I was browsing BorrowBox a few weeks ago, looking for something funny to read, and happened upon Royce Rolls. A satirical look at the excesses of scripted reality tv, it was blurbed as a laugh out loud romp.
I don’t think I laughed once. Not for me!
Sixteen-year-old Bentley Royce seems to have it all: an actual Bentley, tuition to a fancy private school, lavish vacations, and everything else that comes along with being an LA starlet. But after five seasons on her family’s reality show, Rolling with the Royces, and a lifetime of dealing with her narcissistic sister, Porsche, media-obsessed mother, Mercedes, and somewhat clueless brother, Maybach, Bentley wants out. Luckily for her, without a hook for season six, cancellation is looming and freedom is nigh. With their lifestyle on the brink, however, Bentley’s family starts to crumble, and one thing becomes startlingly clear–without the show, there is no family. And since Bentley loves her family, she has to do the unthinkable–save the show. But when her future brother-in-law’s car goes over a cliff with both Bentley and her sister’s fiancé inside-on the day of the big made-for-TV wedding, no less-things get real.
Really real. Like, not reality show real.
Told in a tongue-in-cheek voice that takes a swipe at all things Hollywood, Royce Rolls is a laugh-out-loud funny romp with an LA noir twist about what it means to grow up with the cameras rolling and what really happens behind the scenes.
I’m not really sure what it was about this which didn’t work for me, I just know it really didn’t work for me. The structure is very strange – something like a diary, something like a novel, something like a working draft for something that will become a novel made from a diary, it’s filled with side notes and commentaries made by executive producers, but the way the notes work is like they were edited chapter by chapter as the events happened. The structure of the book was choppy, too, with the first chapter telling us that Bentley and the fiancé had gone off a cliff, and the next chapter immediately jumping back to several months previously. While I appreciate the structure of a hook to get you to wonder how the story is going to get to where you know it’s going, there was too much jumping in this, and not only did I not know how the story was getting to where it was going, I didn’t even know how it was going to explain where we were at the time. I also really, really didn’t care.
The characters in this book were generally deplorable, as is to be expected when it’s a take on KUWTK, but I was okay with that. The problem was that I didn’t feel anything for them at all. I didn’t hate the hateable characters. And also, one character who turned out to be a really big deal at the end of the book was in such a throwaway scene at the beginning that I had completely forgotten he even existed.
Basically, this book did not work for me. The humour didn’t tickle me, the structure irritated me, the characters did nothing for me, and the mystery didn’t intrigue me.