there are starter jobs. starter cars. starter houses. and then there are starter wives.
From the bestselling author of Maneater comes The Starter Wife, a sexy, savvy, and wickedly funny novel about life after divorce and one woman redefining herself after years of marriage to a Hollywood studio head.
When her husband Kenny dumps her by cell phone mere months before their ten-year wedding anniversary, Gracie Pollock finds herself reeling. Though her nine-year role as the wife of a semifamous Hollywood studio executive often left her dry and she never fully embraced the "status" (according to Kenny), Gracie has grown accustomed to the unique privileges afforded by Tinseltown's brand of power and wealth: reservations at Spago on a Friday night; beauty treatments by dermatologists (Arnie), manicurists (Jessica), and colorists (Cristophe) to the stars; line-jumping at Disneyland with her daughter and Ugg-wearing celebrity offspring. And despite the fact she had consented to name their daughter Jaden in a (failed) attempt to lure Will Smith to one of Kenny's productions, Gracie believed she and Kenny were different from other Hollywood couples. She never thought she'd be a starter wife. But now that her marriage is over, her phone isn't ringing, her mailbox is empty, and it's only through a faux pas by her world-class florist that she learns her husband has upgraded: Kenny is dating a pop tartlet.
With images of Kenny's 'tween queen everywhere she turns, Gracie seeks refuge at her best friend's Malibu mansion for some much-needed divorce therapy. Soon she's associating with all the wrong people, including a mysterious hunk who saves her from drowning, the security guard at her gated community, and -- God forbid -- Kenny's boss, one of Hollywood's better-known Lotharios.
With her signature wit, sassy style, and cameos of the rich and famous -- and wannabe rich and famous -- Gigi Grazer tackles the most delicious and dastardly details of a divorce and recovery, Hollywood style.
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May 31, 2005
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Excerpt from The Starter Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer
Chapter 1: Married, with Onion Rings
Cellulite massage is not for the faint of heart. Which is what Gracie Pollock was thinking as her thighs were pounded by the grunting Russian woman who left her bruised, swollen, and otherwise disfigured every other Monday at three o'clock for the last five years. Gracie's calendar was filled with benign-sounding yet brutal "treatments": Tuesdays were hair (blow-dry, cut, and highlights, if needed), Wednesdays were waxing or plucking, Thursdays belonged to dermabrasion or acid peels or any variety of activities involving needles and the hope of Insta-Youth, Fridays were off days, save for the second blow-dry of the week, when Gracie would compare her week of treatments to her friends' week of treatments over lunch at The Ivy.
You want irony For the privilege of emerging from a session with Svetlana looking like she'd been locked in a freak dance with Mike Tyson, Gracie would write a check out to "Cash" for $250 and hand it over with shaking hands.
Svetlana left the room, leaving behind an imprint of garlic cloves and generations of suffering on the air. There were countless other Wives Of to punish, those who bought into the myth of defeating the onslaught of age with a pair of hardened Russian fists. Gracie groaned and leaned up from the damp, tacky massage table (a nice way of putting the modern equivalent of the rack) and onto her elbows. She willed her eyes open, her lids feeling like the only part of her body that had escaped Soviet vengeance. She slowly twisted her head to the side to assess the damage in the veined, mirrored tile lining the walls. Mirrored tile, Gracie thought, all the rage when Sylvester, the lisping Supreme Ruler of Disco, was at the top of the charts. "For a tax-free two-fifty a pop," Gracie muttered, "Svetlana the Terrible could swing a subscription to Elle Decor."
But the veined tile with the mirrored surface served its purpose. Here's the scoop. Gracie Pollock looked ridiculously good in that her polished exterior straddled the territories claimed by both adjectives, ridiculous and good. Each time Gracie peered at her reflection, she was startled, as though she had run into a formerly plain-wrapped high school friend who had transformed herself into a middle-aged version of Jessica Simpson. What are the odds of looking better at forty than at sixteen Gracie thought to herself. About the same as crapping a gleaming pile of Krugerrands.
Let's start with the hair. Said hair being the color of that expensive European butter no one can pronounce. Domestic butter, according to Gracie's colorist, not being, well, buttery enough. And this hair was thick. Thick, as though somewhere in the Hamptons, Christie Brinkley had awakened looking like Michael Chiklis with hips. Gracie's original mousy brown, tongue-in-light-socket chicken wire had been colored and wrestled and yanked and stretched and stretched again into submission by a fine-boned man of unknown sexual and other identity named Yuko, then brightened with highlights every three weeks and lengthened with extensions, rewoven every twelve weeks. Her forehead was as unlined as the hood of a new Porsche, due to the same poison found in warped green bean cans she was warned about as a child. Her lips were soft and full. Thank you, the pitiless Collagen God. The teeth Straight and white. The teeth were hers. The teeth, she'd grown herself.
I did grow those teeth myself, right Gracie thought.