Friday, September 29, 2017

"Sometimes you just have to pee in the sink..." yet another book review...

When I used to write book reviews on Epinions.com, I often tried to come up with clever titles.  I don't tend to use clever titles for the book reviews I post on this blog.  I'm not sure why I don't.  Maybe it's because the book reviews aren't the only thing I write about and some people seem to read this blog only for book reviews.

Today, I'm reviewing Jennie Garth's 2014 book Deep Thoughts from a Hollywood Blonde.  I'm pretty sure I decided to read this after seeing it mentioned by my Facebook friend, Garrett, whom I have also met in person a couple of times.  Garrett used to work for Epinions and would come to their fabulous (and much missed) meet n' greets.  He's a big fan of Beverly Hills, 90210 and Michael Jackson, as well as other 80s and 90s era staples of pop culture.


Jennie Garth on a TV show called Brand New Life, pre 90210...  I can see why this pilot didn't take off.

I was not really a fan of Beverly Hills, 90210, although it was a huge hit TV show when I was about to graduate high school.  I didn't know it was on the air until I was in college, and in those days, I didn't always have access to a TV.  The one I did have was a crappy black and white model that was left behind by one of my roommates.  A lot of my friends watched 90210, of course, and you couldn't be a teenager or young adult and not know who Jennie Garth was.  She and her castmates were hugely popular.  As I got older, I did watch Beverly Hills, 90210 a bit, although I was much more partial to Melrose Place, a very successful spinoff.  Jennie Garth helped bridge the two shows when her character, Kelly Taylor, started dating young adult studmuffin Jake Hansen (Grant Show) on Melrose Place.

I guess I decided to read Jennie's book because I just finished reading Maurice White's book.  The late Maurice White, of Earth, Wind & Fire, is kind of one of my heroes.  I probably wanted something lighter and Jennie Garth's book seemed like it would fit the bill nicely.  For the most part, it did exactly what I thought it would do.  Deep Thoughts from a Hollywood Blonde was a relatively quick and easy read.  It also gave me a glimpse at Jennie Garth, who always seemed very glamorous to me.  She and I are only a couple of months apart in age, too.  After reading her book, in some ways, I think we are kind of worlds apart.

Jennie Garth is the result of two parents who had previously been married to other people.  Her mother had three kids from her first marriage.  Her father also had three kids from his first marriage.  Evidently, Jennie's parents each had custody of their kids and they all lived together Brady Bunch like on a farm in Illinois.  Jennie is the one child her parents had together.

Jennie explains that she is much younger than her siblings and was sort of treated like a princess when she was a kid.  She was a total "Daddy's girl" and she loved living on their rural farm in the Midwest.  But then, as Jennie grew older, things began to change.  Her siblings came of age and launched their own lives.  Her father had heart problems, which made it impossible for him to continue his agricultural occupation.  When she was in the throes of adolescence, her parents uprooted her and a couple of her siblings and they moved to Glendale, Arizona.  Supposedly, the dry heat was "healthier" for Jennie's dad.

Garth, whose book was co-written by ghost writer Emily Heckman, explains that she didn't like Arizona and never felt like she was able to fit in there.  Nevertheless, it was the move to Arizona that helped launch her into show business.  Her mother got her involved in a local beauty pageant, which she won.  The pageant helped propel her into modeling and, eventually, she met an agent who saw her on the pageant stage.  When she was sixteen years old, she told her parents she wanted to move to California and try to land acting jobs.  Her mother agreed to let her try for a year.  They moved to California, while Jennie's dad stayed in Arizona.

Jennie Garth found herself welcome in California.  She quickly got her high school equivalency certificate and started taking acting lessons, waiting tables, and attending auditions.  She landed her first bit part on Growing Pains, of all things.  Before long, she found herself meeting the late Aaron Spelling, legendary television producer.  Next thing you know, she's Kelly Taylor on a very successful television series.

Many fans will want to read this book because they hope for anecdotes about Beverly Hills, 90210.  Well, I'm here to tell you that Jennie doesn't dish that much about the show.  This book is mainly about Jennie Garth herself.  She repeatedly explains that she has a terrible memory.  She says it's because she blocks out painful memories from the past.  Interesting that this would come up.  Yesterday, I wrote about "abandonment issues".  Well, it seems Jennie Garth has a few and freely admits to it.  She doesn't have a long memory, although she says she's not a "ditz", as natural blondes are reputed to be.  When she was a teenager, she even had a technique she referred to as "going to Switzerland", which basically meant she'd zone out when people were talking to her.  She called that "going to Switzerland", even though she admits she's never actually been to Switzerland herself.  As a fellow natural blonde who also isn't a ditz and has been to Switzerland, I find it hard to believe Jennie hasn't traveled there.

