We’re not sure we can be objective about More Like Her, the new novel from author Liza Palmer. That’s because she’s family — a writer for VH1’s Pop Up Video. So rather than review the book, we invited her to write a guest blog about it, the world of celebrity and which celebrities she dreams of casting in the movie adaptation.
I’ve been writing books for almost 10 years and wrote for the first season of VH1’s Pop Up Video in 2011. My books, like my life, have explored the idea of identity and being comfortable with who you are, warts and all. What is this “normal” we’re all reaching for? Clearly, after four books, I’m still trying to figure it out. But, with More Like Her I wanted to raise the stakes a bit. I wanted something to happen that couldn’t be taken back with an apology or a conversation.
Liza’s fantasy casting for More Like Her.
We all know celebrities are airbrushed, both their photos and their lives. And yet, we keep striving for it: that same Photoshopped perfection. We imagine there’s some green room awaiting us with everything Gwyneth Paltrow promises on Goop, a tablescape by Martha Stewart and an outfit from J. Crew that will look better on us than it does on the first lady.
But perfection doesn’t exist. And we know it. That doesn’t stop us from scrambling for it day in and day out. What are we all hiding? To answer this question, here are just a couple of the comments left after gossip blogs posted a photo of Scarlett Johansson wearing a bikini while on vacation in Hawaii:
“Ugh… spotty knees, hair can be seen on her right calf area!!”
“Effing gross. She lost her t–s and her ass exploded like a bowl of cottage cheese.”
Do we fear that the people in our lives will suddenly morph into those anonymous trolls who leave comments like these on the Internet? Or do we know the truth: The quest for perfection is threatening to become a competitive sport as potentially dangerous and deadly as the Hunger Games. And we all play to win. Every day.
I wrote More Like Her because I wanted us to start a discussion about this quest for perfection and how it threatens both body and soul. Those comments that those trolls left about Scarlett Johansson? Let’s face it, we probably said worse to ourselves in the mirror this morning. In the book, Emma Dunham is everything we want to be. She’s thin, beautiful, wears clothes that don’t wrinkle, lipstick that doesn’t smudge – and her right calf area is definitely devoid of unsightly hair. To my main character, Frannie Reid, Emma Dunham has it all. Frannie is dead wrong.
[Photo: Getty Images, Harper Collins]