DEAR GIRLS ABOVE ME: INSPIRED BY A TRUE STORY by Charlie McDowell (Three Rivers), 280 pages, $17 paper.
Honestly, I'm stuck. Dear Girls Above Me is either a brilliant exercise in irony or a cheap, obnoxious load of sexist bullshit.
The author lives with his fabulous (read maybe gay) roommate in an L.A. apartment on the floor below Cathy and Claire, two vapid, unemployed rich girls. Thing is, he can hear every word they say as they blab about their hookups, drunken nights, Brazilian waxes and everything else supremely superficial.
At first McDowell desperately tries to tune them out, but soon he's tuning in with a vengeance. Launching a Twitter handle called Dear Girls Above Me, he tweets quotes from his neighbours and mocks them. The success of the Twitter feed spurred the book, which includes the tweets but also chronicles McDowell's day-to-day efforts to recover from a recent breakup and convince his roommate to come out. He does little else.
His tweets are sometimes funny but almost always cruel, and the reek of sexism permeates the entire thing, especially when his slap-down comeback to one of their inane comments is "Get a job." Dude, maybe you should get a job.
He calls his neighbours Kardashian wannabes and carps about how spoiled they are when in fact McDowell - son of movie stars Mary Steenburgen and Malcolm McDowell - is about as entitled as you can get.
But as I'm about to slam the thing with a one-N rating, I realize that he may be a Hollywood brat but he's not stupid. He seems to be aware that by eavesdropping on the girls and, basically, behaving badly, he's just as shallow as they are.
Which makes the final shitstorm sequence - I won't spoil it - actually make some ironic sense.
Parlaying a Twitter feed into a possible bestseller? Definitely a sign of the times.