Amy Spencer is plucked from the obscurity of her Michigan college, thrown onto the Hollywood fast track and forced to sink or swim. Thankfully, in Lori Culwell’s Hollywood Car Wash, she decides to swim. The result is a charming, witty novel that documents her journey.
When Amy is cast in a television pilot that takes off at a rapid pace, so, too, does her career and celebrity status. Since this lifestyle is nothing like her Midwest upbringing, she relies on her friend Vince (who is trying to break into the scene as a celebrity stylist), her family, her own gut instincts, and (to her detriment) the industry professionals that swarm around her.
Amy attempts to tolerate the choreographing of every component of her life, despite the fact that some of the decisions are inconsistent with her own well-being. She agrees to some radical changes (dubbed a Hollywood car wash) to ensure her physical appearance does not hinder her success. The good news is that the alteration of her hair, skin, teeth, and body size does not prevent Amy from remaining true to herself.
Part of this book’s charm is author Lori Culwell’s obvious extensive knowledge of the entertainment industry in which her characters struggle to exist. Hollywood Car Wash is infused with references to the same celebrity stories that are reported in entertainment magazines, and she provides insight into some celebrity practices that even if you have not heard of (or thought of) before reading this book, would provide a plausible explanation for some of the outlandish celebrity behavior reported in the press. It is true that, just like the many other books in this genre, readers will have to suspend some disbelief to enjoy the book. However, Culwell’s factual foundation for her story makes this suspension effortless and does not detract from the enjoyment it delivers.
The back cover of Hollywood Car Wash indicates that this book is the first in a series, which is great news since I am genuinely interested in Amy’s next adventure. And, of course, the book leaves many questions unanswered - one of which is when readers can expect to see this book on the big screen.