From one of America's most beloved television actresses: A sharply observed, comedic novel about the flipside of fame--and a fresh take on Hollywood in all its outrageous, entertaining glory.
On the outside, Kate Keyes-Morgan seems to have it all: a starring role on the hit television series Generations, a handsome husband who is also her manager, a stick-thin figure, and a career that, after a Kirstie Alley-style slide, is finally back on track. At the age of thirty, Kate knows what it's like to have the tabloids turn on you, and she never wants it to happen again. Thank goodness her husband, Hamilton, is there to manage her every move--even if the strict dieting and morning weigh-ins are becoming more than she can manage.
But when Hamilton leaves her for another actress on Generations, the ruthless diva Sapphire Rose, Kate suddenly finds herself in charge of her own life. Now she must decide whether she's ready to stop playing by the Hollywood rulebook and discover who she really is. With the help of her wise-cracking friend and tough-love hairstylist, Paige, and Michael, a high-powered film agent who secretly dreams of becoming a novelist, Kate begins to question her role in an industry that venerates appearance, money, and fame above all else, and that applies ceaseless pressure on women to always be thinner, younger, and more beautiful, at any cost.
From high fashion to on-set antics to the real-life whispers about celebrities that even the tabloids never tell, Courtney Thorne-Smith depicts the entertainment world as only an insider can. Yet beneath the glamorous facade lies a natural-born writer with a gift for comic timing and shaping memorable characters. If you've ever wanted to experience life in the spotlight or wondered what goes on behind dressing room doors, Outside In is your invitation into the glittering world of Hollywood's biggest stars.
Television actress Thorne-Smith, who has had roles on (among other shows) Melrose Place and According to Jim, delivers a Hollywood novel about a failed movie actress who finds new life as the star of a nighttime soap called Generations. But Kate Keyes-Morgan's life, glamorous on the outside, is still less than perfect. This put-upon heroine has issues with weight and self-worth, and an overly controlling manager/husband to please. Her problems reach a head when she learns that her husband is having an affair with Sapphire Rose, Kate's diva-like co-star. How Kate deals with this dual betrayal forms the dramatic core of a thin story prone to the classically shallow emotional highs and lows associated with soap operas. Except for vibrant Kate, the characters--Kate's eccentric mother, her wisecracking best friend and her nominal love interest (an agent who improbably dreams of being a novelist)--seldom move beyond their stereotypical origins. A typical Hollywood ending caps the story, but getting there is not nearly as much fun as it should be. (Sept.)
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-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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September 16, 2007
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Excerpt from Outside In by Courtney Thorne-Smith
Kate stood frozen in her bathroom doorway, bracing herself for the inevitable, the unavoidable, the potentially painful moment dreaded by women everywhere: the morning weigh-in. Was it just her imagination or did the scale actually seem mean this morning, like the mechanical version of a popular yet cruel sixth-grade girl? Maybe it was the ungodly hour of the morning (four-thirty) or the fact that she hadn't had her coffee yet (the resultant weight-reducing "release"), but she could swear that the scale had seemed friendlier yesterday.
"For the love of god," she whispered to herself, "calm down. It is only a scale, only a silly number." Unfortunately, she had "only a lingerie scene" to shoot today and whatever the scale said would soon be reflected on camera and then on television screens across America for all of rerun eternity. Taking a deep breath and holding it in (in the faint hope of creating an "airier" self), Kate stepped onto the scale and watched as the small digital screen computed her weight, body fat, hydration level, and probably her credit score.
Oh shit, shit.
Feeling dizzy, Kate braced herself on the edge of the sink. Her precoffee brain was having difficulty processing the information: how could she have gained five pounds? Stepping off the scale, she said a quick prayer to the god of arbitrary-numbers-upon-which-to-base-one's-self-esteem, removed her Cosabella thong panties (all of that lace must weigh a ton), and got back on the scale.
"How's it looking?" Kate jumped as her husband, Hamilton, entered the bathroom--both because she was surprised to see anyone else in her bathroom at four-thirty a.m., and also because she wanted to create as much distance as possible between her body and the number shining up from the digital scale. He wasn't fooled.
"Oh, Kate," Hamilton groaned, somehow summoning the energy to accomplish the disappointment trifecta of head shake, eyebrow crease, and judgmental lip purse, all before his first cup of organic green tea. "How could you let this happen? You know how important this is, Katie. You know we need to show everyone how much better you are doing."
"Better," meaning thinner. Thinner than she had been three years ago, when her career had stalled after a promising start on a short-lived nighttime soap, when nights spent eating out with the proceeds from her first high-paying gig had added up to the Hollywood version of the freshman fifteen, complete with paparazzi shots and cruel nicknames in the tabloids. By the time Hamilton had approached her with the promise to reenergize her young career and rid her of "Katie the Cow" forever, she had been so grateful for the positive attention that she had quickly signed over the management of her career. Two months later, when the weight started to come off and the work offers began to come in, she'd happily signed over the management of the rest of her life when Hamilton surprised her with a proposal during her comeback appearance on Regis and Kelly. Three months later, in the wedding photos published in People magazine--not the cover, but a full two-page spread, nonetheless--Kate looked stunning in her (size 4!) Vera Wang gown, her curly brown hair streaked with copper highlights and painstakingly straightened as per Hamilton's detailed instructions. He wanted to model Kate's wedding-day look after Jennifer Aniston's ethereal beauty on the day she married Brad Pitt, even going so far as to hire Jennifer's hair and makeup team. The team had done their best, working their magic for four exhausting hours, but no amount of hair product or bronzer could change the freckled, fresh-faced, undeniably Irish Kate into a Greek goddess. Hamilton almost succeeded in covering his disappointment when she walked down the aisle, but Kate saw the flash of disillusionment in his eyes and silently vowed to do whatever it took to guarantee that Hamilton never again regretted his investment in what he lovingly referred to as his "chubby little has-been."
This morning, his tone made clear she had failed them both.
Kate hurried to wrap a towel around her traitorous body, feeling very small and hugely fat at the same time. "I know this looks bad," she stammered. "But, I mean, it's just five pounds. I mean, seriously, we're probably the only ones who will even notice...right?" She didn't believe the words as she said them, and she could tell by her husband's irritated sigh and the oh-so-subtle shake of his handsome head that he didn't believe them either.