The Starter Wife

05Mar09

I can be a book snob…that is definitely a fact known to most everyone. However, sometime recently, I rationalized that even book snobs need a break every now and again.  As a result of this rationalization, I picked up The Starter Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer through paperbackswap.com, figuring, I didn’t have to feel guilty about paying money to read it, especially since I was assuming it was crap.

The basic premise is this:  Gracie Peters Pollock is married to her husband, a semi-high ranking movie producer.  She’s living the Hollywood life but isn’t totally invested in the whole Hollywood experience.  But, because she is who she is (and more importantly she identifies mostly by who she is married to), she’s sort of swept up in the whole life–the personal upkeep, the gigantic house, the staff of cooks and maids, and the hot evenings out at Ivy.  All this comes crashing down when Gracie is dumped by her husband, Kenny, a complete and utter douche.

The Starter Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer

The Starter Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer

Gracie learns that anything she had going for herself in the Hollywood scene–including her friendships–abruptly stops as soon as her husband announces their divorce.  She flees her house and heads straight to Malibu, where her best friend lets her stay to perform a little “marriage rehab” on herself.


Of course, wackiness ensues, and the reader is introduced to a few non-L.A. types–all friends of Gracie.  The reader navigates her singlehood with her, as Gracie realizes that her independence is actually a GOOD thing, as she likes being more “real” than her old self.  She is even able to find a few unexpected allies, including her husband’s mentor/boss, and a sexy swarthy stranger.

That’s the quick version of the synopsis.  Here’s what I thought of The Starter Wife:  Honestly, I AM glad that I didn’t purchase it.  I would have felt kind of bad spending money on something so indulgent, unlike the characters who are pretty comfortable dropping Benjamins on dinners out at Nobu.  That being said, I was pleasantly surprised that the book wasn’t total crap. It was funny (and a little biting) in parts, and definitely smart in that “I’m an insider in Hollywood” way. (The author, Gigi Levangie Grazer is married to Brian Grazer.  They have four kids.  I’m not sure what her starter wife status is.)  I really did like Gracie, honestly THROUGHOUT the book, and truly felt excited for her when she got her happy ending.  I also felt fully satisfied that her husband, the douche, did NOT get a happy ending, but really, I knew it was coming, even before I picked up the book.

I think the surprising thing about this book is how well the minor characters were written. Lavender (a guard in the Malibu Colony where Gracie stays), Kenny (the douche-husband), Lou (his mentor) and Joan (the boozy Malibu friend) were all extremely interesting and funny. I never truly got a handle on Sam, Gracie’s sexy stranger, but I think that that was sort of the point.  He does play an integral part in her happy ending, and so I wish I knew a little more, but you know…whatever.  It’s chicklit.  I expect myself to be a little more forgiving.

Would I read another book by this author? Likely, no. I probably have had my fill of bubblegum for the brain for a while, but it was a fun fling while it lasted.  I will likely watch the miniseries, though, on Netflix.  I am not known for my exceptionally discerning tastes for all television.  (Let’s be honest, I watch The Girls Next Door).
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