts on “Between You and Me- McLaughlin and Strauss”
I enjoyed “The Nannie Diaries” but every book McLaughlin and Strauss have released since have felt choppy – like you could really tell they were written by two people instead of one. The premise of this does sound interesting, but I’ll probably skip this one and hope someone else attempts it more successfully.
I just read a review of a book on another site where the base plot is a red carpet perfect Hollywood couple have a sham marriage. He’s a control freak and the “marriage” is a tightly worded 5 year contract. It didn’t get a great review, but again deja vu topic. The title was “Hollywood Sinner” if you’re interested
There is something deeply satisfying about getting to see inside (fictional) celebrity life, but at the same time it seems like a topic that would easily sell books, so why bother trying to write it well? I dunno, part of me loves this sort of thing, but another part of me wonders why I would waste my time on books that are destined to be terrible.
I never read the Nanny Diaries… is it worthwhile?
The Nanny Diaries is good, but can be hard to read in a Devil Wears Prada kind of way – unrealistically demanding boss. But I didn’t feel that one was choppy, it flowed.
I got this book in the mail a couple weeks ago, but it didn’t really float my boat, and thanks to your review, i won’t have to force myself to read it 🙂 on another note, i love that chick on the cover’s eye shadow, it’s like the perfect taupe. ~dixie
Glad to help you decide if this was worth your time! And that is pretty cute eyeshadow… I hadn’t noticed before!
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