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    Review of COLORS INSULTING TO NATURE by Cintra Wilson (see her website)

    Fourth Estate, August 2004

    While in a drunken depression, Peppy Normal discovers her life-path from the movie Fame. She'll enroll her children in the New York High School of Performing Arts--on their way to become celebrities. Their modest talent didn't matter--she'd incorporated the lessons of the movie deeply into her life. Unfortunately, that also meant inflicting them on her daughter, Liza. The first step toward New York was, perversely, in the opposite direction--to California. There Peppy opens the Normal Dinner Theater (where dinner was never served) and dresses pre-Freshman Liza like a tramp to take her to auditions and cattle-calls.

    With this background, Liza grows up (to the extent her aging process can be called growing up) confused and waiting for that one magical break. A colony of elves teaches her to use drugs to help the breakthrough and she tries this. While her brother retreats into himself, Liza takes the opposite course, finally ending up in L.A. in an ultimate moment of degradation and humiliation. The one thing she finds that she can make money at has no appeal to her. She wants to be a famous singer--no matter how modest her talent.

    Author Cintra Wilson teases the reader with author notes, and sends us on a roller-coaster rides of laugh-out-loud humor (certainly the performance of Sound of Music qualifies) and dark depression. The curse of fame and the easy myths that Hollywood perpetuates conspire to keep Liza from enjoying the few good things that do happen to her--there's always hope of that big break just around the corner.

    Wilson's writing style is conversational, engaging the reader. Her characters are definitely over-the-top, but Liza's horrible high school experience will ring true with many readers, and who hasn't toyed with the notion that they are only a discovery away from being a star. COLORS INSULTING TO NATURE is a fascinating and highly readable novel. I recommend it.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 12/02/04

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