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Colors Insulting to Nature (2004)
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0007154577, Paperback)Authors who write about the entertainment industry often extend promises of wit and edginess to attract an audience. Colors Insulting to Nature, by Salon columnist Cintra Wilson, delivers these qualities because it enters the fray not with a forgettably likeable protagonist predestined for a happy ending, but with an axe to grind. The object of Wilson's loathing is the "ego-porn" Hollywood that turns out formulaic story lines, making hapless, mediocre talents believe that their dreams of fame can somehow come true.
The central mediocre talent in this book is Liza Normal, who first appears in the story as an adolescent auditioning for a spot in a commercial. Imagine the child version of the Bette Midler character in Beaches and you're about halfway to understanding the tragic gaudiness of Liza's persona--though of course she is a sweet girl underneath it all. The novel follows Liza into adulthood, bringing other vividly drawn characters, including her shut-in brother, Ned, her narcissistic, alcoholic mother, Peppy, and a sadomasochistic dwarf named DelVonn along for the ride. Liza's cringingly funny attempts to win fame as an actress-singer never stop--and neither does Wilson's railing against the logic-corrupting, "ultimately demoralizing" messages from film and television that Liza has ingested from infancy. Will our heroine ever turn her life around and figure out that The Media made her do it? Will Wilson succeed in breaking free of formulas, or end up undercutting her own message with a fairy-tale ending? Readers who are drawn to darker comedies will enjoy finding the answers, and find this novel impossible to put down. --Leah Weathersby
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:06 -0400)
Despairing of her ambitions to become a Hollywood star, Lisa Normal suffers a series of humiliating love affairs and career disappointments before working to exact revenge on those responsible for complicating her life.
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