Thursday, September 1, 2011

Book Review: Diary of a Beverly Hills Matchmaker

By Cindy Roesel
Time to fess up: One of my so-called guilty pleasures is watching "The Millionaire Matchmaker" on Bravo TV. I’ve watched Patti Stanger yo-yo diet as she reigns over her client’s love lives for the past four seasons, and now it is season five and she’s single. God help us all! So, imagine my excitement when I found out I got to review a memoir called DIARY OF A BEVERLY HILLS MATCHMAKER? Well, I just about keeled over, thank you very much!

Professional Matchmaking first started around the 1630s-1640s. It was set up so brokers could make money for arranging long-term relationships between men and women that would eventually lead to marriage. It was all very proper and controlled between the families and would-be spouses.

Fast forward to present day 2011, in DIARY OF A BEVERLY HILLS MATCHMAKER, Marla Martenson takes us on her personal journey as a real life matchmaker in Beverly Hills, California where the air smells like Eau de Moolah and men pay up to $100,000 for a woman's figure instead of her mind. Women don’t pay for the dates, but they know what they’re getting into. They’re selling and the guys are buying. Sure that sounds crass, but it’s all about the money, honey. Okay, love sneaks in every once in a while, but it’s mostly about working out an arrangement.

Most of the conversations between Marla and her clients are expressed through email: For instance, Scott writes "I’d like my matches to be 10s or 10+, plus she should have her own income, long legs, firm small butt, double-Ds..." Wynne is a church-going man who wants at least "a double-D bosom and preferably a woman who won’t want to live in sin, so the pre-nup will begin at ten-thousand dollars, but (Marla) can we start negotiations at five? Blessings on you and yours, Wynne." Marla says in response: "By early afternoon, I’ve had it with men and their boob obsessions. I will not answer another such email today. I’m a cupid, damn it, not a madam in a brothel."

This does become a bit repetitive after a while. Since DIARY OF A BEVERLY HILLS MATCHMAKER is a memoir, I wished Marla had interacted more with her clients. I enjoyed the scenes between her husband, mother, and friends and how she ambitiously pursued her writing career, but some more lively scenes would have added some necessary pacing.

Marla’s writing positively blinds the reader near the end of the book. It’s Christmas day and her husband is buying a car. She, along with her mother and husband are in the showroom. I don’t want to give it away, but Marla’s talent for writing situational comedy and dialogue is brilliant. It is one of the most clever scenes I’ve ever read.

Marla is also the author of two dating books, EXCUSE ME, YOUR SOUL MATE IS WAITING and GOOD DATE, BAD DATE. You can find her at her website and Facebook.

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