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FAME-ISH: My Life at the Edge of Stardom

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A hilarious look at one’s star awkward, endearing missteps on the road to becoming fame-ish Becoming fame-ish ain’t easy. Judd Apatow must love you, but never put you in one of his movies. Remember to go drunk to your Legally Blonde 2 audition and make sure Paul Thomas Anderson has your cell phone number. Don’t forget to accidentally kiss Rush Limbaugh in front of paparazz A hilarious look at one’s star awkward, endearing missteps on the road to becoming fame-ish Becoming fame-ish ain’t easy. Judd Apatow must love you, but never put you in one of his movies. Remember to go drunk to your Legally Blonde 2 audition and make sure Paul Thomas Anderson has your cell phone number. Don’t forget to accidentally kiss Rush Limbaugh in front of paparazzi. It’s all part of the gig. Self-deprecating and sharp, Mary Lynn’s debut collection of essays will have you laughing, cringing, and reevaluating your idea of fame. Smart, satirical, and relatable, this book gives new meaning to the word “icon” as Mary Lynn navigates showbiz against the backdrop of her own idiosyncrasies. She gives the people what they want: a raucous look at what it’s like to kind of somehow sometimes have a name in Hollywood. Like when she made out with Tom Cruise for forty-five minutes on a couch (with and without tongues!), only to have the scene left on the cutting room floor. Mary Lynn’s Fame-ish is an honest intimate look at sex, relationships, and career. You won’t want to put it down.


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A hilarious look at one’s star awkward, endearing missteps on the road to becoming fame-ish Becoming fame-ish ain’t easy. Judd Apatow must love you, but never put you in one of his movies. Remember to go drunk to your Legally Blonde 2 audition and make sure Paul Thomas Anderson has your cell phone number. Don’t forget to accidentally kiss Rush Limbaugh in front of paparazz A hilarious look at one’s star awkward, endearing missteps on the road to becoming fame-ish Becoming fame-ish ain’t easy. Judd Apatow must love you, but never put you in one of his movies. Remember to go drunk to your Legally Blonde 2 audition and make sure Paul Thomas Anderson has your cell phone number. Don’t forget to accidentally kiss Rush Limbaugh in front of paparazzi. It’s all part of the gig. Self-deprecating and sharp, Mary Lynn’s debut collection of essays will have you laughing, cringing, and reevaluating your idea of fame. Smart, satirical, and relatable, this book gives new meaning to the word “icon” as Mary Lynn navigates showbiz against the backdrop of her own idiosyncrasies. She gives the people what they want: a raucous look at what it’s like to kind of somehow sometimes have a name in Hollywood. Like when she made out with Tom Cruise for forty-five minutes on a couch (with and without tongues!), only to have the scene left on the cutting room floor. Mary Lynn’s Fame-ish is an honest intimate look at sex, relationships, and career. You won’t want to put it down.

30 review for FAME-ISH: My Life at the Edge of Stardom

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Yikes! I was expecting a funny, slightly acerbic take on behind the scenes Hollywood, not a chronicle of someone’s terrible decision making and where it leads to. I’ve seen Mary Lynn give interviews, though I have never watched her biggest hit 24, and she is charming and funny, and offbeat in a smart endearing way. There is that voice here, and there are some show biz tidbits, but not enough of either. Things go off the rails about halfway through when the book veers to every bad relationship sh Yikes! I was expecting a funny, slightly acerbic take on behind the scenes Hollywood, not a chronicle of someone’s terrible decision making and where it leads to. I’ve seen Mary Lynn give interviews, though I have never watched her biggest hit 24, and she is charming and funny, and offbeat in a smart endearing way. There is that voice here, and there are some show biz tidbits, but not enough of either. Things go off the rails about halfway through when the book veers to every bad relationship she has had….and, um, there are a lot. It’s a lot. There’s clearly a lot of things happening below the surface, but we never get deep enough to explore them or much of anything really. Personally, I would have liked less personal/private life between the book’s cover and more absurd anecdotes from the business side of her life.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chet

