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A Lady's Guide to Selling Out

3.13  ·  Rating details ·  1,479 ratings  ·  259 reviews
A brilliant young woman navigates a tricky twenty-first-century career—and the trickier question of who she wants to be—in this savagely wise debut novel in the tradition of The Devil Wears Prada.

Casey Pendergast is losing her way. Once a book-loving English major, Casey lands a job at a top ad agency that highly values her ability to tell a good story. H
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 10th 2018 by Dial Press
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 ·  1,479 ratings  ·  259 reviews

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Oct 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: giveaways
Be warned that what you are about to read is a very negative review of A Lady's Guide to Selling Out.

Maybe my 29 years of age makes me too old to appreciate this or maybe I'm just too like Susan ... but alas I'm getting ahead of myself.

Let me tell you a little story of my own (be warned I am no great writer either)

I excitedly received an ARC of A Lady's Guide to Selling Out from Random House. It was beautiful and called to me to read it immediately despite a stack of books that were also demandi
Nikki (Saturday Nite Reader)

Casey Pendergast works for the man, but its not her true passion. At 28, she makes a very good living and as all the material things she wants. She finds herself in a few moral dilemma's as her PR company aims to use artists to promote products they wouldn't normally use: in essence selling out. She herself selling out as she is essentially doing the same thing. There is a strong lesson here on the power of social media.

I really wanted to like this book as there were some really good messages o
Samantha Plotkin
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
I was very conflicted about this book. It drew me in and kept me reading but at the same time I was annoyed with the selfishness of the main character, Casey, (and not in the way I think Fransen intended) and the plot could use some shoring up. It's supposed to be a classic deep-down good person gets caught up in bad things, has crisis, redeems herself. The biggest problem was there was just not enough for the reader to care if Casey's life gets better - it didn't seem like she was a good person ...more
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book, a gift: underneath the surface, the frippery, the marshmallow whipped cream that you immediately think this book will be, there is quite a stunning tour de force; the lyricism and clarity of some of the paragraphs and prose pierce through the bubble of the stereotypical 'chick lit' novel and inevitably speak important truths about the #metoo era, misogyny, insecurity, loneliness, and the impact of social media on everyday life.

May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
i don't really know how to talk about this book, because i think the way a lot of readers have approached it is with a very weird perception of what makes a strong protagonist.

casey is the provocative best friend in all of those novels where the narrator is some sad shut-in nerd. she is incredibly smart, and you learn along with her that she carries with her the baggage that we all carry.

but what really spoke to me was casey's undoing and how it was fueled by months of internal unrest about her
Casey Pendergast, at 28, is very successful, especially “for an English major”: She makes over $100k working at a small advertising firm in Minneapolis, owns a condo, and is a favorite of her company’s owner. But Casey is still surprised to find herself selected as the single other participant in her boss’s new venture, which involves getting famous authors to write personalized copy for products like granola bars, gun museums, and coffee chains. Casey half enjoys getting to go meet these aut
Nov 14, 2017 rated it liked it
A LADY'S GUIDE TO SELLING OUT is about 28 year old Casey who works at a top notch PR firm. Casey get a big pay raise when she heads a new branch of her firm which hires famous writers to promote different products for various companies. Casey had been a literature major in college and loves books and authors. At some point Casey begins to believe she is helping writers sell out.

I thought I would love this novel. However, the first half was so slow for me that I almost quit reading the book twice
Oct 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: first-reads
I received a copy of this book through the Goodreads giveaway program. I just couldn't with this book. I felt no empathy for any of the characters; they were all horrible, and I could not finish this book. ...more
Dec 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

A possible contender to the Worst Book of 2018 (it will be published in April 2018).

Ms. Franson doesn't seem to understand her own characters, as she repeatedly emphasizes how likeable and attractive they are and then characterizes them in the least attractive and most unlikeable ways.

