**Giveaway is now closed**
I have a history of friendships with gay men. On any given weekend in the past (during my days of being single), I'd have an instant date to dance clubs and theater performances. One even accompanied me to a wedding. So, as soon as I heard about Why I Love My Gay Boyfriend, I knew I had to check it out. I thought it would be all about the love girls like me have for their gay male counterparts. However, Sabrina Zollo had other things in store for her lead character, Veronica.
After receiving her MBA, Veronica Lopez has dreams of working for Amnesty International and taking the non-profit world by storm. However, reality sets in and she ends up working for Gisele, marketing cosmetics that are just designed to make hot women look even hotter. She suffers through dealing with a crazy boss and all sorts of mean girls, until the day Stevie befriends her. Stevie is gay and knows everything about fashion. He takes Veronica under his wing and gives her a makeover, as well as teaches her the ropes at Gisele. Soon, he's more important to her (and crucial to her survival at Gisele) than her closest girlfriends. As Veronica continues to get absorbed in her job, she loses sight of what is important to her, including her friendship with Stevie. What will she be able to salvage after she realizes she's gotten in too far?
I had some concerns over the level of originality in this novel, as it pretty much follows the idea of The Devil Wears Prada and the many other novels like that. (I even read and reviewed one earlier this fall with a similar premise.) While I liked that she met her gay boyfriend at work because I met one of my closest gay boyfriends at a previous job, I feel like she could have met him anywhere or they could have kept their relationship separate from the competitive corporate environment. While Stevie tried to be a voice of reason for Veronica, sometimes being in the same office building wasn't conducive to having a harmonious friendship. I also worried initially that their friendship was stereotypical and superficial. They were just shopping all the time and Stevie was giving Veronica makeovers. They didn't do that much socially otherwise. Some of my favorite memories involve just hanging out in my gay boyfriend's apartment and watching movie musicals or chick flicks and baking cakes together. (We also went clubbing, but I'm not going to spill any details from those experiences.) Eventually, Stevie and Veronica built up to the point where they started talking about relationship insecurities and that's when the story picked up some steam. (Not THAT kind of steam, mind you!)
I didn't always agree with Veronica's behavior, but sometimes I could relate to what she was going through. I've dealt with lots of stress at work before, mostly from previous jobs, but even through the current job that I love. I remember working late hours to get everything done on time. I tend to fall behind on keeping up with my friends and am hoping they're more understanding than Veronica's friends were, even though I could also understand their point of view. While Veronica's boss seemed more like a caricature than a human being, she even had some decent moments. What really intrigued me was the mean girl culture at Gisele. I've worked with some mean girls in the past, but nothing like what Veronica had to deal with. They were relentless and even made me squirm! I definitely felt sorry for her in that regard. It seemed like nothing she did made things any easier when it came to breaking into their tight clique.
There was something that kept me drawn to this novel. Perhaps it was the easygoing nature of Sabrina Zollo's writing style. She doesn't waste time with descriptions, nor does she expect readers to know every fashion brand on the planet. She provides enough of a visual that it's easy to follow along with the story. Then there was the sincere hope that even though Veronica lost sight of what was important to her, she just HAD to see the error of her ways and I was waiting for her epiphany to occur. When it did, there was an overall feeling of satisfaction. I won't say what happens or how it all goes down, but the ending is realistic. It's not totally happy and it's not totally sad. Just honest.
While I think the story could use some tightening up at times, it was entertaining overall. It reminded me of Ugly Betty to the point where I was even picturing America Ferrera and Michael Urie as Veronica and Stevie and Becki Newton as one of the mean girls. Eric Mabius would even make a good Caden (the hot male boss at Gisele), come to think of it! And why not give Vanessa Williams some Medusa-like hair and cast her as Savannah (Veronica's boss), while we're at it?
If you're looking for some light entertainment that also teaches a few lessons about balancing career with friendship, you've come to the right place.
Thanks to Central Avenue Publishing for the e-book in exchange for an honest review. They also have a signed e-book of Why I Love My Gay Boyfriend for a lucky reader anywhere in the world. In addition, we have a paperback copy of Mean Girls at Work by Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster for a lucky reader anywhere in the world.
Please tell us:
1. Your favorite gay guy from a TV show.
2. Your favorite mean girl from a TV show.
3. Your favorite TV show that takes place in a corporate environment.
Please choose only one of the three, as it is only one entry per person (any more than that will not win bonus points, but you can still answer for fun). Also, please include your e-mail address or another way to reach you if you win.
Giveaway ends October 31st at midnight EST
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