Off the Record
Ever since seventeen-year-old Josie Wright can remember, writing has been her identity, the thing that grounds her when everything else is a garbage fire. So when she wins a contest to write a celebrity profile for Deep Focus magazine, she's equal parts excited and scared, but also ready. She's got this.
Soon Josie is jetting off on a multi-city tour, rubbing elbows with sparkly celebrities, frenetic handlers, stone-faced producers, and eccentric stylists. She even finds herself catching feelings for the subject of her profile, dazzling young newcomer Marius Canet. Josie's world is expanding so rapidly, she doesn't know whether she's flying or falling. But when a young actress lets her in on a terrible secret, the answer is clear: she's in over her head.
One woman's account leads to another and another. Josie wants to expose the man responsible, but she's reluctant to speak up, unsure if this is her story to tell. What if she lets down the women who have entrusted her with their stories? What if this ends her writing career before it even begins? There are so many reasons not to go ahead, but if Josie doesn't step up, who will?
From the author of Full Disclosure, this is a moving testament to the MeToo movement, and all the ways women stand up for each other.
Once upon a time, I had an ambition to become a journalist. That was way back in high school and I realized I wasn’t cut out for it when I faked a few interview quotes to avoid talking to people. I could count on my hands how many people read the school paper, so no one noticed or cared. Still, that’s a sign someone isn’t cut out for the industry. I wasn’t going to be the next Stephen Glass or Jayson Blair thank you very MUCH.
That’s not Josie Wright, though. Off the Record is her story of confronting one of Hollywood’s most powerful predators when she uncovers what’s going on while writing a celebrity profile of rising star Marius Canet.
The name “Roy Lennox” is just a footnote to start with, a famous figure Josie asks about when she hears Marius will be working on the storied man’s next film. She knows Lennox’s movies, she knows he’s about to be the center of a documentary biopic. Until Marius’s co-star Penny tells her what Lennox did to her, Josie thinks she knows the man.
Oh, how little she knows.
Even when Josie puts her foot in her mouth during a pre-revelation interview with Penny, she goes about her job as a journalist with remarkable grace and sensitivity once she’s in pursuit of the story. Some of Lennox’s survivors refuse to talk to her altogether, some are ready to speak out, and others are willing but terrified of saying something. Some real-life journalists could learn a thing or two from Josie Wright.
But it’s not all about the dark heart of one man who raped, assaulted, and abused his way through Hollywood’s young talent. Off the Record is also about Josie falling for her subject Marius, who falls just as hard for her in return. These two babies are bi as can be and utterly adorable together. I couldn’t stop grinning when Marius took Josie to meet his parents and they saw right through both the kids. Plus Josie’s big apology at the end of the book? UGH, I LOVE IT.
Lord, I wish this book had been around when I was twelve and was being subjected to the same sexual harassment Josie faced from a classmate, facing similar sexual abuse as the women who survived Roy Lennox.When Josie tries to downplay how one classmate harassed her, another character shuts it down and says exactly the words I needed back then.
I just can’t, y’all. Camryn Garrett being this good this young? Her career as a writer is going to be a long one and a momentous one. If you can handle the subject material, you should pick up Off the Record. It’s so good it tapped into the alternate universe where I became an honest journalist and made that other me tear up at Josie’s important, hard-won story.