    I was a big fan of 24 when it was on the air and still watch it from time to time. Chloe was a great character, so I was happy to see a book from one of the stars. After finishing said book though, I wish I hadn’t. Mary Lynn Rajskub may be a great person, but in this memoir, she comes across as terribly shallow and I completely out of touch with what average people have to deal with. She complains constantly without ever realizing that she herself is toxic and causes most of the drama she has to I was a big fan of 24 when it was on the air and still watch it from time to time. Chloe was a great character, so I was happy to see a book from one of the stars. After finishing said book though, I wish I hadn’t. Mary Lynn Rajskub may be a great person, but in this memoir, she comes across as terribly shallow and I completely out of touch with what average people have to deal with. She complains constantly without ever realizing that she herself is toxic and causes most of the drama she has to deal with. Every man she meets wants to sleep with her (maybe it’s true…she is attractive, but c’mon). She never gets paid enough. She had to fly on Frontier airlines (the HORROR!). I hate to tell you this, Mary Lynn, but nobody makes enough money. Everybody would rather fly first class on a great airline. These are not things that make for interesting reading. It also doesn’t help that Rajskub constantly talks shit about pretty much everyone she’s ever met who isn’t an A-list celebrity. Honestly, pretty much the only people that don’t get talked about like they’re trash are Harrison Ford and Kiefer. So, basically, everyone in the world is beneath her except the people that might be able to advance her career. Maybe I’m being too hard on Mary Lynn, but the entire time I was reading Fame-ish, all I thought was, “Why am I reading this? This woman is awful”. I finished the book for two reasons. The first was that I felt obligated to do so because the publisher was kind enough to provide me with an ARC. The second was that I hoped to see Mary Lynn see some personal growth by the end. Sadly, that was not the case. Rajskub continues complaining, throwing some self-deprecating humor in as a deflection. Still, there were some interesting bits. The essays showing behind the scenes of movie and TV creation were interesting. I wish the book had more of this instead of the author trying to convince me that she has been terribly put upon her whole life. Overall, memoirs are supposed to be interesting, heartbreaking, funny…any number of things. Unfortunately, this wasn’t any of those things. It was annoying and kind of sad to be honest, because Rajskub doesn’t seem to realize how she is coming across. Finally, I’d like to thank Netgalley and Abrams Publishing for providing me with an ARC. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to give it a good review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sara Goldenberg

    It was cute and fun. I didn't realize I knew her work until I started reading it! It was cute and fun. I didn't realize I knew her work until I started reading it!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Thank you #Netgalley for the advanced copy! I have loved watching Mary Lynn Rajskub in so many shows but had no idea what she has been through. I enjoyed her casual writing style and short essays about her acting history, her life in the Midwest and eventually in Hollywood. I also appreciated her honesty when discussing her finances and how people that she was a millionaire just because she became a regular on 24. I always love learning more abut the backstory and how actors get to where they are Thank you #Netgalley for the advanced copy! I have loved watching Mary Lynn Rajskub in so many shows but had no idea what she has been through. I enjoyed her casual writing style and short essays about her acting history, her life in the Midwest and eventually in Hollywood. I also appreciated her honesty when discussing her finances and how people that she was a millionaire just because she became a regular on 24. I always love learning more abut the backstory and how actors get to where they are now, because it is often a difficult road with so many uncertainties. I was surprised to learn that she was living in an Airbnb during covid while trying to get her house ready to sell after her divorce. You never know what people are and have gone though, thank you to Rajskub for your honesty and sharing the good and the bad!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    Mary Lynn Rajskub's memoir is a cautionary tale to not get involved with anyone who is or might become famous one day and then write about you. She is one of those people who sees the worst of everyone--her bosses, coworkers, friends, lovers, and people she meets in public--and is happy to share her mocking criticisms of them with others--in this case, anyone who unwittingly buys this lightweight collection of bitter snark and bellyaching. When not being critical about people, Mary Lynn complains Mary Lynn Rajskub's memoir is a cautionary tale to not get involved with anyone who is or might become famous one day and then write about you. She is one of those people who sees the worst of everyone--her bosses, coworkers, friends, lovers, and people she meets in public--and is happy to share her mocking criticisms of them with others--in this case, anyone who unwittingly buys this lightweight collection of bitter snark and bellyaching. When not being critical about people, Mary Lynn complains about anything and everything, including a slew of everyday, ordinary frustrations. Even if this was a book by an A-list superstar, these incidents would still be boring. Where was her editor's guidance? I listened to this book on Audible. The duration of narration is 5:47 but seemed to go on about very little for far too long. I stopped after every couple of hours to listen to another book to get a break from the dislike I felt for her perspective and choices in life. I stuck it out, hoping for something redeemable by the end. The one thing I learned from listening to her is to avoid anything connected to her writing in the future. My questions for Mary Lynn Rajskub would be: what brings you joy in life? Why did you not focus more on those things and tell us about people who make you happy and inspire you? Would you be happy to spend time with someone for almost six hours of mostly complaints and backbiting? No? Me, neither. Would you trust someone who talked down nearly everyone she knew to others, particularly in such a public way? I don't and you shouldn't. Maybe Mary Lynn needed the cash right now, but I think she should have waited until she had something substantial and cohesive to say before publishing. There is very little to recommend here. Target audience: those who enjoy insult gossip and want to keep misery company.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer MacMaster

