Book Review – Malibu Rising

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher: Hutchinson London

Malibu Rising kept showing up on the list of books to read this summer.

I kept putting it off because the last couple reviews on Amazon were not great.

Yep, I am that person – there could be 100 great reviews but will focus on the few that are terrible (I do this for books, restaurants, hotels).

It is a trait that annoys my husband to no end, but after passing this book up for weeks I finally bought a copy.

The book is set in Malibu California in the 1980’s.

Nina Riva is a swimsuit model, but her passion is surfing.

Brandon, her tennis pro husband bought them a “glass-and-concrete mansion” on a cliff.

It is sleek and white and soulless.

Nina would have much preferred the kind of house that she grew up in – a modest bungalow.

Brandon has just left Nina to be with Carrie Soto, another tennis pro.

But this kind of setback won’t deter Nina from throwing her annual party.

Flash back to 1956 when Mick Riva meets June Costas.

June’s parents own a seafood shack.

June has dreams of NOT working in the restaurant, “Pacific Fish was both June’s duty and her inheritance.”

June is seventeen and already wants more, she dreams of owning a house with double sinks in the bathroom.

June is at the beach one day, a break from working in the restaurant when Mick Riva notices her.

Mick is a singer and is determined to make it big.

He is also very good looking.

June’s parents want June to meet someone that can help her run the restaurant.

Someone practical, not someone that looks like Monty Cliff.

Mick gets gigs at restaurants, then a casino in Vegas and soon he makes it big.

June gets pregnant and the wedding is moved forward.

Nina is born and Mick buys June a house with two sinks, her dream.

June is happy.

Soon other children follow.

Mick makes it very big, but, well … he has a problem keeping it in his pants.

Nina and her siblings, Jay, Hud and Kit are close.

They had a tough childhood, which is ironic seeing how their father is so famous.

They have overcome obstacles, and each seems to be doing okay.

Jay with his surfing, Hud with photography and Kit … well Kit is young, but she may be the next big surfer.

Anyway, the party is coming up and it will be fun.

Invitation is word of mouth, but one person has been getting a written invitation for the past few years, maybe this is the year they will attend.

Now, remember how I tend to focus on the few bad reviews?

Well I should have gone with my gut.

Malibu Rising explores the inner lives of the rich and famous, showing us what life is really like behind the camera, people behaving badly.

It fall well short on many levels.

Too many characters, too much switching.

And who the heck has a party and the guest list is…. anyone.

Anyone that hears about the party is invited.

For real?

There is drugs, sex and rock and roll.

The house gets trashed.

Is this to epitomise the excess of the 1980’s?

Kim Reardon
The Reluctant Book Critic

Or does it just show how awful the rich and famous can be.

The back story of how Nina’s parents met was interesting, but the more famous Mick got the more vapid he became.

And the party was just ridiculous.

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