Thursday, June 11, 2009

Maneater: Gigi Levangie Grazer (2003) - Positively witty

To be honest, I had not heard of the author (Gigi Levangie Grazer - biography site) before this book. I am a sucker for book sales, and I saw a sale where this book was also there, and I don't know what made me pick this book as opposed to other books, but I don't regret it one bit. Once I had picked up the book, it was hard to put down. It is hard to easily describe the novel, but if I were to summarize the book, it would be in terms of calling it a 'hard to put down, biting witticism filled description of Los Angeles society. The book portrays a chilling portrayal of what a middle-aged (by her standards) lady needs to do in terms of her future, and how all her plans go haywire when she is fooled by somebody even more expert than her.

Maneater (a novel by Gigi Levangie Grazer) published in 2003

Clarissa is 28 (actually 31), somebody who has never worked for anything her whole life. She depends on her father and mother, and lives a life of parties, gossip, and the close company of her group of friends (called the Star Chamber - some of them are close friends, and with one of whom she has a relationship that is more enemy like than with friends). Clarissa is very clear on her priorities in life, such as food (good), sex (good), shopping (good), work (bad). She also realizes that since she is actually 31 years old, her biological clock is indicating that she needs to get a move onto finding a man for her (and obviously, it has to be a rich man since she needs to be supported in life as per her expectation). It is a biting satire of the lives of the rich and famous that Clarissa even has though through her future, including when to have children, when she will get divorced. Her relationship with her mother is also shown as pretty interesting, somebody on whom she depends at times of extreme stress, but not otherwise.
So, after crossing through a number of potential husbands and rejecting them (such as Bruce Springsteen, John F. Kennedy Jr. (who is a good potential, but dead), Ted Field, etc), she narrows her choice down to young Aaron Mason, a person rich enough that he can afford to be what he wants (he wants to make a movie about an old subject). Now starts the process of planning for the marriage (even though the groom does not know that he is the target, and that his marriage date has been decided). She finds out that Aaron is not as dumb as he would appear, and is wise to what she is trying, but he plays along and finally they get married.
And this is where the novel takes a twist, with Aaron having far more secrets than Clarissa would like, one of which leads her to living in a much smaller apartment than the swanky house and comfort that she had expected. Clarissa is shocked, but slowly starts to get used to it, and then she gets more shocks from Aaron. The end is different, but the novel starts to meander a bit, and loses the wit and bite soon after the marriage, and slowly starts to become more saccharine sweet. On the whole, it is still enjoyable.