    I would give this book 4 stars. This was a good read but took me way longer to finish due to my schedule. The book took you on a journey of an actor and her path to "fame". She wasn't as big as Tom Cruise but I do recall her from at least one of the movies she was in. I think most of us think actors have it together and live some glamorous life but she's able to show the reality of it. She made a bunch of young, stupid choices in her life much like regular everyday people. She definitely had rel I would give this book 4 stars. This was a good read but took me way longer to finish due to my schedule. The book took you on a journey of an actor and her path to "fame". She wasn't as big as Tom Cruise but I do recall her from at least one of the movies she was in. I think most of us think actors have it together and live some glamorous life but she's able to show the reality of it. She made a bunch of young, stupid choices in her life much like regular everyday people. She definitely had relationships and encounters that could have gone horribly wrong but thankfully, they didn't. Scary but I guess we've all had situations that make us thankful we made it through unscathed. From reading the story, I found that she's a little soft and doesn't speak up for herself much until she's to the breaking point. A question she should have asked herself was why was she always footing the bill. You ever wonder why some actors are broke after making lots of money? Look no further. This will give you a bird's eye view of how money just disappears. Sure she has experiences from those bad choices but it would have been better had she invested it. It also talked about the Hollywood, artist drug scene which is way more common than I would have thought.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Violet

    Celebrity memoirs are my jam. I am a sucker for the behind the scenes sneak peeks, juicy tell all tidbits, and simply a look into a world generally very much different than my own. Fame-ish: My Life at the Edge of Stardom offers only a handful of sneak peeks into Hollywood, the entertainment industry, and even less in the way of juicy tidbits. Unless you count Mary Lynn calling out Courtney Cox for not being very personable during their brief encounter at the Golden Globes. With a career spannin Celebrity memoirs are my jam. I am a sucker for the behind the scenes sneak peeks, juicy tell all tidbits, and simply a look into a world generally very much different than my own. Fame-ish: My Life at the Edge of Stardom offers only a handful of sneak peeks into Hollywood, the entertainment industry, and even less in the way of juicy tidbits. Unless you count Mary Lynn calling out Courtney Cox for not being very personable during their brief encounter at the Golden Globes. With a career spanning almost 30 years and 100+ movie and television shows to her credit I think I was just expecting a bit more. More inside info. More behind the scenes insight into some of her biggest roles. Just more overall. Sweet Home Alabama and Sunshine Cleaning are the two roles I know the author from the most, and I have never watched 24. As luck would have it almost every single chapter references 24 in one way or another. Maybe that was part of the disconnect. The last few chapters detailing her marriage and son were sweet. & I totally respect the fact that she chased her dreams and sought out more than a Midwest Denny's management position and a brocade vest. Thank you to NetGalley and Abrams Press for an ARC in exchange for my honest review. 2.5 stars.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    This was a wild ride. I learned too much about her ex-partner’s sex life but I did learn a lot about the finances of a character actor/comedian. I am always curious about how being a side character in a big show works and how people who aren’t big names/working continuously handle finances. It seems like it is rough! She does seem to be a victim of a scam at one point with her ex-girlfriend who also I felt was implied to have robbed her house? I would of have liked to have more details on that. This was a wild ride. I learned too much about her ex-partner’s sex life but I did learn a lot about the finances of a character actor/comedian. I am always curious about how being a side character in a big show works and how people who aren’t big names/working continuously handle finances. It seems like it is rough! She does seem to be a victim of a scam at one point with her ex-girlfriend who also I felt was implied to have robbed her house? I would of have liked to have more details on that. She says she is a people pleaser a lot but I didn’t get that impression. She does seem unable to speak up in the moment but that isn’t quite the same thing. Really an interesting book and unlike any other memoir I’ve read and I’ve read dozens.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bargle

