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Deep Thoughts from a Hollywood Blonde [Hardcover]

Jennie Garth

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.6 out of 5 stars  83 reviews
74 of 81 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I hate to do this 7 Mar 2014
By Emily - Published on
Writing this review kills me in a way because I am a HUGE "90210" and Jennie Garth fan, but I was sadly unimpressed with this book and feel compelled to make potential readers aware. I understand the courage it takes to tell your story, and I commend Jennie for putting herself out there, but unfortunately this memoir was haphazardly put together, and as a result, the reader suffers. I actually found myself wondering why co-writer Emily Heckman failed to put this story into a cohesive narrative by the time I got to chapter four. As the assumed professional writer, she is the one I hold most responsible.

As previous reviewers have mentioned, there are basic and jarring fact checking errors regarding "90210" that I can't find any excuse for. When you know that your readers are largely huge fans of the show, getting the high school name wrong (repeatedly referring to it as "Beverly High School" instead of "West Beverly") and claiming that Kelly Taylor was in high school at the end of season 7 ("the gang" graduates college in this season's finale) makes the story surrounding her experiences sound ridiculous. She mentions that it was hard playing an "angsty teen" while she was pregnant, and I suppose this would be hard except that it didn't happen- the Kelly character was already 22 by this point. She also references Luke joining the show in the summer of 1991 when he actually began his run on "90210" in season 1, episode 2.

Putting hiccups on "90210" trivia aside, the overall content of this story leaves something to be desired. On the "90210," section, Jennie talks at length about the decor and color of her dressing room. Sadly, that's also the only new information she provides about the show. Other "behind the scenes" stories have all been told countless times: the jet ski accident, the binaca incident, shooting in gritty Van Nuys, her admission that she was initially rude to Tiffani (yet quizzically ommitting any direct mention of their subsequent fall-out), the "red dress controversy," her brush with agoraphobia... if you've followed the show at all, you've heard this all before. And if you haven't followed the show, I would imagine it might be hard to follow her recollections of the show since they include plenty of vagueness and innuendo. For instance, she refers to Shannen at one point as "one girl who was wearing black." Just say "Shannen." It's been 20 years.

I believe Jennie is someone with a sweet spirit, and my favorite part of the book is about her childhood, growing up on a farm in Illinois which she successfully describes as an idyllic upbringing. After that, the timeline takes a nose-dive, jumping around in chronological order, and becoming very fuzzy on the details. I could read one chapter fifty times and still not have a clear sense as to which family members moved with her to Arizona even though she cites this relocation, having to leave some family members behind, as life changing. It doesn't help that she also gets years and ages wrong, persistently comparing her time working on "90210" to life in a normal high school, implying that she and the other actors were of high school age at the time...(she and Shannen were 18 & 19 when they started working on "90210" and Jason was 21).

"90210" aside, I'm confused with how the writers and editors decided which stories would make this book. Early on, there is an entire chapter dedicated to her habit of zoning out in business meetings that makes very little sense and isn't connected to the rest of the narrative. There is another chapter about kombucha that is supposed to be funny but isn't and doesn't have anything to do with the rest of the story either. She glosses over big details (her first marriage and divorce is covered in what feels like 100 words) yet continues on for paragraphs with one analogy after another describing life in general: "putting the oxygen on yourself before helping others is what it's like raising kids" and hundreds more just like that. Novel adjectives ("badass" among others) are funny the first times they're used but lose their punches when repeated two paragraphs later. A professional editor should know to look for this kind of thing, yet these rooky mistakes are pervasive throughout the book.

I am critical of the book, but I feel compassion for Jennie and again blame co-writer Emily Heckman and the editors for schlocking this story together and pasting the actress' face on the cover. She's an actress, not a writer, and someone should've more closely monitored the final product. The chapter about her father's death is heartbreakingly personal and touching, and it's too bad this tone isn't consistent throughout.

