BOOK REVIEW: Queen of the Oddballs by Hillary Carlip

Author of Queen of the Oddballs Hillary Carlip is a bit of a female Forrest Gump. Not because she has sub-normal intelligence and rambles about the similarities between life and Thorntons's finest (she doesn't!) but because she seems to have been on the edge of so many pop cultural moments: from stalking (sorry, "befriending") seventies songbirds Carly Simon and Carole King, to having a bit part in Xanadu with Olivia Newton-John, seeing John Cusack with his zit cream on and being all but ignored by Oprah on an episode dedicated to her first book (and much more besides!) Hillary's seen it, done it and taught herself to juggle and breathe fire (really). Her memoir's subtitle is "...true stories from a life unaccording to plan". Very, very apt!

I simply loved this book. Part of its charm is, to be honest, that Carlip has a lot of quirky celebrity stories to share (I guess growing up in L.A will do that). But the biggest selling point of the book is Hillary's sense of humour, wit, and honesty. She's not afraid to make herself look stupid or insecure if it makes her story more honest and true, and that's what I responded to most. There are moments of almost unbearable poignancy, especially towards the end of the book, which made me weep. But more than anything, this book made me laugh.

The book moves chronologically and at the start of each chapter, there's a summary of events from that time period (usually illustrated with a picture of the author at the time) which I found informative and very entertaining. Example from 1980: " I use a whole sheet of paper to remind myself to try the newly released product by 3M -- post its." The author also uses different formats for some of the chapters (a script, a diary, a letter to Olivia Newton-John) but this never becomes gimmicky or annoying, which must be a reflection on the talent of the writer.

Hillary really is an interesting and unique individual who's taken an inspiring yet down-to-earth "Oddball" journey through life. And I'm so happy she decided to write about it!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

*DID YOU KNOW?* Hillary is also a talented web visionary. You can check out her home page here, with links to her other fabulous sites, including the Queen of the Oddballs site. (So pretty!)


Queen of the Oddballs: And Other True Stories from a Life Unaccording to Plan
by Hillary Carlip