Carrie Gerlach, Author, Carrie Cecil, Author . Morrow $23.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-059424-4

A 30-year-old publicist tired of "hollow independence" desperately seeks a husband in the cutthroat, image-conscious world of Hollywood stardom's fringe. Gerlach's energetic but familiar debut stars lovelorn Emily Sanders, who's likable enough but lacks the charisma and depth to help her story stand out in a sea of books targeting other "SSWs" ("single, successful women"). Emily begins therapy with Dr. Deperno (she has to love herself before she can find a man to love her), but best girlfriends Reilly and Grace and loving dog Sam provide more support as Dr. D pushes her to write top-10 lists for why her exes have been the wrong men. First-timer Gerlach offers some incisive passages about Hollywood's lower rungs, but she also uses wardrobes and jobs as shorthand for personality, which make her characters read like caricatures. Bad boy number one, for instance, is David Jenkins, the powerful president of Emily's company; he has a Hugo Boss suit, a Mercedes and strong arms, and not surprisingly, he turns out to be a career-driven womanizer. Emily's conservative guidelines for female behavior hearken back to the Rules and include platitudes like "no sex equals calls." Gerlach has a handle on the "hack-n-flack" relationship that fuels celebrity culture, but this book, while offering intermittent guilty pleasures, brings little that's fresh to the single-girl genre. Agent, Alan Nevins at the Firm . (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 06/14/2004
Release date: 08/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-06-203614-8
Paperback - 266 pages - 978-0-06-059425-1
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