Lady Cordelia #CBR5 Review #62: American Dream Machine by Matthew Specktor

imagesI really wish I could remember who recommended this book to me… so I could go back to them now and ask them what the hell they were thinking.  From the blurb I thought this sounded like it could be an interesting, insider story of the movie business: Nate Rosenwald is a privileged child of Hollywood.  His father, Beau, was a partner in the most fashionable talent agency in LA in the 70s and 80s.  Of course, there is an inevitable fall as times change, and Nate has to figure out who he is and where his own life is leading.

This is an odd book.  Ostensibly it is the story of Beau, Nate’s father, but it is all narrated by Nate, a device that really didn’t work for me.  Nate never had a particularly close relationship with his father, so how does it make any kind of sense that he be narrating the minutiae of Beau’s early days? Did he inexplicably become some kind of forensic journalist?  Also, the chapters where Nate is talking about his own life gave me lukewarm Less Than Zero flashbacks – privileged club kids of the 80s taking drugs and going to clubs.  Yawn.

Frankly, I wish I’d listened to my gut instinct to stop reading on page 16, when Nate is talking about eating breakfast with his friends:

The air hung still with the smell of browned butter.  Outside the day was clear and palmy.  And we had nothing to fill it with except our twenty-three-year-olds’ dreams.

I accept full responsibility – the fact I chose to keep reading after that corker is a clear sign that I deserved everything I got.

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