Laguna Beach: Life Inside The Bubble
Kathy Passero and Beth Efran , MTV Books 2005
Are you a fan of Laguna Beach? Have you been staying up at night, wondering what Stephen, Lo, LC, Talan, Jason, and the rest of the gang were like in elementary school? Not really? Well, if you are truly devoted to the show, maybe you'll find this book engrossing.
Myself, I was only a casual viewer. I watched it the way I watch most MTV shows - when I'm feeling lazy on the weekend, unable to commit to watching any of the movies that are clogging my Tivo, and stumble across an MTV marathon. So, I spent an afternoon with the gang of Laguna Beach, over a year ago. When I went to read this book, I found myself having little recollection of the characters. I would read the often cute, occasionally amusing stories about the pre-teen Kristin, Lauren, and Lo and then flip to the color photos in the middle of the book and try to figure out who was who. It was no use - the girls all looked remarkably blond and similar. To make it even more confusing, some of them had the same first name: Alex H. and Alex M., Morgan and Morgan S. I broke the spine of the book by flipping to the middle so frequently, and I still couldn't keep everyone straight.
The book starts out promisingly, retelling the big "Stephen, Lauren, Kristin" love triangle/blow up that was the main drama of the show's first season. But that's where the juicy stuff ends. Instead of delving deeper into the high school drama, the authors take us back in time to the cast members' idyllic childhoods. I guess it's interesting, for true fans, to see how they all came to live in Laguna Beach, who their first friends were, and who dated in 4th grade. But really, their childhood tales of cliques and fishing trips are no more interesting than our own stories from beyond the bubble.
The book seems to be written for a pre-teen audience. It reminds me of the kind of book I bought through those book orders in grade school, slim paperbacks with titles like "Hot CBS Stars of 1978" where you'd get brief, fluffy biographies of Lou Ferrigno and Heather Thomas. I would always pad my book orders with something like that so I could be sure to order the required 3 items in order to get the free poster of a baby seal.
Despite my confusion over the cast and general disengagement, I managed to read the entire book. I gained some important insights by contemplating these anecdotes and ruminating on the hard lessons these kids learned that prepared them for their cut-throat teen years.
If you're a die-hard Laguna Beach fan and want to know how well your heroes did in little league and in ballet lessons, go get this book. If you're looking for a book with the trashy fun of the show, read Valley of the Dolls instead.
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