Bookshelf | Tell-All by Chuck Palahniuk (2010) | An Old Hollywood tale with a dark twist


This novel is dripping with Old Hollywood, and if you love that kind of stuff—as do I—you will enjoy this book. The story transported me back to that glamorous era where inimitable stars like Joan Crawford and Bette Davis reigned over Tinseltown and gossip mongers like Hedda Hopper and Lillian Hellman had the power to either enhance or tarnish a star’s reputation.

The star of the book is Hazie Coogan, who really isn’t a star at all but the trusty maidservant and companion to excessively glamorous and untouchable former film star Katherine Kenton. For decades, Hazie has spent her life not only catering to every need and want of her “Miss Kathie” but also protecting her and–most importantly–her glittering star from harm. Now, Hazie’s focus is protecting Miss Kathie from the loving arms and machinations of one Webster Carlton Westward III—a handsome, young, smooth-talking gentleman caller who is finding it quite easy to cozy up to the older and vulnerable Miss Kathie. When Hazie discovers Miss Kathie’s new love is secretly penning a scathing tell-all account of his relationship with the former star, Hazie will stop at nothing to thwart his plan and preserve the pristine image of one of America’s most celebrated vintage movie queens. Now, this is a Chuck Palahniuk novel, so don’t let the glossy exterior fool you. This story is for the reader who isn’t afraid to take a glass of Old Hollywood laced with some Palahniuk-style dark elements.

My experience of this book was made even more fun by listening to the audiobook version narrated by Hillary Huber. Her narration is quite entertaining, and her Thelma Ritter-like vocal style is so good it seems as though Ms. Ritter stepped right off the screen of All About Eve to narrate the book.

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