Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Heartthrob by Suzanne Brockmann ****

I listened to this on audio book. I have a mixed opinion about this narrator - and I do think the narrator can affect how I feel about a book. On the one hand, he had a pleasant voice and used distinct voices for each character consistently. But some of his reading was stiff, unnatural and sorta jarred me out of the story. At one point, where Brockmann writes "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead" in reference to a character (from another character's POV), this narrator said "ding dong" as though the doorbell rang, instead of in the rhythm of the song from Wizard of Oz. ???? I thought to myself, has this fellow never seen the movie?

OK - so the story is about a Hollywood heartthrob, Jed "Jericho" Beaumont, a bad boy whose career is on the skids because of his drug and alcohol addiction. He hasn't had a major movie part in 5 years - but there's an independent film being made that has a part that seems tailor-made for him. However, the producer, Kate O'Laughlin, knows him by reputation - and doesn't want him anywhere near her movie.

He goes to an open audition for the part and is cast by the director. Jed wants the part bad enough to sign an outrageous contract that includes daily urine tests and searches to be sure he isn't using/abusing again. He even has to have a bodyguard 24/7. When the bodyguard chains him to his bed and leaves him, causing him to be late for his shoot the next day, the producer fires the bodyguard and ends up having to stay with him herself until a suitable replacement is found.

Because Kate actually wrote the screenplay for the movie and is half in love with the story's fictional hero, and Jed creates a persona for the character that matches her own idea, she starts to fall for him - but Jed is a man with a dark and tortured past, who finds it easy to have casual relationships but won't open up to anyone.

There's a sweet secondary relationship between a female teen co-star and another cast member who plays a slave in this Civil War era story. Apparently the teen's parents don't get along - loudly, in front of cast and crew, and her father in particular is very critical and overprotective as well.

Despite Jed's proving himself over and over, Kate has a hard time trusting him - she can't tell the difference between his "acting" and his real feelings and emotions and decides he's just playing her. And maybe he is, a little, until she pushes him away, forcing him to re-evaluate thier relationship.

So, I actually feel sorta 3.5 about the book - partly because the narrator sorta let me down with his inconsistent reading (consistent voices, but the reading sometimes fell flat) - but I always seem to round up, so I'm calling it 4 stars.

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