Y’ALL. I ate this book up with a big fat spoon. I saw it on a tweet from Curtis Sittenfeld and followed the Amazon link. When I read the description, my mouse trigger finger immediately went to “buy”.

Movie Star By Lizzie Pepper is the fictional tale of a Hollywood starlet drawn into a romance with a much older man who just happens to be the poster child of something called One Cell Studio and while no one jumps on a couch on national television to declare his love for her, it does feel familiar. Which is exactly why this is the beach read of the summer. I did, in fact, read it on a beach, so that fits!

If you followed the story of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise – and even if you didn’t, it was hard to ignore there for a while, eh? – this book is going to feel familiar. Even though Liftin won’t admit that’s who she patterned it off of – come on. It’s totally them. I’m sure there are loads of things that aren’t factual in it and it’s mostly speculation, but it is a fun Hollywood romp and totally believable.

My husband – the Cute Irishman – and I watched Going ClearHBO’s documentary on Scientology, several months ago and were both riveted. A highly recommended watch, by the way, for anyone fascinated with this “religion” that has such control over Hollywood. One Cell is clearly patterned on Scientology and I’m sure Liftin either has personal friends who have escaped from that cult or read works of those who did.

This is one of those books that you’re going to pick up or ignore based almost entirely on the buzz and the cover, so I know I’m not going to persuade anyone who isn’t already possibly in the bag for this. But if you like “behind the scenes of Hollywood” type books – and boy do I! – then order this one or bum it off a pal. I’m actually passing it on to Penny – bestie extraordinaire –  the next time I see her so she can read it on a upcoming flight.

Drink for this one is the solid but frothy staple Gin and Tonic. As always, I recommend Shortcross Gin if you can find it, but Bombay Sapphire if you can’t, combine either with FeverTree tonic and you are laughing. (“Laughing”, by the way, is Irish vernacular for “grand” or “fabulous”).


Further Reading:

  • Scientology rabbit hole!: So, after watching the aforementioned documentary, I have fallen down a Scientology rabbit hole. If you haven’t watched or read Going Clear, start there. Then head over to Beyond Belief , a story of escape from the group. If you’re really interested, reading Hubbard’s original works is important as well. You can also find lists on the Internet of who in Hollywood is part of this thing.
  • Behind the Scenes books: If you’re looking for a few more factual accounts of Hollywood, check out this list
  • Hollywood novels from Goodreads


I bought this book from Amazon because I have no good independent book shop by me. However, if you do, buy it there! 

Also, I am not interested in some sort of debate about Scientology based on this review. My opinions about the group are my own and I do not seek to convince others of my views in that regard.