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The Assistants: A Novelby Robin Lynn Williams
Synopses & Reviews
In this wicked, laugh-out-loud debut novel, five miserable souls struggle to make their mark on Hollywood, the city of the soulless. Rachel Burt, starry-eyed and clueless, has left behind tiny Sugarland, Texas, and her position as Starbucks employee of the month, to pursue her dreams of becoming a screenwriter. The madness begins when she eagerly accepts a position as assistant to Victoria Rush, an aging television diva with "a little pill-popping problem that two tours of duty at Betty Ford couldn't remedy."
Rachel learns the ropes from Michaela Marsh, a never-say-die, plastic-surgery perfect "midget Tai-Bo Barbie." Michaela has spent years (and years and years: she is — gasp — over thirty!) trying to break into Hollywood, which has given her a healthy respect for the casting couch; but even sleeping with her slimy agent hasn't landed her a meaty role, and the last pilot she almost got, some ten years ago, went to that little nobody, Lisa Kudrow.
Jeb, who operates on pure rage, has been fired from more assistant jobs than he cares to count, and he currently teeters on the edge of insanity under Randall Blume, one of the sleaziest agents in Hollywood.
Kecia Christy, a no-nonsense Pisces pining for love and addicted to Krispy Kremes, works for Travis Trask, the hottest teen heartthrob since "that other white boy, Leo." More interested in smoking prizewinning pot with his bonehead buddies than in his next movie, Travis is always looking for the next good party — until his ex-con brother shows up at the front door.
Griffin's intelligence and ambition fail to shield him from endless humiliation at the hands of Johnny Treadway, a crass A-list manager with pec and cheek implants and a perpetual tan, courtesy of the Tropical Rays tanning bed he keeps in his office. Johnny takes all the credit while Griffin does all the real work, and Griffin has begun to suspect that selling his soul might not be worth that overdue promotion after all.
Once a week, Rachel, Michaela, Jeb, Griffin, and Kecia meet at a dark, unhip watering hole to commiserate. Soon enough, however, the system spits them out, and they must learn to survive through sheer determination, hard-won industry savvy, and luck.
At turns hilarious, poignant, and sinfully gossipy, The Assistants will keep you glued to your seat until the final page is turned.
"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)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Laugh-out-loud funny, depressing in a good way, and so up-to-the-minute it could have been written last week, The Assistants is a rare thing: a convincing and very entertaining Hollywood novel." Brett Easton Ellis
"[A] capable debut....[Williams's] resilient characters sometimes spin in place too long, but once she steps up the pace, the story becomes deliciously vicious entertainment." Publishers Weekly
"Long, slow opening leads to lively pages, romantic closing." Kirkus Reviews
"[A] lively debut....[A] highly energetic, charming account of the frustration and abuse experienced by the unseen of Hollywood....Highly recommended." Library Journal
About the Author
Robin Lynn Williams managed to survive twelve months as a personal assistant to several Hollywood luminaries. When not in therapy or suffering reoccurring nightmares, she enjoys not having a pager, cell phone, or Blackberry attached to her. She is an English/Creative Writing graduate from UCLA and her work has appeared in Biography and the New York Times Syndicate. She lives in New York City.
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