Published by Random House, 2005
"Hilarious, poignant, and so true to life it's frightening. They're Not Your Friends is a very entertaining Hollywood novel and the perfect summer read."
--Robin Lynn Williams, author of The Assistants
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Look Out for Falling Stars
Charlotte "Lottie" Love has a thing for celebrity. Actually, it's more of an obsession. All her life she's lurked in the shadows of Hollywood, desperate to step into the light. When she lands a job at Personality magazine, her dreams of red-carpet strolls, popping flashbulbs, and the attention white-hot heartthrobs finally start to come true. Even Hollywood's latest "It" boy falls for her, and everyone wants his story. Can Lottie score the scoop? Ask Lem Brac, a British boozehound in the twilight of a mediocre career who knows an exclusive with the It boy would save his job. Lem looks for help from his new (and only) friend--Mike Posner, a young hotshot reporter just hired away from a New York tabloid. but Mike has some damaging secrets himself that are about to surface. He needs the interview too, and it's anyone's guess how far he'll go to get it.
Welcome to the world of entertainment journalism and star worship, where you're only as good as the gossip you dig up. Written by former People magazine correspondent who knows the underbelly of Hollywood hearsay all too well, They're Not Your Friends slips past the velvet rope and grants access to a wickedly funny -- and sometimes scary -- celebrity magazine scene.
"A hilarious, from-the-heart debut."
-- Melissa Senate, author of See Jane Date and Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?
NEW YORK POST, PAGE SIX
THERE'S at least one "chick lit" book that People magazine will not be reviewing. IRENE ZUTELL, a former People magazine reporter, has penned "They're Not Your Friends" a thinly veiled roman a clef about her stint at the reigning celebrity weekly that seems especially tough on Todd Gold, the magazine's West Coast bureau chief.
Zutell, who worked at People for about a year before quitting in 2000, also worked for Us Weekly. But a publishing insider said, "This book is about her time at People, not Us. And the character of Ben Walsh is based on Todd Gold - not anyone at Us"
In the novel, Walsh is the editor of Personality magazine. He "has no discernible personaliy of his own" and "an enormous mean streak. The only time he talked was to criticize a reporter's work... if he was in a chatty mood, he'd pull you aside and badmouth everyone on staff. No one could figure out how someone so vile could charm a celebrity... He admitted he 'occasionally massaged quotes because celebrities were so inarticulate.' Rumor was he did more than that - he invented his quotes."
Zutell writes, "everyone at Personality had a little bit of Jayson Blair in them" and "reporting at Personality was tantamount to the last person in telephone - except the last kid in the chain was deaf... it was so easy to lie. 'We haven't seen each other in years' became 'a source close to the subject.'"
A source close to Zutell said, "Gold told one of the reporters that he didn't want to see the book in the office."
But Gold, for his part, took the high ground and said via e-mail: "I haven't seen the book and would never ban any book in our office. Irene and I did work together six years ago and I wish her well. If the book is a best-seller, she owes me dinner."
The novel is the latest in a long line of novels by disgruntled media mini-figures. Lauren Weissberger, a former assistant to Anna Wintour weighed in with "The Devil Wears Prada," and recently Rachel Pine, who was a peon in the Miramax publicity division, wrote "the Twins of Tribeca."