Written by: Tom Hardej, Special to CC2K
What does a Hollywood princess have to say for herself? Read on!
There’s no need to adjust your monitors, and April Fool’s Week is over. This is an actual review of Tori Spelling’s new book Mommywood. I read it so you don’t have to!
So how many of you read her last book, sTORItelling? Show of hands. I know some of you did because it sold a boatload of copies and was a #1 New York Times bestseller. Part of that had to do with her clever marketing of herself as a camp icon. She believes it and sells it. She’s a brand and she’s proud of it. But part of it had to do with the fact that it’s actually a well-written, good book. (Props here should be given, of course, to the co-writer, Hilary Lifton, who probably will never get enough credit for the excellent work she’s done on both books.)
Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t actually think there’s anything interesting about Tori Spelling. I never watched 90210 (though I might, if pressed, say I enjoyed her on Saved by the Bell). If I’m flipping through the channels and I happen upon her reality show, Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood, I may linger for a second, but I would never watch an entire episode. Even so, there is something totally captivating about sTORItelling. I don’t care how she feels about Shannon Doherty or about her mother’s dolls, but I couldn’t stop reading.
sTORItelling is about her past, and Mommywood is about Tori’s recent present—what’s happened in between the two books. She would have us believe that what it’s really about is what it’s like to be a mom, the trials and tribulations, the hard stuff and the easy stuff. And there are plenty of anecdotes to support that. Baby catches the couple having sex! Baby prefers daddy to mommy! Poop in the pool! If you don’t quite make it through the whole book—I won’t judge you for it—that’s what you would get out of it. It would be mildly amusing, just like the reality show (wait, I said I don’t watch it!), or any other well-written celebrity book about parenting. But I’m going to argue that it’s actually much less generic than that.
Tori, her husband Dean, and the kids move to the suburbs of Los Angeles to get away: from the Hollywood craziness, away from her feud with her mother, away from the tabloids, and away to a neighborhood where their kids can have normal lives. You know, the kind of normal where you life is filmed and aired on the Oxygen network.
This works for a while. They socialize with the neighbors and even take part in their yearly block party. But something isn’t right. When Tori and Dean try to erect a gate in front of their house, one neighbor freaks out and tells people that the cameras are there because they’re filming a porno. The neighbors still treat them differently, but pretend not to, rather unconvincingly.
Even though normal things may happen to Tori Spelling (remember the poop in the pool!), she will never be “normal,” not the way that we regular people know it. She’s a celebrity. She always has been and always will be. And she loves every minute of it. No one has made her write these books. No one forced her to sell jewelry on QVC. No one has a gun to her head on the red carpets. While it’s cute that she acts like she has problems like the rest of us (she has to work for a living!), she still gets to hang out with Gwen Stefani at P. Diddy’s daughter’s birthday party. She still gets to co-host The View. Tori knows this of course, and finally has to accept it. Living in suburbia with the kids is fun in theory, but it doesn’t work. She can never escape her celebrity. In the end she decides to be okay with that, and so she moves her family to a bigger house, in a more secluded area, with a big gate to keep the paparazzi out. I almost feel bad for her, because she has tried so hard to be both things: normal and famous. Letting go of the former is probably hard, and probably can be lonely at times. (See also: Britney Spears’ “Lucky.”) I say I almost feel bad for her because then I remember. P. Diddy. Gwen Stefani. She doesn’t seem to have it so bad.