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Book Review: Going Down in La-La Land by Andy Zeffer

Drew Payne



Adam, an aspiring actor, makes the trip from New York to LA in search of fame and fortune. What he finds is a trip into the underside of fame in LA.

Here is a modern-day Rake’s Progress; Adam (the narrator) arrives in LA with such high hopes, he has the looks and talent to be a star, but he finds an unfriendly city where he can’t get his foot on the bottom rung of the showbusiness ladder.

This novel could have been a pro-faced, and even homophobic, grime tale, warning about the “evils” of Hollywood. Instead, Zeffer’s insightful but equally humorous prose lifts this novel into a far more enjoyable read. Adam’s self-deprecating humour is refreshing and helps make this such a readable book; even as his career spirals down, he still has his eyes set on being a star, imagining himself (when he finally becomes that star) confessing to his sordid past on yet another chat show. Adam’s spiral downwards, until he ends up working in gay porn because he is so broke, is handled well and is all too believable. What is also so believable is his big break, as the personal assistant/closeted boyfriend to a TV star, and the scandal he gets caught up in.

This novel provides fascinating insights into the different levels of showbusiness in Hollywood. How the real stars treat those people below them, but those people’s work keeps them a star. How everyone in LA seems to be part of showbusiness, one way or another. How the only time he is treated with any dignity is when he works in gay porn.

Zeffer gives this novel a downbeat but all too real ending, unlike the Hollywood ending of the film based on this novel, leaving the impression that this was a time of madness in the narrator’s life before he returned to the real world when he left LA.

This novel is very much based on fact, on Zeffer’s own experiences as a would-be actor in Hollywood; he and the narrator share the same surname, but he does not present us with a novel-as-act-of-revenge, neither is this a cautionary tale. Instead, Zeffer presents this novel as a story that happened without any more judgment. This is a novel for all of us who never believed those rags-to-riches Hollywood stories.

Find it here on Amazon

Edited by Drew Payne

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