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Author: Nina Marie Gardner

ISBN: 9781105618444

When I reviewed Sherry and Narcotics by Nina Marie Gardner last year I concluded by stating that I would like to see not only a sequel to that book but a prequel as well because the author made me care deeply about her character. I’m Not This Girl is the prequel and it is every bit as good as I expected from this talented author.

Any book about addictions that is truly authentic will contain extremely sad truths and there is tragedy throughout this book but there is humor as well and Lulu’s voice carries the reader along on a journey that is alternately funny and sad, enticing and enlightening. I found myself laughing out loud at this picture of the LA TV/film scene:

Along with every other Ivy League grad in her generation who suddenly wanted to make it big in Hollywood Lulu assumed she’d have no trouble hooking up with someone cool to work for like Jodie Foster or Jane Campion or the Cohen brothers.  She thought all that talk about nepotism in Hollywood was just talk. She thought the casting couch was really only a factor if a girl was trying to make it in porn. In the four months Lulu had been in LA since graduating from college, she’d worked for a casting director with a cocaine problem who shocked Lulua because she’d never heard of Uta Hagen, David Mamet, Stanislavski or Christopher Walken but threw a Boston crème donut at Lulu’s head when Lulu didn’t know who Erik Nies was – apparently he was a former Real World cast member or the winner of the “Be an MTV VJ” contest or something; a personal manager with a foot fetish  -only Lulu didn’t know until he started going on about what a great foot model she’d make and did she mind taking off her stockings so he could examine her feet more closely; an agent who wanted her to try on clothes he’d supposedly picked out for one of his clients to wear for an audition – and when she did put on the short short skirt, he pretended he had to check the hem and stuck his hand up there; and another personal manager/producer who swindled her out of three thousand dollars saying he needed to renew his hold on the rights to some World War Two script and she would be an associate producer. She scraped the money together thanks to a cash advance on her credit card and then the guy disappeared. Cumulatively, the sum of these experiences within her first months in town proved to be more degrading than Lulu had bargained for: until it happens to them, nobody likes to think they could be such a fool. Naturally her father was far from thrilled with her decision to go to LA to begin with, had warned her repeatedly to be wary of all the situations she inevitably fell prey to. So, of course, she was too ashamed to confess to her family or friends the truth about any of these fiascos. Plus when she’d started each job she had the optimism and big mouth of a naïve fresh off the boat newcomer/moron and had talked up each gig as if she was well on her way to owning tinseltown.”

Her writing is equally insightful about all her characters:

Dean’s face in slumber always looked so angry – it had from the beginning like a little boy with fists gripped tightly at his sides. As if he was stoically committed to getting through some nightmare dreamscape or a disturbing glimpse of his past or future. Lulu couldn’t help but wonder what had happened to him that he  should look like that. Who were his parents – and if his mother hadn’t died would he sleep peacefully and look more content? Was he like his father who Lulu had never met and Dean hardly spoke of? A father and son living their lives separately as if they were perfect strangers.Except they weren’t. Lulu imagined they were all too aware of each other. Bound to each other in whatever miserable penance the depth of their shame told them they deserved.”

I highly recommend both these books and am looking forward to more from this author.

Follow Here To Purchase I'm Not This Girl