Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Starter Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer *****

The Starter Wife by Gigi Grazer appears to be a novel fashion and gossip set in the Malibu Colony (near the intersection of Malibu Canyon and Pacific Coast Highway). Readers looking for local color, hip dialogue, and Hollywood gossip will not be disappointed. However, Grazer also delivers genuine characters dealing with the life changes that come with age, changes universal beyond the cliches and stereotypes of Hollywood's cult of youth with its emphasis on maintaining a young appearance at all costs.

The story centers around Gracie, in her early forties, who is being divorced by her movie producer husband, and her two friends, Will who is gay, and Joan who is married to a rich, geriatric husband.

In between dealing with the challenges of age, clever dialogue provides comic relief.
"They're called Ugg boots," Gracie said, "because they're ugly and they're called boots. And Mommy needs to get a pair. We're living in Malibu now, Jaden. It's the law."
"You want to have dinner tomorrow night?" Lou asked.
Gracie just looked at him. "I usually have dinner every night."
On a more serious note, Gracie's friend Joan is being divorced by her geriatric husband. Both women are around forty. Her husband, previously thought to be closer to the grave than not, is leaving Joan for another woman.
"Someone older," Joan said, choking.
"How much older?" Gracie asked.
"She's seventy," Joan said. "How'm I supposed to compete with that?"
While this book is an easy read, light and breezy, with plenty of humor, it also explores the effects of age on all of us. Thus, it reaches beyond the trite stories of Hollywood to more universal truths of the limitations and compromises everyone must address as the years add up.

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