de Vries, Hilary
DE VRIES, Hilary
Female. Education: Received M.F.A. in creative writing.
Freelance journalist and novelist.
So Five Minutes Ago (a novel), Villard (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor to numerous magazines and newspapers, including Vogue, Rolling Stone, W, Vanity Fair, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times.
Hilary de Vries worked as a Hollywood journalist for ten years before writing So Five Minutes Ago, a satirical exposé of celebrity culture and industry backbiting in Tinseltown. The first-person narrative relates the discontent of Alex Davidson, a single, thirty-something Hollywood publicist whose job, though ostensibly glamorous, primarily involves waiting hand and foot on egotistical movie stars. Alex's agency, DWP, specializes in rehabilitating faded and fallen stars such as Alex's client Troy Madden, a sexy young actor whose career is waylaid by a serious drug habit. Though cynical and jaded, Alex finds a potential love interest in Charles, a coworker, but fears for her job when DWP is bought out by another firm, ominously named BIG.
Described by a Publishers Weekly reviewer as "fun, lightweight and gossipy," So Five Minutes Ago was welcomed by critics as an enjoyable and entertaining read. Reviewers were quick to acknowledge de Vries's insider connections and to guess at the real-life identities behind the novel's fictionalized celebrity characters. Commending the novel's intrigue and confidential tone, Library Journal critic Shelley Mosley called So Five Minutes Ago "wickedly delicious." Likewise, Booklist reviewer Carolyn Kubisz regarded the novel as a "fun read," noting its "biting humor" and alluring behind-the-scenes perspective. On the other hand, People critic Allison Lynn observed that, despite de Vries's formidable experience in the industry, the novel fails to provide any new "insider insights." A Kirkus Reviews critic found fault with the novel's stereotyped characterization of Alex's homosexual assistant and the "sweepingly shallow generalization [that] readers would expect from a Hollywood stereotype."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 2004, Carolyn Kubisz, review of So Five Minutes Ago, p. 820.
Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2003, review of So Five Minutes Ago, p. 1370.
Library Journal, February 1, 2004, Shelley Mosley, review of So Five Minutes Ago, p. 122.
People, March 1, 2004, Allison Lynn, review of So Five Minutes Ago, p. 56.
Publishers Weekly, February 9, 2004, review of So Five Minutes Ago, p. 59.
California Literary Review Online,http://www.calitreview.com/ (July 24, 2004).*