Casey, when she isn't insipidly describing herself as a midwest girl who has no concept of life in the m
Gail F.
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It takes two or three chapters to get past what appears to be a chick-lit book, but STAY WITH IT as it is SO worth it, because it's actually a novel which explores friendship, love, and what it means to be a woman navigating the sticky paths between self identity through career vs. "a true and meaningful" life--whatever that is!--, the human problem of always wondering if one's perceptions are clouded by false ego and past trauma. Franson's voice is so clear, so strong, so true; the pacing is fa ...more
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
I won this novel as part of a Goodreads Giveaway.

A Lady's Guide to Selling Out was an easy read, a quick book to fly through in an evening. However, there were several times I had to put the book down because it was either uncomfortable to read or made no sense to me. I regularly found myself cringing at the implausible circumstances the main character, Casey Pendergast, found herself in or otherwise created for herself.

I spent the first half of the novel looking for a solid reason Franson had

Promoted in the blurb as a sharp and satirical look at one woman’s life as she navigates dreams and reality in the world of advertising, I was hoping for more sharpness and satire as Casey’s story unfolded. Perhaps I’m not the ‘target’ for this book – a 28 year old, navel-gazing, often shallow and superficial woman, alternating her rants between the need and futility of ‘keeping up’ on social media, interspersed with moments about the mother-daughter conflicts she endured and her overwhelming ne
May 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Casey works for an advertising agency where she looks up to the her boss as a surrogate mother. Her boss soon asks her to head up a new, secret project called Nanu. Nanu will provide an advertisement income stream for authors by asking them to produce exclusive content for brands. A best-selling author will be the face of a new e-reader for writers. Another will post to their Instagram about pens. And another will be the face of a plus-sized fashion line. Soon, Casey begins to question the moral ...more
May 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
I received this book from Goodreads.


I'm calling it quits on this one. Made it to page 110. I think I gave it a decent shot.

From what I've read I'd call this book a business romance. Casey Pendergast has a very very busy life in advertising. She's always running around from place to place, trying to please everyone. Casey is always go go go!
Sitting in my comfy chair and reading about her life makes me exhausted. Crazy extrovert.
Anyway, she meets this guy and sparks fly. A true connection.
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
You will either love this book or hate it. I loved it. Casey is more honest than any of us. The author confronts us with her brutal fall mid-story and we wince and cry as she fights to dig up her soul.

This book deals with sexual assault and power dynamics, so be ready if those are personally sensitive. But the beauty of the book, aside from witty self assessment, is the focus on female friendships as opposed to romantic relationships, which was terrifically refreshing.

I laughed, I cried, I cri
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I would give this book 10 stars if I could! It touched me on so many levels and I found the character of Casey very relatable.
I can’t wait for another book by Sally Franson.
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
I have to admit, although I was interested by the blurb, the cover is really what drew me to this book. I loved the hot pink and the fun typography. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to save this book for me.

Casey is a top performer at an advertising agency when her boss approaches her to work on a new project: recruiting authors and writers to become spokespeople and content creators for companies and brands in need of some good PR or new ideas. The authors generally sign on rather quickly, but
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful book. I ended up with an advanced reader copy, and honestly couldn't put it down. IThere aren't too many books that actually make me laugh out loud, but this one had me in stitches. The satire is just so on point--it really nails so much about our image-obsessed culture, but in a way that feels knowing and self-aware rather than mean or self-righteous. It has a lot of doesn't take anything too seriously, including itself.

Which is not to say it's all wit and jokes--far from it. I
Emily Mishler
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: giveaways
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Just wow.

I fell in love with this book - with all the witty writing, with the insightful comments, with the beautiful moments that brought me to tears and with all the silly moments I couldn’t stop laughing/cringing at. This book touches so many aspects that women go through - not just high flyers (like the protagonist, Casey) but average normal people like me.

