Pan, £5.99, ISBN 0-330-48795-7
Contemporary Fiction, 2002
Claudia Pattison’s Fame Game is a disappointing, typical divorce porn story mixed with a Hello!-friendly “Celebrity sucks, it’s so much cooler to be normal” theme. The story is well-written and engaging, but really, it’s such an uninspired rehash of an overdone plot.
Thea Carson is a happy, simple, loving housewife of a rock star, Toby. Toby’s a jerk. I can see he’s a jerk. Everybody can see he’s a jerk. But Thea can’t. Then again, she’s a chick lit heroine, so hey, do carry on. So the first half of this book has Thea blundering around trying to get her husband to behave. The husband turns out to be having an affair with a MTV VJ – can we say “the last to know”? – and she ditches him, takes him back, gets burned again, and we get the obligatory “fame sucks, everything sucks, I’m just happy to be normal and happy, but you people, don’t stop buying tabloids, okay? Celebrity sucks, but it’s cool to dream of being like, you know, Princess Di without the car crash thing and evil princes with big ears and queens with bigger noses and worse memories and kleptomaniac gay butlers and… um, where was I?” power statement.
There are some cute moments, but they all come from characters appointed as villains by this author. Thea is cooing about babies and all, and a celebrity wife comments yes, a baby would have doubled the alimony one would have received from an ex-husband.
But Toby is so much a jerk with very little redeeming features that I can’t muster any sympathy for Thea, especially when she is still eating out of his hands near to the end of the story. Likewise, there is a ridiculous anti-in vitro fertilization heavy-handedness in this story that irritates me no end, mostly because I am hard pressed to believe that a practising pro-choicer like Thea will be hysterically, insanely opposed to that. Then again, Thea is an idiot.
Claudia Pattison’s last book Wow! is a satire, or at least it tries to be. Well, maybe her ex-reporter colleagues beat her in the head with their notepads after the publication of that book or something, because in this book, Thea is the spokesperson for Want Not Fame, People, Be Content with Your Mediocrity propaganda. What happened to satire? Thea with her money and body and fame telling me that it’s okay to be stuck in middle-management forever, that’s like Britney Spears telling me to stop using Kazaa because look, poor baby is losing a few dollars for her next boob job. Cry me a river.