Friday, August 12, 2016

A review of Kate Coyne's I'm Your Biggest Fan

I wrote this morning's blog post not realizing that I was very close to finishing Kate Coyne's very entertaining book, I'm Your Biggest Fan: Awkward Encounters and Assorted Misadventures in Celebrity Journalism.  I downloaded this book last month after its June 2016 release, thinking I'd sail right through it.  It actually took some time to finish Coyne's eye opening story about how she came to be a celebrity journalist.  I have to admit really enjoying the ride.

Kate Coyne is presently working for People magazine.  It's her job to meet and mingle with celebrities.  She got her start working for the NY Post's infamous "Page Six", then spent several years at Good Housekeeping.  But Coyne writes that she's always been mesmerized by celebrities and she grew up in a place where she would run into stars by chance.  As a child, she was an autograph hunter and her parents actually encouraged her to rub elbows with celebrities.  One time, Kate Coyne's family went on vacation in the Caribbean, where they ran into George Michael and his handsome "friend".  With a push from her mother, Coyne approached Michael and scored his signature.

In another story, as a girl on vacation, Coyne met Cameron Douglas, son of movie star Michael Douglas.  Coyne writes of spending the day with him, building sandcastles and exploring.  It was before Cameron Douglas's well publicized battles with drug addiction.  He was a charming and thoughtful young man and Coyne really enjoyed her time with him.  Years later, while working for the gossip section "Page Six", Coyne ran into Michael Douglas at a bar.  She struck up a conversation with him and, once he discovered she worked for "Page Six", he rudely told her she should find another job before her soul turned black.  She never forgot that encounter with Mr. Douglas and was tempted to bring it up when their paths crossed again after Coyne started working for People.  Instead, she talked to Michael Douglas about playing with his son while they were on vacation.  Douglas, who at that time was recovering from throat cancer, was very happy to talk about his son and Coyne was glad she hadn't mentioned their earlier encounter.

I really enjoyed reading Kate Coyne's book, mainly because I, too, am a bit mesmerized by celebrities.  I get the sense that Coyne and I are about the same age, so some of her anecdotes about her celebrity sightings as a teenager hit close to home for me.  Also, she just seems like a very likable and relatable person.  I felt like she'd be fun to drink wine with, even if she does rub elbows with the rich and famous on a regular basis.

I'm Your Biggest Fan is chock full of interesting stories about Coyne's encounters with A listers like Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lopez, Neil Patrick Harris, and even Wynonna Judd.  She's not afraid to admit to being starstruck, even though her work involves meeting stars.  I found Coyne's self-deprecating wit charming and engaging.  She keeps her tales light and entertaining.  She also reminds readers that television is where the magazine's real bread and butter is.  For instance, she's spent a lot of time talking to Kate Gosselin.  Back before Jon and Kate split up, they were constantly profiled in People. After their divorce, interest intensified for a bit, even though Kate Gosselin is hardly an "A lister".

Many of Coyne's anecdotes are funny.  Some are a bit mortifying.  For instance, she writes about trying the L.A. diet fad involving juice.  "Green juice" is apparently ubiquitous in Los Angeles.  Everybody's drinking it and eating "clean" so they can be super thin.  Coyne, who admits to not being "naturally thin" and trying many different diets in an attempt to stay slim, gave green juice a go.  She drank it almost exclusively for over a month, lost lots of weight, went to a party, and then... suffered the consequences of not eating real food for a month.  Coyne manages to make this story funny and entertaining, even as it also serves as a warning to those who might be tempted to subsist on green juice.  I can already tell that if I ever tried it, Mr. Bill would have a fit.

I think I'm Your Biggest Fan would appeal most to readers who are looking for something fun to read on the beach.  It's definitely heavy on gossip.  I also enjoyed reading this book because I myself enjoy writing.  Coyne gives readers a look at what being a celebrity journalist is like.  Who knows?  She may even inspire a new crop of journalists.

I used to have a subscription to People.  I also used to pick it up in the checkout aisle.  For some reason, I lost interest in People and quit following it some years ago.  Maybe I'll buy another issue, especially since Coyne writes that since 2013, People has quit using paparazzi photos of the children of stars.  While I don't know if that makes People a class act, per se, it does sort of elevate the magazine in my eyes.  Maybe I'd see it as somewhat classier than Us Weekly, anyway.

Anyway, if you enjoy reading about celebrities, I'm Your Biggest Fan might be just the ticket for you.  I enjoyed it.  I think it rates a solid four stars.





   

2 comments:

  1. I've always thought pEOPLE was above Us Weekly. My least favorite feature in Us weekly, which I've only seen while browsing through it at check-out stands, as I will not patronize it, is that obnoxious "Who wore it best?" photo montage of different celebrities in identical or similar outfits, with printed percentages of 'experts' that the magazine has consulted to determine who looked better in the outfit. I know that some scrutiny comes with the territory of being a celebrity, but it's such an ugly way to treat people, celebrity or not. It seems both to be making fun of people even for being so lacking in wealth or class to wear an outfit that wasn't an original so that another celebrity might actually be seen in public wearing the identical (or very similar)outfit and to be poking fun at them for not having spent sufficient time under the knife so that, if the worst thing happens and one is seen wearing the same outfit another celebrity has worn, one might not receive the US weekly distinction of having worn the outfit 'best' [sic]; I think it did actually say "best" and not "better," though I could be wrong, as I haven't touched that rag in years.

    I think I would like the book. I will order it.

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    Replies
    1. Us is pretty trashy. I haven't read it in a long time.

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