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Book Review: Diary of a Beverly Hills Matchmaker by Marla Martenson

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Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be the head matchmaker of a high-class Beverly Hills dating service? In this her candid and witty memoir, Marla Martenson takes you on a humorous ride through the ups and downs of her life working for such a place, as she struggles with the often unreasonable demands of her wealthy clientele. 

“I honestly had no idea how shallow, picky, selfish, and entitled some clients could be. After six years of feedback, demands, and expectations, I’m still thrown for a loop now and then,” says Martenson. But what can you do when her clients pay $40,000 and up to find the right woman? 

The author starts off by showing us what a regular day for her is like, answering annoying emails and trying to understand her clients’ often incredible and unreasonable requests, as they continually find faults with their gorgeous, perfect Barbie-doll dates. 

After this initial glimpse into her “regular day,” Martenson goes back in time to recount how she got started, working at restaurant jobs and waiting on rude celebrities such as Joan Collins, who once barked at her for forgetting a fork. “For all my work, she left me a $2 tip on a $120 tab. The woman was clearly typecast as Alexis, right?” says the author. 

She also talks about her dreams of becoming an actress, her marriage, divorce and remarriage to the perfect guy, her father’s death and, finally, taking charge of her life. Eventually all fell into place and she started earning good money making commercials and getting small parts in films and print modeling work. She even got a couple of lines in the Mel Gibson film, What Women Want. Then, finally, how she got started as a recruiter for the dating service, on the lookout for what she calls “a fresh supply of goddesses” and her life as an author — a calling she never suspected she had. 

The book is full of interesting anecdotes about Martenson’s work in Hollywood with the stars. The writing is simple, straightforward, witty and honest. This is the perfect fun, beach read. I like the author’s satiric slant on beauty and the mystery of dating and relationships, as well as the shallowness of Hollywood and the pressure put on women to look good. The book, though a light read, makes you think about society and the role of women and men in it, and explores interesting issues of gender. 

Martenson is the author of two best selling relationship books: Excuse Me, Your Soul Mate Is Waiting and Good Date, Bad Date.  

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About Mayra Calvani

Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Multicultural Review, and Bloomsbury Review, among many others. Represented by Serendipity Literary.