This was a book to be absolutely gobbled down…
I grew up in the era of celebrity magazines, one of which was Heat. Starting of as more of a film/TV review magazine, it quickly saw the way things were going as regards the consumption of everything even the most Z-list celeb was up to, offering £250, if I recall correctly, for the best photograph of a celeb going about their business. As cameraphones were now becoming ubiquitous it turned their readers into cheap paparazzi, and if you didn’t have a cameraphone, well, you could just text whatever your local Big Brother/X Factor/whoever contestant was up to and get it printed in the “Spotted!” section.
Some people doubtless loved the attention that a brief spell in the flashlight of the cameras got you, but as this new book adeptly examines, fame is very much a double edged sword…
This book is written in the form of blog posts/diary entries/Twitter posts and comments/transcripts of YouTube videos and a Netflix documentary, adapting with the times and the favoured technology.
It’s about a girl called Melanie Lange, daughter of a hotel tycoon, who finds fame as a model for a short time before an arrest for a driving offence brings that to an end. She becomes a notorious figure, before she manages to find some happiness with a marriage, children, and her own business empire. But poor mental health and a seemingly controlling – or caring – father figure – the reader is left to decide whether the father is villain or saviour – means a happy ending may be quite an ask for Melanie. But she’s skilled at reinvention, so who knows…?
It’s compulsive reading, and names from the past flick through your mind as you read…
Paula Yates, to go right back to my teenage years. Britney Spears, and her father’s controlling grasp on her business empire. Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie’s legal problems for driving offences and drugs. Lindsay Lohan. Jade Goodie. Meghan Markle. Caroline Flack, who killed herself a fortnight before Covid knocked her off the pages of every newspaper…all women, interestingly enough. All darlings of the press, before they turn round and kill their darlings.
It’s such a simple idea…
…that I actually wondered why someone hadn’t done this before. It’s brilliantly executed by L.C. North, who clearly was devouring the same sort of stuff as the rest of us weekly. She superbly mimics the tones of social media commentators, blog posts and celeb mags, as well as the Netflix-tell all favoured by Harry and Meghan. Women are too thin, and on a crazy diet and/or drugs. A month later they’re looking too big and pregnancy rumours swirl. Then there’s talk of post-baby bulges. It put pressure on readers to copy their celeb idols’ mad fad diets.
I was mightily impressed to learn this was her debut novel. What’s interesting will be seeing what comes next from North. This book will probably be everywhere this year. And that’s an EXCLUSIVE! from me.
Not to be missed if you enjoy a real pageturner.
I would like to thank Anne Cater at Random Things Tours who invited me to participate in this blog tour, and Transworld who provided me with a proof. This did not affect my opinion and this is an honest review.
Author L.C. North
Check out the other bloggers on this blog tour!
BLURB: Melanie Lange has disappeared.
Her father, Sir Peter Lange, says she is a danger to herself and has been admitted to a private mental health clinic.
Her ex-husband, Finn, and best friend, Nell, say she has been kidnapped.
The media will say whichever gets them the most views.
But whose side are you on?
Told via interviews, transcripts and diary entries, The Ugly Truth is a shocking and addictive thriller about fame, power and the truth behind the headlines.