Saturday, May 23, 2009

book review: stories from candyland

Stories from Candyland is one of those books that's really hard to review for a simple reason: it's not good, but I absolutely loved it. I don't think it's a coincidence the reviewers at Amazon are equally divided between 5 stars and 1 star ratings.

I am a huge fan of Tori Spelling's faux reality show So NoTorious, and I read STori Telling and enjoyed it. I've seen a lot of Beverly Hills, 90210 episodes in my time, and I am pretty well-versed in the Spelling universe. I can't say I had much of an opinion of Candy going into the book. From Tori's stories in her first autobiography and the hilarious anecdotes from the show (brilliantly played by Loni Anderson), I gathered she was a little cooky.

Stories from Candyland is a completely bizarre autobiography because it's not even remotely chronological. I imagine her writing it, appearing at the computer, and deciding what to write that day, and keeping the book in the same order. There are ridiculous gaps in what is interesting: how she came to be married at 17, then divorced; how she came to meet Aaron Spelling; the relationship with her former "friend" and alleged lover; her relationship with Tori. Candy merely alludes to these omissions. Is she hankering for another book deal? I hope so!

In all seriousness, I've read a lot of children's literature last semester. A recurring theme was the ability of authors to employ a child as a protagonist and have the reader understand both how the child viewed his or surroundings and knowledge of what was actually going on . Candy Spelling is a child protagonist. Part of the book's joy is hearing her tell stories and knowing what's actually happening, even though I'm confident she has little to no idea. She often speaks directly to Tori in the pages of the book.

Candy Spelling is delightful, and I would hate for her to be my mother. I want to go to her home, drink wine, talk to her, then go home and deconstruct everything she said and did. Stories From Candyland is a small window into her world, and although I don't particularly like her or respect her, I find her immensely fascianting, and I loved the book. I cannot wait for Mommywood to arrive for me at the library. I also plan to read Aaron Spelling's co-written memoir, A Prime-Time Life.

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5 stars).

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