Thursday, May 15, 2008

Review: Soapsuds, by Finola Hughes

The premise seems trite: a young woman moves from London to LA to appear in a long-running soap opera. But the content of this book is so funny at times that I couldn't put it down.

Kate McPhee takes on the role of Devon, a character who is quickly transformed into a lesbian detective when the producer sees chemistry between Devon and another main character in the soap. The reason for this change is the Queen: a longtime soap opera mainstay who, although nearly sixty, still pretends (through a lot of botox and plastic surgery) that she's 35, and goes into conniption fits regularly. Kate, just off the boat from London, is an outsider to the show, and is constantly made to feel so.

Kate quickly becomes embroiled in the politics of the set of Live for Tomorrow, which in itself reselmbles its own miniature soap opera: alcoholics, blonde bimbos, incredibly sexy leading men, chemistry between two major actors involved with the show, etc. The characters are all pretty stereotyped, but the author gives them a life all their own which is quite refreshing. However, I thought Ms. Hughes needed to tome down the dumb blonde jokes- for the sake of blonde readers, if not anything else. The book itself reads like a soap opera script: each chapter is headed with something like: "An afternoon in mid-November," or "The next Day." Also, bits and pieces of clich├ęd script are inserted into the main text. This doesn't detract from the story line; rather, it enhances it. Summa, this was an excellent summer read... light, airy, and quite refreshing. The book gives an excellent insight into the technical aspects of any television show. This is highly recommended for the soap watcher- even those of us (like me) who guiltily turn on the TV in the middle of the day to see what happens on one of these kinds of shows.


finolasfan said...

Did you see where she was going to go to Y&R but now can't? I got so excited but I guess she'll still be on GH. Thanks for the great read!

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