90210 actress Tori Spelling won me over with her first memoir, sTORI Telling (it actually prompted me to check out her show So NoTORIious, which I found hilarious), and I was eager to read her followup, Mommywood, especially now that she's got two kids, son Liam and baby Stella. Mommywood is her term for being a mom in Hollywood, and details her experience giving birth to Stella while filming her reality show Tori & Dean, her anxiety about being the mom of a girl, and shares mostly amusing stories and occasional insights.
When Spelling dishes on other celebrities, most of the time, she's hilarious, such as when she got invited to a birthday party for Diddy's twin daughters. She can't figure out why she was invited since they don't really know each other, and hilariously has to look up his kids' gender online, only to mistakenly buy them clothes for one-year-olds, when they're turning two. There, she encounters Gwen Stefani. "We talked about babies and siblings for a few minutes, and then we had nothing else to talk about and said good-bye."
However, sometimes this celebrity namedropping goes awry. An encounter with Luke Perry at her stepson's birthday party is pretty boring. He gives her the cold shoulder presumably because he's mad about something she wrote about him in her first book. That story seems like a stretch and really has no drama or interest. Similarly, her rant against Chelsea Handler is interesting at first (Handler has railed on Spelling on her show, and they share a publisher, Simon Spotlight Entertainment), but goes on too long.
When Spelling truly shares, such as about her dealings with her stepson, Jack, and his mom, she makes this book about something real that stepfamilies do actually deal with, and does so in a sensitive way. She talks about how her relationship with her husband has changed, and that sometimes he misses the "old Tori," one who got drunk and stayed out late and was wilder, sharing that sometimes she does too, but mostly she's happy with their mellower lifestyle.. There's also plenty of funny stories about her son pooping in pools, and about being recognized both in her homey neighborhood and while on vacation.
The other major theme here, much as in sTORI Telling, is her mom, Candy Spelling, who also has a new memoir out now, Candyland. In her first book, she painted a sympathetic portrait of a neglected Daddy's girl whose mother could have given her everything she wanted, but was competitive and withholding. Here, though, Spelling is even more bitter, and the rants about her mother (who doesn't get thanked in the extensive acknowledgments) get draining after a while. Spelling's entire list of things she wishes to teach her daughter reads less like a heartfelt look at parenting a girl than a way to get back at her mom by complaining about all the things she did wrong.
Hilary Liftin did a great job making this a fast, fun read. Spelling proves that she can laugh at herself, and her kids (she jokes that "her gays" - her group of close gay friends - have dibs on when they can take her son Liam to a gay bar, then reveals that he's been to one for the premiere of her reality show). Spelling comes across as likeable, sometimes ridiculous (she leaves a stroller in a parking lot when she can't get it to close), and, for a celebrity memoir, honest. Of course, she acknowledges that being "Tori Spelling" is part of her shtick, her way of making a living, and at times her insistence that she "needs to work" doesn't really ring true, but despite those few quibbles, I recommend Mommywood to anyone who devours the tabloids, whether they do so proudly or sneak them as a guilty pleasure.