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Last Night at Chateau Marmont
on 25 September 2010
Brooke Alter has been married to Julian Alter for five years and their relationship is going great. Julian is a struggling musician, desperate to someday make it big in the music world, while Brooke works two jobs to make sure Julian can carry on making his music. When Julian finally gets the chance to make an album, neither Brooke nor Julian expect just how much their life will change when Julian's album gets the go-ahead, closely followed by trips to L.A and hotel stays in the Chateau Marmont, tours across America and more chat show appearances then you can shake a stick at. Suddenly, Brooke's world and everything she's known is turned upside down as the bad side of celebrity begins to show and Brooke and Julian are suddenly hounded by paparazzi and journalists. When a compromising photo surfaces, Brooke and Julian's marriage is put to the ultimate test, but will they be able to get over what happened that night at Chateau Marmont? And is this new lifestyle really the one Brooke wants?
Last Night at Chateau Marmont is a bit different to most celebrity/fame inspired stories you find in usual Chick Lit novels. For starters, it doesn't paint `celebrity' in the most inspiring light, giving a real and proper look into what fame can do to a couple and secondly, Brooke and Julian aren't people you would expect to become celebrities, not Brooke anyway, and the culture shock she experiences when it turns out that she and Julian are becoming celebrities makes for fascinating reading, because it's a fish out of water experience, as they both come to terms with the fact Julian has indeed made it as a musician after many many years of trying. I don't know how much research Weisberger put into the novel, but she manages to write the Alters' rise to fame very well.
Another surprising factor is that this book isn't about finding love, as Julian and Brooke have been happily married for five years, so the book is more about the celebrity side of things rather than being focused on someone finding `The One'. That's not to say Brooke and Julian don't have troubles as a couple, because they do, even more so when Julian becomes a rock star and has to fly to LA regularly, leaving Brooke behind as she's reluctant to quit her two jobs as she loves both of them. It certainly begins to put a strain on their marriage and then when some compromising photos appear, shot at the infamous Chateau Marmont, it looks as though it may all fall apart for the pair. I liked how their relationship was portrayed, that they did love each other, but that everything that was happening was pulling them in two separate directions. I wasn't completely sure how their marriage would pan out, whether they'd be able to survive everything that happens to them, but I know I wanted them to pull through because, despite everything, Brooke and Julian seem perfect for each other.
Last Night at Chateau Marmont is written really well by Weisberger, and I can't understand why everyone says she's a one-book-pony (if you will) and can't write for toffee because I found the book absorbing and I could barely put the book down once I got into it. The only qualms I had about the novel was the use of the word "baby" which always drives me bananas when used as a term of endearment and the fact that when articles begin appearing in Last Night (a celebrity magazine) quoted from "sources close to Brooke and Julian", we don't actually find out who that was. I have an idea, but there's no real confirmation. Apart from that qualm, I felt everything was tied up nicely and I thought the ending was fantastic. I'm definitely going to be reading Lauren's other novels as she clearly can write a good story and I thoroughly enjoyed Last Night at Chateau Marmont and would recommend it to anyone looking for an easy way to spend an afternoon or evening.