    Before I read this book, I had no idea who the author was. Surprisingly, I'd never watched anything she had appeared in. Still, I greatly enjoyed the book. Her personal stories are the stuff humor and tragedy spring from. Her constant poor choices for romance make me feel better about being inept at it myself. I feel this book could been much longer and I wouldn't minded. Thanks for the fun, Mary Lynn. Oh, I've now watched her video with Weezer. Correction. I had seen her on Weird Al's TV series, Before I read this book, I had no idea who the author was. Surprisingly, I'd never watched anything she had appeared in. Still, I greatly enjoyed the book. Her personal stories are the stuff humor and tragedy spring from. Her constant poor choices for romance make me feel better about being inept at it myself. I feel this book could been much longer and I wouldn't minded. Thanks for the fun, Mary Lynn. Oh, I've now watched her video with Weezer. Correction. I had seen her on Weird Al's TV series, but didn't remember it. So, now it's 2 things I've seen her in.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    Though interesting, this book is poorly written. The timeline is broken and jumps around, the diction is juvenile, and the voice is thinly-veiled bitterness instead of comedic as I think she wanted it to be. Meh. Unless you love her as an actress and need to know about her life, don't waste your time. Though interesting, this book is poorly written. The timeline is broken and jumps around, the diction is juvenile, and the voice is thinly-veiled bitterness instead of comedic as I think she wanted it to be. Meh. Unless you love her as an actress and need to know about her life, don't waste your time.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Pam Mooney

    Well written and funny in places. I could not relate to or bond with this author. Perhaps West Coast humor doesn't play well in the Midwest. Just say "Butte Montana" and they are laughing out loud. Insult an Inn owner in Lincoln, Nebraska and they are rolling on the floor. I just don't get it. I could say more but I don't want to write the author's next set. Well written and funny in places. I could not relate to or bond with this author. Perhaps West Coast humor doesn't play well in the Midwest. Just say "Butte Montana" and they are laughing out loud. Insult an Inn owner in Lincoln, Nebraska and they are rolling on the floor. I just don't get it. I could say more but I don't want to write the author's next set.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    I became familiar with the actress Mary Lynn Rajskub from her time on the show 24. She shows a side of the entertainment business that isn’t all glitz and glamour. I really enjoyed her humor and the behind the scenes look at TV and movie production. I would recommend this for someone who wants to peek behind the curtain, but at the minor characters.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mandy Hazen

    It is pretty rare that I have run into anyone in my life who has not heard of the show 24. This main actress from it is a riot. Her story of her life is hilarious and I never knew she was a comedian! What a page turner I would highly recommend. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Erin Nudi

    More of a collection of stories from her life told in an amusing way, than a deep dive into her life memoir (pretty much nothing on childhood). But entertaining.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Wright

    Bit of a downer. Bad life choices over and over. You don't root for her or feel sorry for her. She has talent but waisted it with bad decisions. Bit of a downer. Bad life choices over and over. You don't root for her or feel sorry for her. She has talent but waisted it with bad decisions.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bookgrrl

    So I know most people know the author from the TV show “24”, but I’ve never seen it. I know Rajskub from her multiple appearances on the Comedy Central show “@midnight” where she was funny and endearingly awkward. This book is comprised of short little vignettes from her life that range from funny and self depreciating to quite serious and honest. She suffers from “being too nice to people“ syndrome, and this has not made for the easiest life. But she keeps on plugging on, and I definitely enjoy So I know most people know the author from the TV show “24”, but I’ve never seen it. I know Rajskub from her multiple appearances on the Comedy Central show “@midnight” where she was funny and endearingly awkward. This book is comprised of short little vignettes from her life that range from funny and self depreciating to quite serious and honest. She suffers from “being too nice to people“ syndrome, and this has not made for the easiest life. But she keeps on plugging on, and I definitely enjoyed reading about her successes and mishaps. And I feel like I share something in common with her — we’ve both worked with Hallmark products as teens (she as part of a drugstore, me at an actual Hallmark store). As Mary Lynn & I will both tell you, it’s a total nightmare finding the boxes for those stupid little Precious Moments & Snowbabies figurines 😠😂 Thank you to NetGalley & Abrams Books for this advanced reader copy. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda Duncan

    Leisurely read to uplift your mood if you're in a slump. Happy page turning Leisurely read to uplift your mood if you're in a slump. Happy page turning

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rsaunders1

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kara

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Shelton

  21. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jim

  23. 4 out of 5

    Skip Worrell

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lori

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mark Lieberman

  26. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Busbey

  27. 4 out of 5

    Paulina Morrow

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  29. 4 out of 5

    Janice J

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mickey Asteriou

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