I’ve read a lot of chick lit novels based on Hollywood and fame in my time and I have to say that Hollywood Car Wash is definitely one of my all time favorites. This well-written and fascinating story revolves around Amy Spencer, a small town girl from Michigan who wins a local acting audition that lands her a leading role in a brand new prime time drama TV show called ‘Autumn Leaves’ in Hollywood.
The show turns out to be a hit and Amy is quickly thrown into an It Girl kind of fame. However, studio and network executives don’t think she quite ‘looks the part’ so they begin her transformation, also known as the ‘Hollywood car wash’, complete with starvation diets, fashion stylists, new teeth, liposuction, and eventually, a high profile relationship, among other things. Amy reluctantly goes along with the ever-increasing demands and soon can barely recognize herself.
Filled with catty costars, paparazzi drama, shameless name-dropping, and the many ups and downs of making it big in Hollywood, this novel is a very fun, exciting yet somehow down-to-earth read. Surprisingly, this book is one of the more realistic Hollywood fame lit novels I’ve had the pleasure of reading, despite the insane ups and downs the character experiences. Some rumors suggest that Hollywood Car Wash is loosely based around the story of Katie Holmes’s rise to fame; personally, I’ve always secretly wondered if it was Mischa Barton instead. Whether the book is actually based on one person or not (and I doubt we’ll ever find out for sure), it does a good job of detailing the road that many a new ‘It Girl’ has to go through to not only get to the top, but stay there. And it ain’t all pretty.
One great thing about this book is that the character is quite likeable and consistent throughout. In some fame lit novels, the character turns into a monster or starts acting really unrealistic. But Lori Culwell does a great job of keeping Amy’s character interesting and constant throughout her journey.
There is a little bit of stereotyping throughout the novel (gay best friend, etc), but it’s definitely forgivable.
Overall, I highly recommend Hollywood Car Wash to any and all people who love reading about Hollywood, fame, and the cutthroat world of celebrity.