Although Beverly Hills, 90120 was on the air for ten years and that time period makes up a significant portion of Garth's 45 years on the planet, she keeps her remarks about the show relatively brief.  She doesn't have much to say about most of her other acting projects, either, like What I Like About You, a sitcom she did in the early 00s, or her television movies.  I remember one she produced and starred in, a 1994 made for TV flick called Without Consent.  I was particularly interested in that movie (and it's on YouTube if you're curious) because it was about an abusive "teen help" program.  "Teen help" programs were all the rage in the late 80s and early 90s.  Sadly, she doesn't mention it.  She does write a bit about her successful turn on Dancing With The Stars, though.

Garth has been married three times.  When this book was published, she was somewhat newly divorced from her second ex husband, Peter Facinelli.  I got the sense that she was absolutely gutted by their split.  I wouldn't necessarily blame her for that.  She had three daughters with Facinelli and was married to him for a pretty long time, especially by Hollywood standards.  Evidently, after their breakup, Garth had a hard time pulling herself together.  Fortunately, she was surrounded by a lot of help.  For that reason, I have a feeling some readers will find her kind of entitled.  The next bit will probably make even more readers think she's entitled.

Toward the end of the book, Garth writes about her dog, Pearl.  In 2014, Pearl was still very young and couldn't be left alone in the house.  Garth explains that because of Pearl's "issues", she had her designated an emotional service dog, complete with a special vest.  And it's not because Pearl has any special skills, but because Pearl has emotional issues and can't be left home alone.  While I guess having Pearl designated a service dog solved Garth's issues, it doesn't do much for legitimate service animals who are actually trained.

You might be wondering about the title of this particular review.  Well, it was inspired by a quote from Jennie's book.  Also toward the end of the book, she writes about how she got her act together after her second divorce.  Garth explains that her daughter gave her a book full of funny sayings.  One of the sayings was "Sometimes you just have to pee in the sink."  I thought it was a funny quip, especially given how pristine and "princessy" Garth seemed to me back in the day.  It kind of made me think that underneath that very polished exterior, there's a funny person lurking.  I wish Garth had revealed more of that person in her book.  She writes that she's not a ditzy blonde, but there were times in this book when she's not too convincing.

I notice a lot of readers on Amazon.com who were fans of Garth's mention that the book has some factual discrepancies within it.  Garth doesn't get all of the dates or stories right.  Although I am not a big Garth fan, I do know what it's like when you read something about something you love and the author doesn't get their facts straight.  It comes across as very shoddy.  While I personally didn't notice the errors, true fans have noticed and they aren't pleased.  For that reason, I would recommend that actual fans avoid this book unless they want to experience distress.  On the other hand, as a very casual fan, I would say that Garth comes across as a genuinely pleasant person.  I wasn't turned off by her personality.  She does also include some photos, some of which were pretty fun to look at.  I particularly liked the "band ad" photo she did before she hit the big time.

Anyway... this book is pretty lightweight.  I found it somewhat entertaining, but I think it could have been a lot better.  For that reason, I give it three stars out of five.  On the other hand, right now it's selling for less than $5.  So if you want a cheap and easy read, this one might do it for you... but I'm guessing it won't.



2 comments:

  1. I never really cared for jenny Garth as an actress. Regarding her dog's designation as a service dog, if one has enough money it's probably possible to have almost anything declared almost anything. as someone who has had to get where I am (not all that lofty a place, either) the hard way,I resent that in a way.

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    1. Yeah, there were some other things in the book... like, for instance, she purposely broke all of her dishes as a way of processing her divorce. Then she sold her house and bought a new one. She had hired help to assist her in getting through her tough times. Not that I begrudge her doing whatever it is she has to do to get through bad times, but it does seem a little far removed from the plight of the average person.

      Jennie Garth was once a "normal" person whose family had money problems. She did work to get what she has. It's not a bad thing that she was successful. However, it seems like she kind of lost her grounding when she became famous. Or, at least that's how it seems in her book.

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