They don’t have to be celebrity memoirs, and in fact more often than not I’d prefer they not be. The best trashy memoir is petty and willing to dish about everything – if they don’t name names, they let you fill in the blanks easily enough – and tells you things you want to believe are true, even if they can’t possibly be. The clunkier the prose, the better.
Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars by Scotty Bowers is the first and obvious choice, right; this is a gee-whiz aw-shucks male hustler whose reaction to the horrors of Guadalcanal was supposedly: “You know, if I ever make it out of this hellhole alive, I sure hope I get to have sex with an awful lot of people.” ALSO, it carries the Gore Vidal stamp of approval, and is in fact way BETTER than Gore Vidal’s biography, because Gore Vidal sounded like a really mean guy and not at all fun to sleep with, whereas Scotty Bowers had sex with everyone out of a sense of exuberance and good old-fashioned American bisexuality.
The dueling San Francisco party memoirs Oh, The Glory Of It All and Oh, The Hell Of It All. (Can you imagine your mother writing an angry retort-memoir using the same title that you did? THE RICH: THEY’RE NOT LIKE US.)
The Patrick Melrose novels, which I realize are not memoirs except for they ABSOLUTELY ARE and also they are bleeeeak and maybe in the kind of exhausting “rich mean people are mean and rich” way that exhausts you, so you might not want to pick this five-book series up. But if you want someone incredibly insecure worrying that bitching about somebody else’s wallpaper seems middle class, this is for you.
[Ed. Note – Nicole just angrily gchatted me. “WHERE is my credit in the trashy memoir piece for Melrose AND Scotty? I am like a drug dealer for trashy memoirs.” SORRY BABE]
The Lonely Life. Bette Davis claims to have experienced vulnerability and been pushed around by her mother. I DON’T BUY IT, but I’m still enjoying the ride.
OKAY, YOUR TURN, GO.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.