Monday, December 22, 2014

A Guilty Pleasure: "The Andy Cohen Diaries"

I debated with myself about whether to post about this book; in other words, I had to decide whether I wanted to admit to reading it. Andy Cohen seems like an amiable, funny television producer, host, and personality. But his shows are lightweight, purely for the sort of guilty entertainment that we all partake in occasionally (don’t we?): his Watch What Happens Live show, and the Real Housewives franchise, most notably. (I have not personally watched any of these, although I have seen glimpses of them, but I am not claiming high ground, as I have watched some equally “bad” shows….). What is appealing about Andy Cohen is that he seems to know very well how unserious his shows are, but acknowledges and shares with viewers the fun of watching something a bit naughty, with no particular “redeeming value.” His (second) book, “The Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look at a Shallow Year” (Henry Holt, 2014), is equally lightweight, and he is equally aware of this, as indicated in the subtitle. So why did I read it? I guess I just felt in the mood for something light, funny, gossipy (he does a lot of name dropping, with some juicy although not-very-consequential revelations, but does so in a mostly non-meanspirited way). And he gives at least the appearance of being candid and self-deprecatory about himself and his life. Along with the hobnobbing with famous people, in beautiful places (clubs, restaurants, awards shows, the Hamptons), he writes affectionately about his parents and besottedly about his new dog. (There is a LOT about his dog.) He writes about friends, dieting, working out, real estate, Manhattan, food, movies, cross-country flights, vacations, and much more. Its 343 pages could perhaps have been condensed a bit; reading it all is a bit like eating way too much candy. But if read just for fun, without too many expectations, it is an enjoyable way to while away a few hours.
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