Title: Last Night at Chateau Marmont
Author: Lauren Weisberger
Release Date: August 17, 2010
Genre: Chick Lit, Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Brooke Alter has been supporting her husband Jonathan for years. He’s a musician and hasn’t quite found his big break yet. Brooke is happy to work two jobs as a nutritionist to pay the bills while Julian follows his dream. But when Julian’s dreams come true and Brooke finds herself and her marriage in the spotlight, she begins to wonder whether her dreams are separate from her husband’s.
Last Night at Chateau Marmont had a lot going against it in my mind when I picked it up. I don’t generally enjoy novels about superstars and celebrity culture – it’s just not the sort of thing that interests me. In fact, I didn’t even know what Chateau Marmont was until I read this novel (apparently it’s a famous hotel in LA where all the stars stay, and have stayed for years). Additionally, I really didn’t enjoy Lauren Weisberger’s last book, Chasing Harry Winston. But then again, it’s Lauren Weisberger – even though I haven’t loved any of her books since The Devil Wears Prada, I strangely feel like she’s a must read for me. Therefore, it was with trepidation I picked up her latest, and happily, I enjoyed it much more than I expected.
I really liked the character of Brooke. The reviews I read (mainly on Amazon.com) complained that Brooke was whiny and unsympathetic because she refused to quit one of her two jobs to spend more time with her husband once he became famous, but I didn’t see her that way at all. In fact, I thought she was very realistic. Brooke was caught like a deer in headlights. Julian’s meteoric rise to rock star happened so fast, she barely had time to blink. She refused to change her life to accommodate him because her career was all she had. At a time she felt as though she was losing her husband to his new lifestyle, she was clinging to the only thing she felt like she had left.
Weisberger also did a wonderful job portraying the life of the person who gets left behind. Brooke watches Julian get all the benefits of fame, but she is forced to partake in the negative consequences. She has no privacy, and things that really should be her personal hurts and issues become tabloid fodder. At the same time, though, she’s trying to be as supportive as possible of Julian’s dream. The question that permeates the book is, in this situation, can a celebrity and a “normal” person actually make things work?
In the end, Last Night at Chateau Marmont has the same message as many books that revolve around marriage: it’s all about compromise. While Brooke doesn’t ask for the fame Julian finds, she has to deal with it as his wife. However, she refuses to do so, trying to cling to a normal life when clearly, it is anything but. Julian, on the other hand, finds exactly what he thinks he wants, and doesn’t take into account that it might not be what Brooke wants. It’s only when these two start to consider what the other person wants and what’s best for the marriage as a whole, rather than their own personal wishes, that things can begin to work out. The question is whether Brooke and Julian will be able to do that, or whether fame is just too much for their marriage.
Last Night at Chateau Marmont was a fun novel that I did enjoy. It was a very quick read which didn’t disappoint, even though I had the expectation that it would. If you’re in the mood for a light, quick read with heart, but one that won’t make you think too hard, this is a perfect book to pick up.