Whackadoodle Times
by Kim Antieau (2012)

Brooke McMurphy is having one helluva week. Brooke’s well-constructed dysfunctional life in Hollywood begins to unravel when a homeless woman comes to live with her and her family and the studio asks her to sex up her husband’s script for Zombie Town-the movie he believes will save the world. Then there’s the raging wildfires, earthquakes, and zombies, oh my! It may be just another week in Hollywood, but for Brooke, it could be the most important week of her life.

The book starts out well, it’s written in first person and has a sharp, witty and sarcastic tone. Given the cover and blurb, I was expecting a comedic farce. And at first that is what it is. Brooke turns out to be a drunk, egotistical manic and soon it’s apparent she is an unreliable narrator. So the first half of the book is promising and fun. Then in the second half things change, the tone becomes more serious. Her relationship with son, daughter and (many) men comes to the fore and soon it loses it’s edge and becomes more of a romantic story with an attempt at an uplifting ending.
It’s not that the book is a failure. The writing shows some real narrative skill in prose, pacing and characters. But the author seems to be wanting to do too much in this short novel. The problem here is that the anticipation conveyed by the marketing and initial chapters just isn’t carried out to a fulfilling ending.