cover image Diary of a South Beach Party Girl

Diary of a South Beach Party Girl

Gwen Cooper, Author . Simon Spotlight $22.95 (323p) ISBN 978-1-4169-4089-0

In her debut novel, former party girl Cooper smartly focuses on the fringe freaks who fueled the nightlife in the nauseatingly hip late 1990s South Beach: über-publicist Ricky Pascal, petulant heiress Amy, sexy felon John Hood and a host of bar workers and bar hoppers who hobnob with the rich even as they scramble to make their own rent. Rachel Baum—poet, aspiring publicist and hard-partying diva—narrates the frenetic scene from a prime VIP-room seat. The air kissing, photo-ops and drug-and-liquor indulging is the price of admission to the much more subtle seduction of Rachel and her entourage. "South Beach was a town in the business of seduction," Rachel notes. "Sometimes the sheer, overwhelming beauty of the place and its inhabitants was so sharp, it was almost painful." Rachel's love affair with the South Beach party scene ends when her search for "stability versus chaos" takes precedence over the addictive charm of a community that so readily forgives and forgets every destructive bender she (and everyone else) goes on. But it hardly matters: South Beach—and all of its neon-vodka-narcotic glamour—is a much better draw than the predictable mellowing of a party chick. (Apr.)