It also made me realize a few home truths which I won’t go into because spoilers! But - I would recommend this to anyone - male or
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
I adored this book, I found it extremely relatable even though I am very different than the main character. So many things about her are little reflections on myself, who I want to be and who I don’t want to be. The story is so great and a fast read. I love the story about friendship between women!
Feb 07, 2018 added it
Shelves: dnf
(Please be advised that 90% if not more, of my personality is salt. I am so salty I could give the the Dead Sea a run for its money!

I'm about to write horribly salty DNF review(s), one that I've been sitting on for weeks, trying to see if it was just a mood, that I was being too hard on the author.

Unfortunately, the salt is still there, and so ...

(This is not the way I wanted to get ahead on my 2018 reading challenge.))

"Dial ed
Susie Williams
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
(I received an advanced copy of this book via Amazon in exchange for my honest review.)

I can see why A Lady's Guide to Selling Out is a book with some mixed reactions, but I'm happy to say that I really enjoyed it, though there were some parts that were a bit tough to read. Not everything went how I wanted it to and Casey isn't the most likable girl in the world, but that's life and I'm glad this book reflected it. I'm actually really surprised by how many people hate the main character, Casey P
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
tl;dr Review:

Completely not what I expected and full of snarky and sly insight into our culture, female friendships, and the lies which we tell ourselves.

Full Review:

When I first started A Lady's Guide to Selling Out: A Novel by Sally Franson, I thought it was going to be a kind of "frilly" read. Something easy and simple and where I wouldn't have to think too hard. It didn't hurt that the narrator gives off the impression that she's fairly shallow as well.

Yet, the more I read, the more I kept s
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
I listened to about half of this book, and I can't do it anymore. Though I disliked the character and story from the beginning, Chelsea Morgan's narration is impressive and full of personality, so I wanted to listen to it anyway. However, I just can't anymore.

This book reads, to me, like a mocking indictment of female millenials, and it offends me. The heroine is more desperate to please than Maya on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. She refers to her boss as "mom" on multiple occasions. It's over-written an
Oct 29, 2018 rated it liked it
I found this book just "ok" BUT there were 3 quotes from it that I really liked:

p. 115 "Seeing him there, far from his natural habitat, I was struck by the precariousness of the roles we assign ourselves, how tenuous this idea of identity really is; how much of ourselves relies on context."

p. 117 "One thing I've always loved about work is that it doesn't let you dwell."

p. 165 "Millions of gossamer threads connecting one heart to another -- it looks like a thick rope at a distance, but up close
Nov 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the most part I did not like this book. Thought about quitting several times. The characters are not likable, etc.

But then there were these insightful, pungent lines that would pull me back in.

Still a mixed feeling about this book.
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: giveaways
A book that took nearly 2 weeks to read? Meh.
Did not care for the self-indulgent, whiny main character.
Amy Ingalls
Apr 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I won this book in a giveaway. First, I love the cover and the typeface used at the start of each paragraph.

I had a mixed reaction to the story itself. Parts of it, certain sentences or paragraphs, were very well-written and stuck with me. Other parts seemed a bit too juvenile or stereotypical.

I did like the focus on female friendships, and the support that the women in this book had for each other.

I didn't like the way the interaction with Wolf was handled. (view spoiler)
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
Much better than the Red Dress Ink-esque cover would imply. This one tackles themes I wouldn't expect out of something that doesn't seem to try hard to be anything more than chick lit - and that's good! Chick lit is good! Some of it feels a bit shoehorned in - we meet a trans character right at the very end who goes by gender neutral pronouns and doesn't seem to serve any particular purpose other than to let the author/narrator flex her wokeness, but I'll take it - but the idea of privilege does ...more
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Sally Franson received her education at Barnard College and the University of Minnesota. Her work has appeared in such places as The Guardian, NPR Weekend Edition, and Witness, and she has received recognition from The Macdowell Colony, the Ucross Foundation, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Glimmer Train, Best American Travel Writing, and more. Once in a while she writes humor for The Loft Litera ...more

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