Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Why does the devil read Prada? Because She Can!

Bridie Clark's upcoming first novel,Because She Can,starts off with our heroine Claire Truman getting two great opportunities at the same time;the chance to date college crush Randall Cox and a job offer from Vivian Grant,a Judith Reganesque publisher with a bad reputation.

Despite the numerous warnings from her publishing friends and retiring mentor,Claire takes the job with Vivian(due to being offered more money,plus a promotion),vowing to stick it out for atleast a year.

To say that Claire bit off more than she could chew is an understatement. Vivian's treatment of her staff is so bad that former employees had to form a support group to recover from the trauma. Vivian not only overloads people with work,she demands instant results and even has her office soundproofed for her screaming tirades at who ever happens to be the scapegoat of the moment. She also is foul mouthed and sex crazed(the kind of person who gets mad at you if you find stories about her sex life during office hours offensive). Most of the books she puts out have sleazy sexual themes and one of her book launch parties takes place at a strip club,where Vivian dresses up in hooker gear.

Claire is the fair haired child for awhile but soon enough,she's on the recieving end of Vivian's wrath due in part to Lulu,another editor who loves being Vivian's favorite flunky. Claire gets calls at all hours(and tons of angry messages on her machine),her office with a window view taken away and stress so bad that it's the perfect diet plan for an anorexic.

As for Claire's love life,Randall seems to be madly in love with her but spends more time at work than in the relationship. His mother adores Claire(to a scary level)and practically pushs them into a commitment. Claire starts to feel more of a connection with one of her authors,Luke Mayville,who is related to her former,kinder boss. Luke's book is the one thing that keeps Claire sane at her job from hell and brings the two of them closer to each other than to the folks they're dating.

This story is pretty entertaining,even if some of the plot points are easy to spot. Vivian Grant may seem like a cartoon villian at first but in many ways,she's all too real. Bridie Clark did work for Judith Regan and while the book is not officially about her,most people will play connect the dots here. I'm sure that Regan is not the only evil boss out there but regardless,Vivian Grant is such a viciously amusing doppelganger that if a movie deal is made,some smart actress might want to get her Meryl Streep merit badge by tackling the part.

Because She Can is not only a good publishing insider read but a nice take on why it doesn't always pay to be passive in pursuit of your own desires. Claire takes her time about taking charge of her life but when she does,you're happy for her. Because She Can is due out in early February(please click the title link above for more details),so keep any eye out for it and if you know someone trapped in employment hell,give them a copy. It's sure to cheer them up!


Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm buying it. Thanks for the tip!

Anonymous said...
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lady t said...

You're welcome,Robin-let me know what you think after reading it!