Last Night at Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger

Last Night at Chateau Marmont

by Lauren Weisberger

PBR Book Review: (by- Linda ) Wonderful dialog and nicely developed characters pull you into this light fun read and create subtle suspense to keep you turning the pages. Lauren Weisberger does an excellent job of showing the ups and downs that play out in a marriage when one partners catapults to stardom. She breathes life into her characters first by revealing their feelings and letting readers into their thoughts, then by creating realistic circumstances and surrounding her protagonist with quirky, but believable friends and family to interact with.

Although the book is about a couple, the center of it all is Brooke and how she comes to terms with the new dynamics of her life and marriage after her husband becomes a rock star. Initially she clings to old and comfortable and lives somewhat in denial. But not for long. As the momentum builds her life in the fast lane starts feeling authentic, complete with paparazzi, jet set parties, outrageous designer clothes, uncompromising pictures appearing in tabloids and of course temptation at every turn. If you like reading gossip magazines and always wanted the inside take on the celebrity life, you'll love this book. It's also a good read for those that enjoy a light emotionally engaging read.

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*Discussion Questions

1. At the very beginning of the novel, Nola expresses her concern over Brooke and Julian's future: "It's just so hard, as your friend, to watch you kill yourself working to support him for so many years now. Especially when the odds are so low that anything will come of it" (p. 8). Do you think that Nola, as Brooke's best friend, should be more encouraging? How would you feel about the situation if you were Nola?

2. While Brooke's parents lack the wealth and the social status of Julian's, they are decidedly more loving and supportive. How do you think Brooke and Julian's respective upbringings have shaped their personalities and aspirations? Does Julian have more to prove?

3. Brooke forms a strong bond with Kaylie as she works to help her overcome her body image issues. How does Kaylie's quest to fit in at Huntley compare with Brooke's experience as the wife of a rock star? What kind of pressures does Brooke encounter to lose weight, and how does she react to them?

4. While it's Julian's musical credibility and his striking live performances that initially catapult him to fame, it's only a matter of time before he becomes a bonafide sex symbol. Discuss Julian's evolution from scruffy crooner to superstar. How do his friends and family perceive him differently? Do you think he has sold out, or is the change just a part of the business?

5. As Brooke becomes more and more unhappy with her new lifestyle, she seems to be increasingly unable to articulate her feelings to Julian, even lying about being pregnant to get his attention. Why do you think she has such trouble communicating with her husband? What do you think she should do differently?

6. Brooke's attempt at commiserating with Amber and the other exes of famous men ends in disaster. Discuss the portrayal of Amber, Diana, and Kenya. What do you think about their views on Julian and Brooke's marriage? Are they jaded and bitter, or simply realistic?

7. The Chateau Marmont, co-conspirator in numerous real-life rock star indiscretions, is the site of Brooke and Julian's first thrilling night as celebrities and, months later, Julian's brush with infidelity. Why do you think the author bookends her novel with these two very different encounters at the same hotel? What does the Chateau represent for the Alters, and how does this change as the novel progresses?

8. While Brooke is adamant about keeping both of her jobs despite her new financial situation, in the end she admits that she should have been less stubborn about maintaining her "civilian" lifestyle. Do you think she shares the blame in the problems they encountered? Should she have compromised earlier, and quit one of her jobs?

9. Near the end of the novel, Julian tells Brooke how unprepared he was for stardom: "In my craziest, wildest fantasies or nightmares it never looked anything like this" (313). Were the Altars naive to think that their lives wouldn't change so drastically? Moving forward, do you think that they'll be able to regain some semblance of a normal life?

10. Weisberger uses many real-world references in this book, such as celebrity characters, television shows, restaurants, and events. What effect did this have on your reading experience?

11. This book takes a hard look at the price of fame in our celebrity-obsessed culture. As Carter Price describes it to Brooke, "It feels like the entire world has been invited into your home and every one of them has something to say about it" (p.273). Has it changed the way you think about the way celebrities are portrayed in the media, and how it impacts their personal lives?

Book Summary
From the Publisher: Brooke loved reading the dishy celebrity gossip rag Last Night. That is, until her marriage became a weekly headline.

Brooke was drawn to the soulful, enigmatic Julian Alter the very first time she heard him perform "Hallelujah" at a dark East Village dive bar.

Now five years married, Brooke balances two jobs-as a nutritionist at NYU Hospital and as a consultant to an Upper East Side girls' school, where privilege gone wrong and disordered eating run rampant-in order to help support her husband's dream of making it in the music world.

Things are looking up when after years of playing Manhattan clubs and toiling as an A&R intern, Julian finally gets signed by Sony. Although no one's promising that the album will ever hit the airwaves, Julian is still dedicated to logging in long hours at the recording studio. All that changes after Julian is asked to perform on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno-and is catapulted to stardom, literally overnight. Amazing opportunities begin popping up almost daily-a new designer wardrobe, a tour with Maroon 5, even a Grammy performance.

At first the newfound fame is fun-who wouldn't want to stay at the Chateau Marmont or visit the set of one of television's hottest shows? Yet it seems that Brooke's sweet husband-the man who can't handle hot showers and wears socks to bed-is increasingly absent, even on those rare nights they're home together. When rumors about Brooke and Julian swirl in the tabloid magazines, she begins to question the truth of her marriage and is forced to finally come to terms with what she thinks she wants-and what she actually needs.
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