Five Hollywood assistants struggle to stay afloat in a shark-tank of arrogant movie stars and cutthroat agents in Williams's capable debut. Michaela is an assistant to fading sitcom actress and pill-popper Victoria Rush, whose husband, Lorne, is 20 years younger and pathologically unfaithful. Griffin is straight but plays it gay to keep his gig with metrosexual Johnny Treadway, a narcissistic agent whose clientele includes hot, wild, 19-year-old Travis Trask. Jed, assistant to power agent Randall Blume, is unceremoniously handed his walking papers, but recovers by stalking the boss's wife, Ashley. Rachel, a recent Texas transplant, takes screenwriting classes and becomes Victoria and Lorne's newest hire. Kecia scarfs Krispy Kremes, deflects the IRS and baby-sits the unmanageable Travis. All the dirt gets dished at the gang's weekly powwows, and just about everyone ends up getting fired-though Michaela fits in a lesbian affair, Jeb finds love and Rachel's debut screenplay, The Sugarland Shuffle, impresses Griffin (and new business partner Travis), who sees it as the springboard for a new company. Williams was a Hollywood assistant herself, so she knows from Hollywood humiliations. Her resilient characters sometimes spin in place too long, but once she steps up the pace, the story becomes deliciously vicious entertainment. Agent, Jessica Papin at Dystel & Goderich. (July) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
In this lively debut novel, five assistants to Hollywood big shots endure crazy escapades, deprecating abuse, and the constant fear that they will be fired at any moment. Gathering together once a week, they commiserate in AA meeting style ("Hi, my name is Rachel and I'm an assistant"). Michaela, a "midget Tai-Bo Barbie" (thanks to tons of plastic surgery) is in her thirties yet still determined to get her big break. Between auditions, she works for Victoria Rush, a hell-raising has-been TV star with a prescription drug addiction. Na ve and clueless Rachel, Victoria's other assistant, is a genuinely good person lost among the soulless of Hollywood. Asexual Griffin is the most ambitious and intelligent of the group, yet he still scurries to spritz his boss with water and open his Capri Suns for him. Jeb has fantasies of massacring his entire office, while Kecia turns to Krispy Kremes for consolation when her hot celebrity boss trashes the house with his crazy, drug-ridden parties. Williams, a UCLA graduate who endured 12 months of Hollywood servitude herself, has written a highly energetic, charming account of the frustration and abuse experienced by the unseen of Hollywood. Fortunately for them and for the reader, she also upholds the notion that good things will happen to truly good people. Highly recommended. Dale Raben, "Library Journal" Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Newcomer Williams draws on her experiences working for Hollywood celebs. The assistants in the title are five young people working in Hollywood for successful agents, managers, and a talented but callow 19-year-old film star who'll replace Leonardo DiCaprio. Michaela Marsh, an aging actress, assists for sitcom diva Victoria Rush, a druggie with two passes at Betty Ford, who at mid-life is likely to have her show, Mid-Life, dropped for low ratings; her husband, Lorne, 20 years younger, is a sex-addict. Muscular Jeb works for top agent and sleaze king Randall Blume-but is soon fired. The black Kecia Christy is Travis's all-purpose gofer and addicted to sweets. Griffin, a straight-passing-as-gay assistant, hopes to make manager and works for A-list manager Johnny Treadway, who feels threatened by heterosexuals. His two clients are Victoria, whom he's thinking of dropping, and Travis Trask, the kid who now gets $20 million a flick. But Travis has been partying for six months, and Johnny is so eager to get him committed to a project that he accepts an idiotic pitch about a meteoroid-disaster movie that doesn't even have a script. Johnny sends Griffin to see Travis about the meteoroid trash, but Griffin tries to get the doped-out Travis to sign for Weinstein/Miramax's The Catcher in the Rye (Holden Caulfield is a werewolf), which Travis dismisses as a baseball picture. Babes in the woods Rachel Burt, a Forrest Gump, and her no-sex roommate Dan are from Sugarland, Texas; she gets hired as an assistant to Victoria and Michaela (who knows that a penis is an actress's best friend). There are more firings, Travis's ex-con brother shows up, and Rachel, who has writerly ambitions, gives Griffin herfabulously rich screenplay, The Sugarland Shuffle, which he uses to start up a company for all the assistants, with Travis on board. Long, slow opening leads to lively pages, romantic closing.