As her father is deceased and wasn't in the public eye, I almost get the sense that she feels free to discuss him whereas she obviously holds back when referring to her co-workers and Peter. This hesitancy is certainly understandable (and I know Peter is the father of her children), but when you're asking people to shell out $25.00 to read your story, you do owe them at least their money's worth. I'm not suggesting that she should've done a racy tell-all, but the descriptions of her experiences going through divorce are filled with stock examples of being sad and depressed without much true candor or emotion. Overall, I'm left trying to figure out which type of book the writers were attempting to achieve: it's not a well-written personal account like Carole Radziwill's "What Remains;" it's not a funny book of essays or narratives ala Chelsea Handler or Tina Fey; and it's not an advice book like Jessica Alba's "The Honest Life." Instead, it teeters uneasily between the three styles, never quite hitting any of them.

For "90210" fans, I recommend "Stori Telling" by Tori Spelling as an alternative. I love Jennie, but for the typical reader "Hollywood Blonde" is truly hard to stick with, and Jennie lacks the natural sense of humor that comes so easily to Tori (to her credit though, Jennie acknowledges in the book that she isn't funny). One thing I've always noticed and admired about Jennie is that her three girls all seem to be the sweetest and most loving children imaginable so maybe a self-help book on motherhood is more up her alley. She's definitely doing something right, unfortunately though, it just isn't showcased here. However as always, I do look forward to her next project!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars She seems confused about a lot of things. 13 April 2014
By grounden1985 - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I bought this mainly to get some behind-the-scenes dirt on what happened on the set of Beverly Hills, 90210, as it was the first show I watched religiously as a teenager in the 1990s.

But Jennie seems very...confused...about the timeline of certain things regarding the show, and it makes me wonder if she's "all there."

For example, she talks about how the show's producers decided to do a summer season of the show at the beginning of season two, which is true, but she goes on to mention that they made a brilliant decision in bringing on a new character named Dylan (played by Luke Perry) to be the "rebel" of the show in a short arc. The problem is that Dylan was introduced in the second episode of the first season...certainly not season two.

She also spends some time talking about her first pregnancy and how the producers decided to hide it because they didn't want her character to be the poster child for underage pregnancy, despite the fact that at this point in time her character was no longer underage in the show. Then she talks about shooting one of the season finales and trying to hide her baby bump. She mentions how weird it was to still be playing a high school girl while pregnant, and mentions this was around the seventh or eighth season of the show. Um, the seventh or eighth season, your character had been out of high school for four years. Remember, you kind of all graduated at the end of season three? The characters were graduating college by the end of the seventh season, and yet she mentions she was still playing a high school girl.

It's little details like this that irked me about the book. She seems not very well-informed on the very show she starred in for 10 years, and it makes me wonder if she is remembering everything else clearly or not.

She also mentions just showing up to work one day to find her co-star Shannen Doherty no longer there. She acts like this was a complete mystery to her, and indeed her wording of Doherty's exit from the show makes it sound like she was literally there on set one day and gone the next with no explanation. Jennie acts like she had no idea what happened to her and proceeds to talk about how she took over her old dressing room. Well, Shannen Doherty left the show at the end of the fourth season after the finale was filmed, so there was actually a pretty long hiatus between the finale and the beginning of filming for season five, so how exactly was Doherty there one day and gone the next? Either Jennie's memory is worse than I imagined, or she is trying to act like she had no knowledge of Doherty exiting the show prior to actually showing up on set and realizing she was gone, which, I'm sorry, is total crap. There is no way the producers or writers did not mention to her that Doherty would not be returning to the show, especially considering the whole world knew about it at this point. Come on, Jennie.

I give her applause for admitting she wasn't always the easiest person to get along with on set, and she specifically mentions being a bitch to Tiffani Thiessen in the beginning despite making amends as the show went on.

All in all, it was nice to get some backstory on the goings-on of the show, but Jennie's confusion about certain things really hampered my enjoyment of this memoir a lot.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, boring 30 Mar 2014
By Kelly - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Was expecting more out of his book. Not much insight or even gossip about her career, co stars or marriage. Tori spellings book was much better.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 13 April 2014
By Anonymous - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love Jennie, but this book was so vague, I don't know why she bothered writing it. What a bummer.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It just... 11 April 2014
By Jami Griffiths - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Could have been better. timing inconsistencies and very little insight for what's labeled as a memoir. however. I do wish her well.
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