The Diary Of A C-List Celeb
Languishing a good few rungs below Keith Chegwin and Su Pollard on the showbiz ladder, but above that scouse bloke who won the first series of Big Brother, minor TV personality Simon Peters feels he’s doomed to a career in the celebrity limbo of daytime game shows and home shopping channels.
He never seems to be invited to the right parties and invariably sleeps with all the wrong people; his agent has trouble remembering his name and even his stalker is more famous than he is. And just when things couldn’t get any worse (and let’s be honest, who’s ever won a BAFTA playing panto in Grimsby?) the plug is pulled on his TV show and stardom beckons his worst enemy.
But, however riddled with insecurities he may be, Simon knows he’s got what it takes to make it, and he’s not going to let a silly little thing like a complete lack of talent get in the way.
Giving fame a long overdue (but not too hard) slap on the wrist, Diary of a C-List Celeb is a wickedly funny, deliciously observed novel of burning ambition, unrequited love, celebrity punch-ups and serial bad dressing by a new literary talent who knows this world all too well.
I’ll admit right now that I can be a fussy old soul when it comes to books. I generally hate chick lit and cheesy love stories, and I have the attention span of a mop with ADHD, so unless a book completely absorbs me then I will most likely give up on it halfway through. I’ve been known to just randomly wander around book shops until I see something that catches my eye (quite literally judging a book by its cover!) which has inevitably led to me buying some total stinkers. But it was through this process that I found what has since become one of my favourite ever books.
Diary of a C-List Celeb follows the life and career of Simon Peters, a fame-hungry daytime gameshow presenter looking for the big break in showbusiness that he feels he deserves. Though he’d probably settle for anything that prevents him from spending the rest of his life doing panto in Grimsby. Diary chronicles an eventful year in Simon’s life, where his irrational obsession with reaching the A-List sees him battle stalkers, ignore the well-meaning advice of his best friend, and make some hilariously bad fashion choices.
As you can probably guess, the narrative takes the form of Simon’s diary entries, and though it can be a bit awkward sometimes (some entries going into a little too much detail for what is supposed to be a personal diary for Simon’s eyes only) in general it works very well. You see everything from Simon’s point of view, so you really get to know him, and get inside his head. Like most fame-seekers, Simon is incredibly delusional and self-centred, and some of things he does make you wish he was a real person so you could hunt him down and slap him in the face for being so stupid. But you also empathise with him when he goes through the same tribulations as the rest of us; from the embarrassing one night stand with a co-worker, to his dysfunctional relationship with his father.
The story does seem to have a slight autobiographical feel to it, as Paul Hendy was a minor TV personality himself back in the day. As the author bio says: “You may have seen him hosting such shows as Wheel of Fortune, which had been running successfully for 20 years until Paul did one series and they cancelled it”. You can tell the author has first-hand experience of what he’s writing about, and the numerous endorsements from actual C-Listers on the inside cover suggest he’s got the fickle nature of the TV industry absolutely spot-on. Well, either that or he paid them all to say nice things about this book (I’m not ruling this out).
I love this book, I’ve re-read it several times and I still laugh at all the same parts. It probably won’t change your life, and there’s no deep, profound message at the end of it (apart from “never become addicted to 24-hour shopping channels”). But if you want a good, light-hearted book that will keep you laughing and entertain you during the commute, then you can do no worse than Diary of a C-List Celeb.