978-0-670-03307-2 / 9780670033072

The Second Assistant: A Tale from the Bottom of the Hollywood Ladder


Publisher:Viking Adult



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About the book:

If contemporary fiction has one thing to teach us, it's that working for the rich and glamorous is a living hell. This simple truth has already been revealed by such books as The Nanny Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada, but for those who feel that the message bears repeating, Clare Naylor and Mimi Hare's The Second Assistant: Tales from the Bottom of the Hollywood Ladder offers yet another enjoyable (though fairly forgettable) lesson.

The heroine of this gossipy tale is Elizabeth Miller, a young, former campaign worker for a US congressman who finds herself between employment opportunities. Unable to obtain any more socially responsible work, Lizzie is lured into the job of second assistant to an executive at a glitzy Hollywood agency. Once there, she's hit with all the "pick-up my dry cleaning," "walk my dog," "hire strippers for my party" torment that the higher-ups can dish out. At first Elizabeth is isolated, out-of-place, and underdressed in her new world, but she makes friends, builds her wardrobe, and eventually grows to care for her menial job, her Ritalin-snorting boss, and the entertainment industry in general. Finally, she reaches the conclusion that thousands of other Californians have before her: what she really wants to do is produce. At times, Lizzie seems far too na´ve to survive long in the shark-infested waters that the authors describe, but there can be only one kind of ending to such a light-hearted book, so we know she will somehow muddle through. Hare (who was once a Hollywood executive herself) and Naylor throw in a dreamy guy and a few plot twists that most readers could see coming from space, stir, and serve. Of course, a little frivolity is not a bad thing, and The Second Assistant is certainly an entertaining addition the new underling subgenre of modern fiction. --Leah Weathersby

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