I think many reviews on this site have made this book out to be a lot more glamorous than it actually is.
If there was ever a character who honest-to-I think many reviews on this site have made this book out to be a lot more glamorous than it actually is.
If there was ever a character who honest-to-God deserved to die, that would be Neely O'Hara. I physically HATED her, and not even in that love-to-hate sort of way. Any chapters focused on her not only made me grind my teeth, but just about ruined the book completely. I hate that these other two, wonderful - albeit also-almost-drove-me-insane - characters were practically washed aside for that cracked up bitch.
That said, there weren't any truly likeable characters, but at least Jennifer and Anne were still easy to root for. I think a novel dies if there's nothing - or no one - for you to stand behind and support. I would easily have breezed through this novel if there wasn't a Neely O'Hara making me put the book down every time she made an appearance.
The topics and themes brought up in Valley of the Dolls are not for the faint-hearted. It's a bit like an insider's peakhole to old school Hollywood. And having studied Hollywood of the 50s and 60s last year, I found I was able to understand a bit more the struggles and turmoils these girls went through in order to 'make it big'.
I sort of liked that there was no real 'happy ending'. It was just as if life continued in all the crappiness we'd endured for the last 350 pages. On that same note, this also INFURIATED me like crazy, because it's like the characters hadn't evolved at all. Come on now. Not even a little? Not only did they not evolve, but it's like they took several hundred steps backward for good measure. I'm pretty sure Jacqueline Susann got the point across that we're all doomed in the end. Because even if you reach the peak of the mountain, that point in life where you've always wanted to be, you'll end up throwing everything else away just to keep yourself there. Reaching that peak will be absolute moot point.
Having picked this up as a change of pace to the ridiculously epic fantasy novels I've been reading lately, Bitter is the New Black had me PLEASANTLYHaving picked this up as a change of pace to the ridiculously epic fantasy novels I've been reading lately, Bitter is the New Black had me PLEASANTLY surprised. The memoir was something I've been meaning to read since I first saw it in year 10, when perusing the local Angus & Robs once a month was my sole source of new reading material (funded by my mum). The first page had me in stitches, and the footnotes reminded me of one of my best friends (whose fictional writing style includes the use of such referencing). But still... I put it down. And six years later, here I am.
Jen Lancaster is awesome. That said, when I started reading Bitter last night, I hated her. She was, well... pretty much exactly as the cover describes her. Condescending, egomaniacal and self-centred, she reminded me of a 30 year old ex-sorority girl who had never quite left those college days behind. I considered putting this book down. I couldn't understand why it'd plagued me for the last six years. Sure, Jen was witty, but there was nothing likeable about her.
And then at some point, I started rooting for her. From having a combined household income of $500,000, a million pair of shoes, impeccable fashion taste and extremely high self-esteems, Jen and her husband are both hit with the laid-off stick and are thrown into the world of unemployment. Suddenly their 6-figure self-worth isn't worth the 6 figures, and as times get more and more desperate, they grow more and more desperate to cling to their $5000 per month condo.
Throughout the novel, Jen never once loses her wit, her humour, and most of all, her BITCHINESS. I think that's what I loved the most. The fact that she felt so self-entitled and lay one into anyone who didn't do as she wanted was just hysterical. Even when she goes through this complete (not really) makeover, there's still a part of her who can't resist letting the snark out to play. The only difference is its direction goes from the people who didn't deserve it (like all the poor waitresses) to the people who did (like all the companies who fucked her over). Not to mention that we do see a sweet side to her; when Jen finally discovers that her husband stopped buying his anti-depressants so he could afford their monthly rent, she takes the matter into her own hands, scouring for whatever medication she can find and taking all the burdens off his shoulders until he can finally refind his two feet. It's really touching. Even though Jen is a completely narcissistic bitch, she is completely and utterly loyal to the people she loves.
I recommend this to anyone who needs a change of pace, some laughter in their life, or even just something to read to pass the day away. It's quick, it's easy, and it's certainly enjoyable. I'll leave you with a quote that had me in absolute stitches:
Jen: "Hey Todd, how did you find me out here? The beach itself is something like eleven acres, not including the rest of the pool area." Todd/brother: "I looked out the window up in Mom and Dad's room, and I tried to spot the fattest person. I saw a big blob, figured it was you, and here I am." ...more
The Food of Love pretty much just confirmed I want to live in Italy for a year.
