Saturday, February 20, 2010

Boldface Names by Shinan Govani

In Boldface Names, Ravi, a gossip columnist, goes to all the parties and schmoozes with all of the celebrities. As great as that is, things get even more interesting when he's put in charge of a young starlet, Leeza Pellegrino. It's all very mysterious because he's not told why she's been left in his custody. As the two of them travel the world for Ravi's job, Leeza causes all kinds of trouble for them both. Ravi just hopes his secrets are not exposed jeopardizing his dream position in Paris. Eventually the story comes to a head and secrets (some of them anyway) are revealed.

I'll admit that it took me about 20 pages to get into this book. In fact, I put it down once before (after about 10 pages) thinking that this book wasn't for me. However, I decided to give it another chance. Once I got into it, I really enjoyed it. It was such a fun, fast-paced read I'm glad I picked it up again.

The story, featuring a young not-quite-famous starlet and the Olsen twins, was farfetched and rather silly. However, the hilarity in the form of name dropping, metaphors, euphemisms as well as the biting social commentary more than made up for it. I'm not much of a celebrity follower, but I recognized many of the names anyway. I may have missed some of the nuances, but it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book. Those current on the celebrity rumour mill would get a kick out of this one.

Being a twin, I liked the chapter on celebrity twins called Wombmates. I found it interesting and surprising to see which of the celebrities had a "wombmate", even though I try to downplay the fact that I have one myself.

I know very little about the author, Shinan Govani. All I know about him, I learned from the back of the book. It seemed to me, though, that there were a few similarities between him and Ravi. I wonder if he used some of his own experiences to create this character.

Favourite quotes:
Always talking about something by referring to something else. You really should go to metaphor rehab, Ravi...or, like, a Betty Ford for euphemisms. (page 2, Rory speaking to Ravi. I really liked this first one because it set the tone for the story. The book is filled with metaphors and euphemisms.)
...gossip...was like standing on a roof on a windy day shredding a feather pillow and then trying to collect the feathers later (page 36)
He believed that you could tell a lot about someone from how they dance, and even more from how they karaoke. (page 42)
Saying you're are busy these days was a bit like saying in a job interview that the worst thing about you is that you are a perfectionist. The boast was sly, but it was still a boast. (page 58)

It's amazing how many famous names Govani managed to squeeze into this book. I'm positive that if I listed them in a single column, they most certainly would be longer than this review. However, don't expect to see glowing references in this one. In fact, the book contains lots of zingers and will likely leave you shaking your head or laughing out loud.

Recommended. A must read for celebrity watchers, but not for those who are easily offended.

For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit the HarperCollins Canada website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at HarperCollins Canada for this review copy.

Boldface Names by Shinan Govani, HarperCollins, ©2009. ISBN 9781554683192(Trade Paperback), 232p.

1 comment:

  1. my only celebrity watching is authors and then very few of them at that. Sounds almost like a niche book, though might be one you need the right sense of humour for.


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