While Going Down in La-La Land is not a romance, I think that the romance readers will enjoy it (and there is a love story too). Andy Zeffer’s clone in the novel, Adam Zeller, is a wanna-be actor searching for the right chance in a sometime uncaring LA (La-La Land of the title); sounds familiar? It should be since it’s more or less the same story for every guy and girl wanting to be an Hollywood star, but of 1.000 trying, only 1 probably manages to reach the target, and the other 999 have to renounce to their dream after some more or less hard slap on their faces. What is probably even more familiar is that sometime the target is missed by a shot and the young boy or girl ends in the p. industry; not always this is a mark you cannot remove from your resume (I think to remember there are even rumors of some p. movie by Brad Pitt…), but most of the time it’s a mark you cannot remove from your soul. Adam is unapologetically gay and as soon as he realizes he has bills to pay and not steady work to gain money, it’s without much second thoughts that he enters the p. industry. Sure, at first it’s as assistant, but then he accepts to be on the tape and at the same time to turn tricks for wealthy businessmen and closeted actors. The outcome of this decision it’s obviously not positive, and even if probably Adam finds the true love of his life, he will not be able to live it in a romance-like way, since, as I said at the beginning, this is not a romance, and I suppose instead it’s pretty much what happened in real life to Andy Zeffer.
Andy Zeffer has even an IMDb page, like the one Adam has, and the most notable role is that of Rick Daniels in The Fluffer, a movie about the p. industry in Los Angeles (fluffer is that guy helping a p. actor to reach erection before the money shot) and in the novel Adam will manage a role in The Voyeur, “a behind the scene drama about the gay porn industry” (truth to Andy, he is also an extra in the more famous Celebrity by Woody Allen, something that Adam will not be able to achieve). From what I know Andy Zeffer’s career as an actor was pretty much similar to Adam and in an interview in 2006, to the question if Going Down in La-la Land was semi-autobiographical, Andy answered “Let’s just put it this way – you don’t have to search too hard to find naked pictures of me on the Internet.” Now, I didn’t, and actually haven’t searched for those naked pictures, but the one picture I found on that IMDb profile is of a really handsome man (see attached reference)… one proof more that good looks and willingness not always are a sure card to the stardom.
It seemed I spent a lot talking about Andy, but actually I was pretty much summarizing Adam’s experience in the novel. If you follow my suggestion and decide to read this novel, don’t be too worried for Adam’s fate: while he maybe will not be able to satisfy his Hollywood dreams, like Andy he will find another target to pursue, one that probably will give him more satisfactions. And if after worrying for Adam in the novel, you moved those worries to Andy, the good news is that there is a new credit on Andy Zeffer’s IMDb profile: that of “writer” for the script of Going Down in La-La Land; the movie has already premiered in various festival and will be probably soon available in DVD. I hope to be able to see and review it soon, above all since there are some dear friends (Jesse I’m talking of you) in it.
On a closing note I’d like to highlight the writing style: it was very open and direct, short chapters that sometime had the feeling of a journal entry (and that was good since all the novel actually read, and has to, like a memoirs); reading all the chapters together was like eating cherries, one after the other you didn’t realize you had almost finish the whole. Even if Adam has never got it "easy", the story was never "dramatic" and that was mainly due to the approach of Adam (Andy?) to life; maybe he hasn't always taken the right decisions, but in the end he will be able to see what is good for him (even if it can/will break his heart).
Amazon: Going Down in La-La Land
Amazon Kindle: Going Down in La-La Land
Paperback: 252 pages
Publisher: Southern Tier Editions; 1 edition (May 1, 2006)
Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading%20list&view=elisa.rolle