BOOK REVIEW: 'So 5 Minutes Ago' is time well spent

If Sex and the City's Samantha Jones were transplanted to the West Coast and had her libido drained and replaced with self-pity, she'd likely be a lot like Alex Davidson, the heroine of journalist Hilary de Vries' first novel, So 5 Minutes Ago.

If Sex and the City's Samantha Jones were transplanted to the West Coast and had her libido drained and replaced with self-pity, she'd likely be a lot like Alex Davidson, the heroine of journalist Hilary de Vries' first novel, So 5 Minutes Ago.

Where Jones is content and confident in a hyper-superficial world, Alex is the opposite, as celebrity politics has soured on her. The novel picks up with the merger of Alex's struggling PR firm with a more successful competitor and follows her misadventure as she tries to establish a foothold in a cutthroat world. Along the way, we meet the usual cast of Hollywood characters: bratty actors, sarcastic assistants, and Machiavellian bosses. For the most part, these are well drawn, even if at times they run close to stereotype. De Vries clearly knows this world. The breezy read's only real flaw is that its attempts at satire at times fall flat, largely because her topic - the Hollywood celebrity machine - is so blatantly exaggerated that it's become impervious to most slings and arrows. Title So 5 Minutes Ago Author Hilary de Vries Publisher Villard Books, 287 pages

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