Learning from those BH Housewives – “The Diamond Lane” by Karen Karbo

January 4, 2015 at 5:00 pm Leave a comment

“The Diamond Lane” by Karen Karbo, Published in 1984, Republished in 2014

I don’t watch reality t.v. as a general rule. There are a lot of snotty (read as good) reasons not to watch reality Unknownt.v. but for me it is truly more about just liking other types of entertainment. Meaning just because I read doesn’t mean I don’t fit in plenty of t.v.  But all of that said, I have ONE reality show I watch.  The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Not Jersey, not Orange County, just Beverly Hills. Why??!!! I have no idea.  I think I just love to watch supremely rich people make each other miserable. It is a petty piece of me admittedly, but those rich women are truly as vacuous, self-involved and crazy bored as you might think.  For some reason this amuses me.  They want for nothing but have more drama and made up problems that I could even imagine for them.   Why am I talking about this. “The Diamond Lane” is filled with the same self-involved, empty characters and I have just decided that L.A. is where they all must be – feeding off each other’s concerns about who is the prettiest, skinniest, and what is the next big thing.

Mouse is filming a documentary in Nairobi when she receives a call from her sister Mimi that their mother has been in an accident.  And so, with her British boyfriend Tony in tow, Mouse returns home to Los Angeles after spending 16 years in Africa.  When she arrives home she finds that her mother has suffered a head injury from a ceiling fan falling on her in a restaurant – but she is recovering nicely.  Mouse and Tony are suddenly stuck together on Mimi’s futon in her dining room each night while spending their days trying to cope with culture shock and the film/acting/writing world that is L.A.

Everyone they meet is an up and coming writer, actor, director, etc.  meaning simply that everyone is broke and likely will always be an administrative assistant.   Tony begins writing and shopping a screenplay about their life in Africa while Mouse attempts to hold onto her documentary making integrity, showing her films in church basements with poles blocking the screen while wearing worn out flip-flops and out of fashion clothing.

In the vein of Evelyn Waugh, this book had the makings of a really good satire.  Karbo seems to have a good feel for the fumblings and trappings of L.A. life.  But for me it just wasn’t funny enough and it fell flat.  Mimi, as the bulimic sister who was once in a commercial with Bob Hope, is sad. Mouse, trying to forgive her sister for stealing her boyfriend 16 years before while trying to determine if she really loves Tony and if her films have meaning, is also just sad.   In fact, there is not much that is not really kind of depressing in this book.  And YES, I get that it is supposed to be funny.  But characters, who seem like they might be good people, genuinely struggling with their lives and choices are really hard to spin into a satire. That is what Waugh got that I think Karbo is missing – crappy things happening to self-involved, arrogant people, that is funny.  Crappy things happening to the girl who just spent 16 years in Africa trying to escape heartbreak and filming documentaries, it just isn’t that funny.

Now Lisa Vanderpump getting her feelings hurt because she is told she is not a nice person, when in fact she really isn’t a nice person, that is hilarious.  And even if you don’t think so, don’t worry she has millions of dollars and a whole wardrobe of pink to keep her company.



Entry filed under: January 2015 reads. Tags: , , , .

Loss pulls us after it – “Housekeeping” by Marilynne Robinson A full length mirror – “We are not Ourselves” by Matthew Thomas

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There is some great literature out there, but there is a lot of bad literature as well. We shouldn't all have to read it. These are my recommendations and thoughts about the books I read.


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