Dish, dish, dish! If you are a fan of the late humorist Joan Collins, you are by default a fan of author Josh Sabarra. If you are a fan of the fiction of Joan’s younger sister Jackie Collins, you are by default a fan of Josh Sabarra. You can ring sarcasm from the pages of Sabarra’s sophomore novel, Enemies Closer. A sharp turn from his heartfelt, introspective debut novel, Porn Again: a Memoir, this paperback is nothing less than a guilty pleasure. The plotline focuses on the dowdy and downtrodden mid-level office assistant who finds herself on the fringes of Hollywood’s hoi polloi. Marcee Brookes’ status on the outside initially allows her to critically examine the celebrities’ lives of excess. However, she is quickly swept into this fast lifestyle when she agrees to a blind date with a well-known film star, Brent Wetherley. Protagonist Brookes bounces her anxiety-ridden thoughts off her mother and gay best friend who serves as both her therapist and diary, a plot device that allows the character to remain relatable and down-to-earth. The twists and turns the story takes in the last two chapters leave the reader at first shocked and finally smugly satisfied. Brookes walks off the last page of the novel with her head held high having earned a new level of self-respect and leaves the reader hopeful for a sequel.
A native of Florida via New York and now an LA local, author Sabarra is a long-time industry insider. Having held high-level marketing positions with media front runners such as Disney, Lifetime, and Miramax, Sabarra is uniquely positioned to gain considerable insight into the real-life personality quirks of the celebrities that are loosely mirrored in Enemies Closer. The elite characters all engage in unsavory habits including gossiping about their “friend” who arrives late to the table, returning a glass of bottled water because it contains ice made from tap water, and covertly gulping down meaty appetizers while maintaining a strictly vegan public image.
Sharp-witted one-liners permeate the pages leaving the reader wishing they could come up with fiery observations like: “spinning is a cult, it’s basically Jonestown but with vitamin water instead of Kool-Aid;” “they hand out Emmys like free condoms at a gay men’s health clinic;” and “you’re about 30 dicks too late to be a born again virgin….” Many of which are available in a portable form as part of his merchandise line available at https://joshsabarra.threadless.com/
If you have time to burn this winter and need something to take the edge off the doldrums, pick up a copy of Enemies Closer. It’ll add some break up your tedium with snark. This book is not available in an e-book format but it is available as an audiobook narrated by the supremely experienced voiceover artist, Rachel Fulginiti.
Review & Photographs by Sara Culver Provencio