Review of THE SECOND ASSISTANT by Clare Naylor & Mimi Hare
A TALE FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE HOLLYWOOD LADDER
Viking, May 2004
Elizabeth Miller decides to change her career path from politics to Hollywood, and she's in for the culture shock of her life. She's hired as the second assistant to an ego-centric, drug-addicted but high-power agent--which means she gets every kind of abuse imaginable heaped on her and then some. Any normal person would have gone screaming back to Washington after the first week. But, somewhat perversely, Elizabeth is determined to stick it out--especially after she reads a script written by the guy who blends her lattes at the coffee shop. She recognizes brilliance, and she decides she wants to become a producer.
I had to admire Elizabeth's poise and patience. With a few notable exceptions, she always seems to know what to say and do in the most impossible situations so that she doesn't lose her job (an ever-present risk). And her indifference to an amorous Hollywood heartthrob who was not used to hearing the word "no" made me want to cheer. I could not stop turning the pages as Elizabeth got herself into and out of one impossible situation after another as players and backstabbers took their turns with her. And though she navigated the shark-infested waters with aplomb, her emotional vulnerability was touching.
I can't say the ending did much for me. While most things were wrapped up in a satisfying manner, I thought Elizabeth deserved more than she got in the end. Perhaps there's a sequel in the works?
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