Thursday, June 23, 2011

Groundswell by Katie Lee

Overview from Barnes and Noble:
EAT, SURF, LOVE. A butterfly flaps its wings in New York City . . . and a groundswell forms in Mexico. . . .

Sometimes the biggest ripples come from the smallest events. Like the day that Emma Guthrie walks into world-famous movie star Garrett Walker’s trailer. When she steps through the door, she’s a novice PA who’s just dropped out of college after losing her scholarship. When she walks out, she’s on her way to becoming Mrs. Emma Walker—wife of an A-list actor. Soon, Emma has made the transition from nobody to red-carpet royalty, trading jeans and flip-flops for closets full of Chanel and Birkin bags, swishing past velvet ropes to attend every lavish party and charity gala on both coasts. With her husband’s encouragement, Emma pens a screenplay based on her life, Fame Tax, which becomes a blockbuster sensation. Through it all, Garrett is her ally and her mentor . . . until their relationship is thrown into question by an incriminating text message that Emma discovers on Garrett’s phone the night of the Met Costume Institute Gala.

Devastated by her husband’s infidelity and hounded mercilessly by the paparazzi, Emma must flee New York City to get away from it all and clear her head. Her destination? A sleepy coastal town in Mexico where no one recognizes her and there is nothing but unspoiled beaches for miles. Here, she meets Ben, a gorgeous, California-born surf instructor, who teaches her about the healing powers of surfing, shows her the joys of the simple life, and ultimately opens her up to the possibility of love.

From Manhattan’s hippest restaurants to the yacht-and-celebrity infested waters of St. Barts, Katie Lee’s debut novel is an irresistible insider’s glimpse into a glittering world—and a captivating story about how losing everything you thought you wanted can be the first step to finding what you need.

My thoughts:
I received my copy of the book through Book Blogs Gallery and Pocket Book Blog Tours.  I was grabbed by the idea of "Eat, Surf, Love" from the description of the book so I signed up to participate.  I am glad that I did!
I really enjoyed this book and had a hard time putting it down.  It pulls you in and makes you want to keep reading.  The prologue starts at the Met Gala mentioned in the overview and the text in question.  Then it goes backwards to when Emma and Garret met and fell in love.  That takes about half the book.  Then it jumps back to the Met Gala and continues from there.  While I very much enjoyed the book, I think the description is a bit misleading.  I would have enjoyed having spent more time with Emma as she was getting to know herself and be herself through learning to surf and be independent.  From the synopsis I thought this was going to be the majority of the book, but in reality it was less than half of it.  I have no problem with how the story was, as I said I had trouble putting it down, but I wish the description had been more accurate.  It felt like I was waiting for the story to start at times rather than just enjoying the ride as I went along.  I think I would have enjoyed the story even more if I hadn't read the description ahead of time.  Believe it or not, I actually do that a lot with movies and books so I can just enjoy them as they are instead of having my enjoyment clouded by the way other viewers or readers felt about the subject matter.
I liked Emma.  She really worked hard to be the person she wanted to be and did not let herself coast along on her husbands success.  When she is first meeting the wives of Garret's friends and peers she asks a group of women what they do for work and they all kind of look at her in shock.  The question one of them poses is, "Why would I want to work?".  Emma doesn't do that though and finds success in her own right, while I am sure it was easier to have a screenplay looked at by the right people if you have an in in the industry, she still did the work.
One thing I also kept wondering was how much of the story is taken from Katie Lee's life with Billy Joel.  I know they are divorced but I never read anything about why they split up.  Did he have an affair?  Resent her written work through the cookbooks she has written?  Emma in the story keeps saying how she writes what she knows, so her first screenplay is about falling for Garret with names and details changed and her second is about finding herself, surfing and Ben.  Is this novel about Katie Lee with details changed or is it strictly from her imagination?  I don't tend to wonder about this as much with people who aren't celebrities, but I think is is a question that readers are going to have about this one.  Not that it makes the story less enjoyable, just a matter of being in the public eye already.
•Pub. Date: June 2011

•Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
•Format: Hardcover , 240pp

•ISBN-13: 9781439183595
•ISBN: 1439183597

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