Monday, November 17, 2008

Misadventures of the Wanna-Be Rich and Famous

Oliver Booth wants nothing more than to join the ranks of Palm Beach's high society. But with his arrogant personality, garish wardrobe, and incompetent stewardship of an antique shop filled with gaudy reproductions, he doesn't have a chance. Oliver's luck takes a turnabout when the society doyenne Margaret Van Buren sends him and his assistant, Bernard, to Paris on a shopping spree to furnish her new estate.

What ensues is a series of hilarious, Voltaire-esque misadventures as Oliver bumbles his way through the milieu of the elite. A satirical look at the lengths some people will go to in order to enter the insular circle of the privileged, David's Desmond's novel is a witty glimpse into a world few of us know. (-Greenleaf Book Group Press)

This was a quick read that had me wanting more! While I've never actually been to Palm Beach or to Paris, I honestly felt like I had spent time there after finishing this book!

The book starts out in Palm Beach, with Oliver Booth trying to make himself a bit more important that he really was. He owns an antique store but it's not on the main drag of town, Worth Avenue, so as a result he doesn't see much traffic. (Not that he would anyway-he has reproductions that still have the Made in Mexico stickers on them!) After an unfortunate incident at the Morningwood Country Club on New Year's Eve, Oliver finds himself in an unusual situation. He is asked to go to Paris, along with his assistant Bernard (also a waiter at Morningwood), and find furnishings for the guest house for Margaret Van Buren-one of the Palm Beach Society's elite. The trip is, to say the least, hilarious, and it has Oliver in an even more interesting situation, one he would definitely NOT want to have appear in the Shiny Sheet in Palm Beach.

I really enjoyed reading this book; I felt as though I was looking into the lives of the rich and famous. The characters were rounded, and I felt as though I knew Bernard and Oliver personally. I was a bit worried when I first started the book though-I noticed that Desmond was using larger words than necessary. I realize that it gives the air of importance and richness, but I wasn't sure it was necessary. By the middle of the book, however, either I stopped noticing it as much or it slowed down, because I flew through the book, just wondering what was going to happen next.

I definitely would recommend this book-I think everyone wonders what life of the elite is like, and this does give a taste of it, even if it is just an amuse bouche.

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