Storytelling-wise, I felt the book was a little amateurish, like thereThe Food of Love pretty much just confirmed I want to live in Italy for a year.
Storytelling-wise, I felt the book was a little amateurish, like there was something missing that would've made this story completely believable and enthralling. It was a really cute story, though, and it made me SO HUNGRY. I also absolutely loved all the Italian phrases thrown in. They were hilarious! I sort of want to memorise them and use them around my dad when he's least suspecting (which would be ALWAYS, because A) he doesn't think I can speak Italian, and B) I can't actually speak Italian haha)....more
Once you get past the initial "what the? THIS IS RIDICULOUS" reaction to the plot, The Sleeping Beauty Proposal is sorta hilarious. What started as reOnce you get past the initial "what the? THIS IS RIDICULOUS" reaction to the plot, The Sleeping Beauty Proposal is sorta hilarious. What started as reading just to get it over with, turned into being unable to put the damn book down.
Don't judge on the first few chapters. Let the characters grow into their skin, and Strohmeyer into her writing style, and the plot will have you by the tail. There were some seriously awesome plot twists that I never expected which pushed this novel past the generally predictable chick lit storyline. And sure, this is chick lit, so you'll be able to predict how it ends. How you get to the end, however... absolutely nuts. <3 ...more
**spoiler alert** If she hadn't picked Andy, I would have cut a bitch. Seriously.
Ellen infuriated me. 90% of the time, I wanted to hit her so bad for**spoiler alert** If she hadn't picked Andy, I would have cut a bitch. Seriously.
Ellen infuriated me. 90% of the time, I wanted to hit her so bad for messing with poor Andy. I'm not saying he was faultless, but he didn't deserve anything she put him through. Her constant turmoil of Leo versus Andy was ridiculous. And Leo - sure, he sounds irresistable, and I know love isn't easy, these sorts of situations aren't easy, but just like Suzanne said, whether you love your husband or not is very, very simple. But I suppose sometimes you need a jolt of nearly losing what you love to knock you out of a stupor and finally realise what it is you want.
But apart from that? I did love this book. Haha. If a book can create this much emotion, of feeling as though you know the characters so much that you are standing beside them (and want to knock some sense into them), then that is wonderful writing. And Emily Giffin is a wonderful writer. She brings up some wonderful philosophical concepts in regards to love, loyalty, friendship, life... I just love her quality of thinking and ability to make you think. ...more
Originally read for the Pick-A-Shelf book club ^^ October is mystery.
I thought this book started off ridiculously boring. Not to mention the author cOriginally read for the Pick-A-Shelf book club ^^ October is mystery.
I thought this book started off ridiculously boring. Not to mention the author clearly loved her em dashes and used them in just about every second sentence. I love my side thoughts as much as the next person, but to be interrupted that many times as she trails off on yet another tangent? Offputting.
Eventually, the book settles and the em dashes disappear. Right around the time of the first murder. Which is when the book really picks up, actually becoming really fast paced and humourous and witty. There are some seriously laugh-out-loud moments that just had me rolling on the floor, and I think they make up for the slow pace and overused em dashes in the first 100 pages or so.
I'm also not that much a fan of the whodunnit, but this one completely caught me by surprise and I really enjoyed the mystery aspect. Over all, really entertaining....more
An amusing and entertaining novel, however the relationships fell a little flat on me. I found there was no connection between Erin and Phil, Erin andAn amusing and entertaining novel, however the relationships fell a little flat on me. I found there was no connection between Erin and Phil, Erin and Daniel... there was no basis, no believability, just another subplot or two to spice up the story. The best friend was more of a filler than anything else - just a character brought in to get the ball rolling again, and then forgotten for another 200 pages. Not so best-friendly after all.
That aside, I loved the restaurant characters. They were fleshed out, lively people. They are what kept me coming back for more (as well as the few adorable little scenes between Erin and Daniel - few and far between as they were).
Over all, I'd recommend if you just need something light and funny to read over the weekend. I finished it in a day so it clearly wasn't too bad! I really did enjoy it. ...more
This has got to be the funniest book I've read in a loooooooooong time. Honestly, I could not stop laughing. There was not a boring page. It is utterlThis has got to be the funniest book I've read in a loooooooooong time. Honestly, I could not stop laughing. There was not a boring page. It is utterly absurd and emotional and completely messes with your head. By the end, everyone is not who you thought they were in the beginning.