4% Famous

Deborah Schoeneman, Author . Random/Shaye Areheart $21.95 (269p) ISBN 978-0-307-23746-0

Schoeneman (of New York magazine) writes a fast-paced, seductive first novel that follows three gossip columnists immersed in the chaos of Manhattan celebrity life. When 22-year-old Kate Simon takes a job at the New York Examiner , her college roommate, "Zoe Miller of Fifth Avenue," becomes a welcome resource, as do fellow columnists Tim Mack and Blake Bradley. As Kate adjusts to a world where she and her colleagues "get paid to be the last ones standing" at celebrity shindigs and good press is exchanged for free goods, she reveals herself as neither an ingenue nor a socialite, but an endearing outsider looking "to succeed at gossip enough that she'll be able to get out of it." Her public snafus provide laughs without turning her into a clown, and her colleagues avoid easy caricature as well, as Tim has to face the "mattress" (that's a model/actress) he's impregnated and Blake deals with his disapproving father, whom he must help out of a tax scandal. It's to Shoeneman's credit that there are few happy endings, giving the proceedings a tone several shades darker than similar media-girl-in-the-city stories. This is an unforgiving portrait of fame from the underlings' point of view with Schoeneman the Bret Easton Ellis of chick lit. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/27/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
Ebook - 193 pages - 978-0-307-34585-1
Paperback - 269 pages - 978-0-307-23747-7
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