It may be time for Perez Hilton to adopt a new nickname. Judging by his debut book, “Red Carpet Suicide,” this supposed “Queen of All Media” shows the literary world is one he simply cannot conquer.
Hilton, ne Mario Lavandeira, and his website, PerezHilton.com, have become nothing less than fodder for casual conversation. His extensive knowledge of the goings-on of Hollywood’s rich and famous and over-the-top critiques of “celebutards” have led to profiles in Rolling Stone, the Los Angeles Times and even The New York Times. In 2007, Hilton even expanded his presence in the media with a VH1 television show, “What Perez Sez,” and moved onto the airwaves in May 2008.
So, with his hands in nearly every pot, why was it practically impossible for Hilton to craft an entertaining novel?
Because, in this book, Hilton is telling us what we already know — at least those of us who already read his infamous site. We already know about Roseanne Barr’s vaginal rejuvenation. We already know about Naomi Campbell’s manic-inspired cell phone assaults. And of course, we already know about Paris Hilton’s sex tape. While this wealth of information may be a testament to Hilton’s supreme ability to disseminate gossip to the masses, it comes off as redundant when he writes about it in a fashion that suggests we are not already in the know.
Really, though, spreading celebrity gossip isn’t the aim of this book, though that’s what the novel turns into. Instead, Hilton’s purpose here is to coach others into becoming “hiltons.” In essence, these, Hilton claims, are those celebrities famous for being famous (think Lauren Conrad, Kim Kardashian and so on), and his novel provides us with the proper tools — eating disorders, drug addiction, arranged marriages — so we too can become as respected as these individuals. Please note the sarcasm, as Hilton’s book drips of it but not in a pleasing way.
In fact, Hilton’s debut novel isn’t entertaining at all — and this is coming from a self-avowed PerezHilton.com addict. Hilton’s website is entertaining because his persona comes through so clearly in his vitriolic 100-word or less blog posts. His book, though, is clearly not the appropriate format, and his snarky tone is watered down by the overwhelming number of lists, photos and drawings of genitalia that appear throughout the 248 pages.
But what’s most annoying about “Red Carpet Suicide” — besides the excessive use of exclamation points — is that Hilton fails to fully acknowledge he is on the same level as the “hiltons” he so readily criticizes. In the end, Lauren “L.C.” Conrad might be criticized as someone who became famous for being famous, but Hilton is famous for writing about people who are famous for being famous, and he has clearly employed his book’s idea of “win at all costs” to gain his celebrity.
But this isn’t even the ultimate downfall of Hilton’s debut book. “Red Carpet Suicide” is just flat-out boring, and, instead of any sort of cultural critique, it just reads like the self-help guide for a bipolar fanboy hell-bent on Hollywood domination. Hilton’s best “writing” appears on his website, and he would be best-advised to keep his ponderings there.
1/2 stars out of 5.