What You Don’t know about Charlie Outlaw by Leah Stewart 

What You Don’t know about Charlie Outlaw by Leah Stewart 

Stewart, Leah 2018.03
Cover image included with permission from G.P. Putnam & Sons

Charlie Outlaw is a television celebrity who has problems. He’s said some extremely honest (and therefore embarrassing) things in an interview, angering the showrunner, his fans, and most of all his girlfriend Josie Lamar, who ends up dumping him over it all. Charlie decides to escape by going on a vacation on a far-away tiny island when he finds that he has real, serious problems, namely that he is kidnapped, unsure if he will ever make it out alive.

The book ensues with parallel narration, going back and forth between Charlie and Josie as they remember their past together and the current situations they both are in. Josie is also a celebrity, although her peak has come and gone, as she was the star of a huge cult show 20 years ago (I imagined her as Sarah Michelle Gellar from Buffy). This book has so many interesting insights on being a celebrity, from interreacting with fans, auditioning, the costs (literal costs, such as how much publicist and stylists charge), and the stress of fame, that I was convinced that Stewart was perhaps a celebrity I had never heard of. Turns out she’s not, but she did extensive research on sets, watching auditions, and interviewing casts and crew, but she could have fooled me. I loved learning about the insights of being an actor, the sincerity and practice of it all, as well as the techniques actors used to fulfill different role types. I have always been aware that acting is difficult, but I had never really considered how it is done or what that experience would be like, and putting myself “in the actor’s chair” was the best part of the novel for me. Stewart is also very good at thinking through emotions, showing the complex way each person feels and how that drives their decision making and reactions.

The story-line is very much character driven, so it’s good that both Charlie and Josie are extremely likeable and sympathetic, their back-stories tying into their current situation as they recall the highs and lows of their relationship. At first the book reminded me a lot of Maria Semple’s books, but then with the kidnapping the story-line turns, well a bit dark at points. While the take on celebrity is novel and very fresh, the story itself moves a bit slowly, doing a thorough job of really fleshing out the characters and their relationships with each other. I would recommend this to someone looking for a new take on a love story, with interesting, realistic, insightful and sympathetic characters, and definitely someone interested in life in Hollywood.

What You Don’t Know About Charlie OutlawWhat You Don’t Know About Charlie Outlaw by Leah Stewart

Published on: March 27, 2018

I read this as: A NetGalley ARC

Women’s History Month Challenge

Women’s History Month Challenge

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March is Women’s history month so to honor my fellow women I’m only reading books by female authors this month. Here are the books I’m committing to reading in March, hopefully I am able to get to them all (all blurbs are from Goodreads)

The French Girl by Lexie Elliott, published 2.20.18 – They were six university students from Oxford–friends and sometimes more than friends–spending an idyllic week together in a French farmhouse. It was supposed to be the perfect summer getaway–until they met Severine, the girl next door. 

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, published 9.12.17 – Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah, published 2.6.18 – Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, published 2.28.17 – Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. 

What you don’t know about Charlie Outlaw by Leah Stewart, expected publication 3.27.18 – After a series of missteps in the face of his newly found fame, actor Charlie Outlaw flees to a remote island in search of anonymity and a chance to reevaluate his recent break-up with his girlfriend, actress Josie Lamar. But soon after his arrival on the peaceful island, his solitary hike into the jungle takes him into danger he never anticipated.

Ayiti by Roxane Gay, expected publication 6.12.18 – bestselling powerhouse Roxane Gay, Ayitiis a powerful collection exploring the Haitian diaspora experience. Originally published by a small press, this Grove Press paperback will make Gay’s debut widely available for the first time, including several new stories.

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey, published 1.9.18 – Bombay, 1921: Perveen Mistry, the daughter of a respected Zoroastrian family, has just joined her father’s law firm, becoming one of the first female lawyers in India. Armed with a legal education from Oxford, Perveen also has a tragic personal history that makes her especially devoted to championing and protecting women’s rights.

I’ve got a few of these on hold at the library and I’m relying on them coming in the next few weeks, so keep your fingers crossed for me that I get them soon! If you’ve read any of these let me know what you think, or read along with me and we can chat about them.

“Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.” —G.D. Anderson