Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Star Book Review: Last Night At Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger (Audio); Narrated by Merritt Wever

     I know this is probably going to sound a little bit backwards to a lot of Lauren Weisberger fans out there but the very first book I read by LW was Everyone Worth Knowing. When I first picked it up, I wasn’t sure if I could get into it – it talked about nightclubs and the drug scene and I wasn’t sure this was going to be an author for me, but by the book’s end, something about the way Ms. Weisberger depicted her characters and scenes had me hooked. Later, I saw the Hollywood movie version of her first novel, The Devil Wears Prada. With a stunning A-List cast, the movie entertained and became a favorite of mine in the chick lit genre of movie pictures and films. Finally this past fall, I listened to the unabridged audio version of The Devil Wears Prada and I must say – I was blown away by its originality. From its fairy tale plot, to its invigorating writing and its articulate narration, I gave this production a 5 Star Review.

     Now, to no surprise of mine, I found Lauren Weisberger has done it again with her latest release, Last Night at Chateau Marmont. Her newest novel can be described as nothing less than “Fabulous!” Brooke and Julian Alter appear to be the perfect down-to-Earth couple that you’d love to go out to dinner with or live next door to. Young and in love, they were quickly swept away by each other in a fairy-tale type of romance and married shortly thereafter. Aside from each other, Brooke and Julian also share a love for their careers, both working extremely hard in their respective professions, Brooke as a nutritionist at a local hospital and young girls’ Private school and Julian as a musician. Barely a year into their marriage, it seems nothing can come between the two young lovers until one night, after an invitation to perform on The Tonight Show, everything that seems right and sane in their world is turned upside down. Julian’s status quickly changes from a struggling musician to a successful artist with a household name who’s known worldwide. Now Julian’s schedule demands his presence from coast to coast and the paparazzi are there for every beat. Brooke can’t escape the scrutiny; she’s either criticized for being there too much or too little for her husband. Torn between two worlds, Julian and Brooke’s marriage begins to look like anything but a perfect relationship. Has the instant celebrity and stardom brought their relationship to a point of no return? Will fame and money affect Julian’s faith and devotion to his wife? Has the constant traveling along with an otherwise MIA husband changed Brooke’s vision of their future? Listen to hear if Brooke and Julian survive the turbulent roller coaster ride that Julian’s sudden rise to stardom has taken them on.

     Newcomer, Merritt Wever, narrated in a believable, expressive fashion that sounded consistent and appropriate with what I imagined the characters might sound like. The varied emotions emanating from her tone and speech in various characters and scenes, made for the perfect dramatic effect. She really made me feel a part of every scene. I found myself imagining what my life would be like if it were suddenly taken over by the paparazzi and had taken my husband (or boyfriend) with them. Would I leave my life behind to attend every show, every performance and every media taping to be at his side? Would are love life slip further and further away as our lives made different turns and angles with each passing day? Would I be set up and decimated by the media as they so easily seem to do to people once they are surrounded by all the money and flashing lights? I’d like to think that I could balance our life out but I think Lauren Weisberger and Merit Wever captured the impossibility of it all in this audio edition of Last Night at Chateau Marmont. I look forward to hearing more from the talented duo of voice and writer.

     Based on its plot, narration and writing style, I would definitely recommend this audio book to music lovers, celebrity aficionados, chick lit fans and audio listeners alike.

STAR RATING: 4 STARS

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