Over the last few years I have heard a lot of good things about SEP and so when I saw What I Did for Love (henceforth known as WIDFL mostly because I don’t want to keep writing the entire title out) at my local library last week I decided I would give her a try. Never have I ever regretting starting a book the way I do for this one. WIDFL is the novelized version of the Jennifer Aniston/Brangelina saga–and not even a particularly good novelization either.
Georgie York had it all. She was America’s sweetheart from the time she was 15 when she began starring in the much lauded sitcom Skip and Scooter (I shit you not) opposite Bramwell Shepherd. For 8 seasons, Georgie’s Scooter got into one crazy situation after another only to be saved by young Skip, but just as the titular pair were to get together the network canceled the show because Bram was having WAY too much fun with his celebrity status (read lots of drugs and sex). Ah, but Georgie didn’t let that get her down. She started starring in bad romcoms and found herself married to a movie hunk named Lance. (Someone seriously needs to talk to SEP about her name choices.) After finally finding happiness, her entire world came crashing down when Lance leaves her for some bimbo named Jade, who liked to engage in a lot of humanitarian endeavors–well, hello, Angelina Jolie! But that wasn’t all. Nope. Brad–I mean Lance–told the press that the reason they broke up was because Jennifer–I mean Georgie–didn’t want to have kids and that he did, which we are told is not the truth.
Shortly before the book starts, it comes out that Lance and Jade are having a baby (aw, hi, Shiloh!) and the press begins their Georgie pity party, which, unfortunately, isn’t anywhere near as big as the one that Georgie throws for herself. Georgie doesn’t know what to do and so she runs to her closeted gay best friend forever (GBFF) and asks him to marry her–that way the press would leave her alone. What a sweetheart. She spins it as if she would be doing the friend–whose name escapes me–a favor because he needed a beard in order to keep getting the role of Frat Boy in Chief (because no gay actor has ever successfully played a straight horndog–someone better go tell that to Neil Patrick Harris). Thankfully, GBFF turns her down, but not before Bram overhears the conversation, allowing him to be a total and complete asshole to both Georgie and GBFF, who is apparently one of his GBFF’s as well.
Next, Georgie decides to have some girl time with her friends–all of whom have starred in their own SEP novels–and it is decided that she would go to Vegas for a girls’ weekend. Of course she gets stood up by her friend and of course Bram shows up and the two of them get completely drunk and get married.
This is where I got off the SEP train. There were a lot of problems with this book, the least of which was the fact that it was a thinly veiled poke at the whole Aniston/Brangelina mess. If this was written as a tongue in cheek deal, I might have been able to get through with it, but alas it was not. SEP was totally serious with these characters and we as readers were not meant to make the connection. Unfortunately, this reader did.
Also unfortunately, I didn’t like the main characters. Georgie was no Jennifer Aniston. She was a self-centered little bitch, who cared more about what the press was saying about her than about anyone or anything else. That is so not Jennifer Aniston. At all. Then there was the fact that Georgie acted much younger than her age. She is supposed to be 31, but her actions are more that of an 18 or 19 year old. She doesn’t care about anyone other than herself and she expects everyone else to be just as concerned with her welfare as she is. The strangest thing is that she seems to have a problem separating reality from the fictional world of Skip and Scooter. There were a few too many instances of her referring to times that Bram had to save her from things that happened between their characters on the show. It was very disconcerting to see someone over the age of 10 not understanding that fiction is not real life. It also seemed as if Georgie never got over the crush she had on the self-destructive, teenaged version of Bram. At 18, that was one thing, but at 31… Not really. (At one point, Georgie lies to Bram about the number of lovers (inflating it to make herself look better in his eyes) she has had since the one time that they screwed at some party that he threw when he was 20 and she was 18.)
Then, there was Bram. We don’t get much information on him at all because most of the 70 pages I managed to read were told from Georgie’s perspective, so anything we learned about him was colored by her feelings towards him–none of which were good. I feel that if Bram had a bigger part of the narration he would have turned out to be a better guy that he was being portrayed, but we didn’t get that at all. The only thing we got were a bunch of flashbacks to Skip and Scooter and none of them portrayed Bram in the best light. Maybe if I was able to get passed the 70 page mark, I would have gotten more insight into Bram, but since that didn’t happen I am going to assume that we didn’t–it doesn’t fit with the way the first 70 pages were written.
Even with all of this, I was still willing to read on, but then came the line. The line that made me go, “Oh, no she didn’t.” It was just so offensive that it made me wonder what type of person SEP is that she thought it was okay to put it in her book. What was the line, you ask? Well, it turns out that Georgie doesn’t want to “drive to LA with a hoard of photographers chasing us. AS PRINCESS DIANA WOULD SAY, ‘BEEN THERE DONE THAT.” In what universe is it okay to even joke about the fact that Princess Diana died in an awful car wreck brought on by paparazzi who were chasing her car through the streets of Paris. Yes, it was 1997, but it is still TOO SOON. It will still be too soon in 2097.
In the end, I couldn’t bring myself to finish reading this book, which is why I have to give it ZERO STARS. I would really like to give it negative stars, but that would probably be a bit too much.