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Queer Book Nook Blind Item

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Kevin Dickson is a former entertainment journalist and Jack Ketsoyan is a publicist, both of whom claim to have first-hand information on just how corrupt and toxic the goings on of Hollywood can actually be. Together, they’ve taken the incidents which they’ve been privy to throughout their careers and used them to create a series of books.

The title of the first book of the series, ‘Blind Item,’ is telling in and of itself, as a blind item is a news story, that would usually appear in an entertainment or gossip segment, where the incident in question is reported but the identities of those involved is kept hidden. This is basically the premise of this book series, to show these real-life inside stories per book in the series without naming any names. When reading this book, it’s important to bear this in mind. As much as the information inside seems outlandish, unlikely, and downright sensationalised, it’s based on real life events and people.

Nicola, is an up and coming publicist who managed to snag herself a job at a prestigious PR company in Hollywood. She’s from a small town in Ohio and therefore prides herself on having certain rules to keep her from being sucked into the darker side of her career – no dating anyone who takes drugs and no dating any actors. However, Nicola didn’t bank on actor Seamus O’Riordan, who manages to catch her eye effortlessly when they meet at a PR function. They begin a relationship and Nicola is drawn deeper into the world she hoped to avoid. She, along with her flat mates Billy (tabloid journalist) and kara (reality tv star), begins to see just what Hollywood is actually like, especially when the paparazzi threaten to expose everyone’s secrets as money making headlines. 

You could view this book as a cautionary tale, as the reader learns that not everything is as it seems, that just because something is in the news doesn’t mean it’s real, and that if something is too good to be true, then it generally is. Hollywood seems like everyone’s dream. So many people wish to be famous, walking on the red carpet at award ceremonies and living in Beverly Hills with the stars. It’s easy to see the bright smiles and designer outfits and be seduced by it. However, that’s only the surface, and the actual machine which makes Hollywood tick is seedy, drug-filled, and entirely lacks morals. 

The book is quick paced with the action, making it impossible for the reader to get bored as can sometimes happen with slower plots. There are certainly plenty of goings on and it can seem very much like an episode of Love Island gone wrong, in the best possible way. However, it’s important to note that excess action isn’t always for everyone. As much as drugs, parties, sex, and affairs and all sorts of things are exciting and feed into the gossip factor that all people seem to like at least a little, some readers may find the pace of this book a bit overwhelming. There was so  much happening all of the time and the authors went into such intense detail that there were times I barely remember any of the secondary characters within the story. At one or two points they almost seemed to bleed together and it got difficult to remember who did what in these scenes. However, I do think this quick pace is done on purpose, as the book is meant to reflect the real Hollywood that most of us don’t get to see. By all accounts, that side of the industry is very quick-paced. There’s always a scandal, a stunt, a new rising star, or an event, and the book accurately portrays that. It’s worth noting that the scenes go into a lot of detail, so any sexual or drug related scenes are very vivid. 


The book doesn’t contain any trigger warnings, but I feel there should be at least a couple. The sex scenes are very ambiguous and I didn’t always feel comfortable with the level of consent. Another trigger would be the step by step descriptions of people taking drugs at all times and places. Obviously, alcohol overuse was a huge part of the book too. Also, derogatory and hateful language is used rather often in racist and homophobic settings. I found this jarring at times because I hadn’t prepared myself for it. I had read a couple of non-spoiler reviews before reading the book to make sure I knew what I was getting into but none of them mentioned this. Lastly, closetting within the entertainment industry is covered and this could potentially upset or trigger some readers. I do feel that all of these things, although upsetting and uncomfortable, were important to be depicted as they were as this is showing the darker side of Hollywood, but a few warnings at the beginning of the book or perhaps each chapter where these things happened would have gone a long way. 


Another point in this book is that no one, and I mean no one, was a good character. Generally there’s at least one, usually the main character, but in this book everyone lied to a degree, everyone was arsy and made questionable choices, some more than others. It’s very rare to find a book where the characters are varying shades of arsy and it was actually refreshing, if a little bleak. I understand the authors were trying to show the level of corruption in the entertainment industry and that no one is exempt, no matter how highly they think of their moral integrity, but it weighed heavily at times. This was also purposely done, as it was just another way to highlight the unsavoury underbelly of the entertainment industry. The authors certainly managed this admirably, although it could potentially make readers uncomfortable at times.  


In the end, the book makes the reader beg the question, can anyone ever interact with Hollywood, either as a participant in the lifestyle or as someone reporting on it, and remain apart from all the toxicity. It does seem unlikely but it’s by no means an impossibility. Reality and dreams are two very different things and, as long as people keep cautionary tales such as this one in the forefront of their minds, then there’s no reason why they can’t pursue their goals and keep their moral integrity. There’s nothing wrong with sex, drugs, or alcohol per se, but when these things begin to take over your life and negatively affect the person you are, that’s when a change is needed. However, the more people who enter the entertainment industry with a clear idea of what this world is really like, the more chance there is for positive change to make the industry a safer, less toxic environment for all involved.

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