Glamourpuss - Christian McLaughlin
I choose this book because of the wildly differing reviews on Amazon. Thereís nothing like a hint of controversy to spice up your reading. I was either going to be reading a wonderful, spicy, funny tale of doomed love, or a crappy piece of badly written trash. Iím very happy to say that it was the first!
This really is an incredibly entertaining book, which works on many levels. It is a story of doomed romance, told in the wonderfully funny voice of Alex, an actor on a dreadful American daytime soap. At college, he met and fell in love with a fellow student, Nick. Itís one of those loves that doesnít come along very often: all-consuming, making you act wildly out of character, forming your character. Alex tells the story in flashbacks, and he is his own harshest critic. He knows heís acting shamelessly, but he just canít help himself, for Nick is already ďmarriedĒ. Heís in a long-term relationship with Barney and not about to give this up however much Alex tries to make him. The really funny thing about this book is that itís all first person, so we only get to see Nick and Barney through Alexís eyes. Itís a study in narcissism, and had me laughing out loud in parts. I so identified with Alex and desperately wanted things to work out for him.
The other part of the book, which is equally funny and well written is the story of Alexís life on the soap. Nothing in Alexís life, however bizarre it gets at times, can compare with his deadpan asides about the plots and scripts of his show ďHearts CrossingĒ. Life and ďartĒ begin to blur when Alex is accidentally ďoutedĒ kissing his boyfriend, Trevor, at the airport, (yes, heís totally in love with Nick, but a man has needs!). The soap doesnít fire him; it turns his character gay! So, Alex becomes the first openly gay character in daytime soap. Youíd think the gay lobby would be pleased. Alexís character, Simon, however, is the evil Simon: a devious, manipulative bad guy. They take objection to the juxtaposition of gay and bad and begin to create waves. The moral majority attack him, too, and add to this a crazed former fan and a dangerous stalker, and Alexís life begins to resemble a soap!
The cover of this book, yet again, does it no favours. This is a very clever, very funny, utterly captivating book. Highly recommended.
This book is delightful.† Light and frothy, yes, but extremely well written and hugely entertaining, with characters so agreeable you want to take home to dinner.† Well, Alex Young, the 20 something narrator, Iíd rather do naughty things with but given heís definitely gay, thatís sadly out of the question; but Iíll settle for best friends, like Madonna and Rupert Everett.† Heís good company, funny and smart, devastatingly handsome, charmingly sweet, self-effacingÖa bit naÔve, perhaps.†
Alex lives in LA, where he appears on a trashy daytime soap.† Heís just been made a recurring character, regular, well-paid work.† Hoping for that big break thatíll lead to a career as a Ďproperí actor.† For professional reasons Alex is in the closet.† This is the early 90s.† Long before QAF, Will & Grace, Queer Eye, etc.† Even now itís rare for gay actors to be out, and if they are they wonít be offered leading man roles.† The moral right endlessly fights positive onscreen portrayals of gay love, achieving success through orchestrated campaigns of hate.† Fans are fickle and potentially dangerous homophobes. These issues arenít shirked, despite the feelgood nature of the book.† So, charm with substance.
Alexís new life appears to have everything he dreamed of.† But he canít forget first (only) love, Nick.† Left back home in Texas as Alex follows his chosen path. Alex is a romantic.† He believes in Mr Right.† And thatís Nick, love god lawyer with movie idol looks.† Sadly, heís firmly attached to odious Barney- misplaced obligation, fear of real emotional commitment.†
Alex tries to play the field, but his heart isnít in it.† Sexy stud Trevor, another aspiring actor, is the closest he gets to a boyfriend, but heís an emotionally immature pretty boy.† They meet for hot sex whenever the urge gets too much. Basically, Alex doesnít want to cheat on Nick.† So, unless he can get him out of system, or persuade him to leave Barney heís doomed to loveless, lonely existence.† Not that he mopes or whines, far from it. His livelihood depends on maintaining physical perfection so he can be a tad self-obsessed but in a nice way, and he definitely isnít shallow.†
Cleverly revealed through flashback, we get the nitty gritty on Alexí Ďadulterousí affair with Nick, why one is in LA nursing unrequited passion and the other in Austin, stuck in a relationship long past its sell-by date.† Both of them gorgeous and adorable and just right for each other.† Before Iíd read more than a page or two I was desperate for Alex to get his man.† Thereís plenty of between-the-sheets activity to whet the appetite for lust, beautifully described, erotic and sensual and very hot.† McLaughlin is a class act.†
The book is very readable, well plotted so the pace never flags.† Alexí experience of minor celebrity as a soap star causes complications that threaten to ruin his career.† The heart of the novel is a romantic tale of lost love and poignant longing.† Characters are well developed, the dialogue sparkles with wit and humour and real human feeling.† The TV land backdrop has the authenticity of real life experience.† I canít recommend the book too highly.† If only more romance novels were this good.
Published by Plume Books. ISBN: 0452272653
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