Shooting Stars

July 5, 2014 Memoir, non-fiction 2

18509676Title: Shooting Stars
Author: Jennifer Buhl
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: I thought the bits about Jennifer’s career were fascinating (except the gross bits), but I found the parts about her personal life unrelatable.

Jennifer Buhl was struggling to make it in LA until she decided to try her hand at being a paparazzi. That’s not to say that being a paparazzi was easy. Paparazzi often tip each other off and it took Jennifer some time to make connections. She faced bullying and discrimination, both for being one of the few women in the business and for being successful. Despite the challenges, she really was successful, getting some fantastic shots with celebrities, as well as many fascinating stories to tell.

As I mentioned in my review of Jennifer, Gwyneth, and Me, I haven’t gotten into celebrity culture much, with the exception of fangirling about authors. I couldn’t say no to Shooting Stars though, because I love books which share an insider perspective on offbeat jobs.  On that count, this book definitely delivered. Paparazzi have all kinds of interesting cultural quirks and tricks for doing their job. The author included details I wouldn’t even have thought to ask about. For example, I loved learning about the differences between paparazzi in America and Europe. I thought it was surprising and fascinating which shots of celebrities were most valuable.The author also included some details I’d rather not have known about, like how one manages to go the bathroom while staking out a celebrity’s house.

The last third of the book switched focus to Jennifer’s attempt to have a baby, another part of the story I could have lived without. Although I liked hearing about A.J. Jacobs’ and Rachel Bertsche’s attempts to have babies with their partners, this was different. Perhaps because I don’t want to have children, I didn’t relate to the author’s desperation to have a baby, with or without a partner. I also thought she was a bit hypocritical with her constant statements about her unwillingness to sleep around contradicted by her actions.  I hate to judge a book by the author, but when an author shares their intimate, personal experiences, I need to relate to them. In this case, I didn’t relate, so the personal story felt like a distraction from the fascinating bits about the author’s career. The majority of the book was about the author’s career so overall this was an enjoyable book to read. I think someone interested in having children or more interested in celebrities might enjoy it even more.

2 Responses to “Shooting Stars”

  1. Charlie

    Interest in having children or not, it does sound as though that section might’ve suited a different book better. An insider’s account of the job sounds good.

    • DoingDewey

      Yeah, I think that’s probably true. Actually, your comment got me thinking about why this was different than reading about A.J. Jacob’s attempt to conceive in The Know-It-All and Rachel Bertsche’s attempt to conceive in Jennifer, Gwyneth, and Me and I think I have a better answer. The other two books are both stories about the author’s personal life. This book is something I was interested in for the author’s career, so her personal life has less of a place in the story. The parts about her career really were fascinating though 🙂

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