Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Book Review: The Liar, The Bitch and The Wardrobe

By Melissa Amster

Imagine getting to work for your idol. Better yet, imagine getting to party with celebrities like you're one of the gang. Lucy Butler doesn't have to imagine these things, as she lives them in Allie Kingsley's debut novel, "The Liar, the Bitch and the Wardrobe."

After numerous stalker-like attempts, Lucy finally scores the job of her dreams....to work with famous celebrity fashion photographer, and her idol, Stefano Lepres! However, the job isn't what she was expecting and soon she's playing his babysitter instead of his photography assistant. When he hooks her up with a famous actress, Lucy soon gets a taste of the high life (in more than one way) and learns how to step on people to get to the top. (After all, "if you're going to step on people on your way to the top, you might as well do it in stilettos...") On her quick flight to the top, she starts to forget what is really important to her and may need a rude awakening to figure out what that is.

I have been describing this novel as a cross between "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Pretty Woman." I definitely enjoyed all the "Pretty Woman" decadence that Lucy gets to experience. Who doesn't want a famous actress help them shop and pay for everything?!? Lucy was easy to relate to and I couldn't help but support her wishes to get everything she wants. Like Lucy, I was not popular growing up. I thought she was owed some "cool kid table" time for all the times she was the friend guys used to get to the popular girls. Then there were the times I feared for Lucy's life, but physically and emotionally. I became frustrated for her when things weren't going as planned. She did act bratty sometimes and I wanted to smack her when that happened, but it also made me feel bad for her at times.

I definitely enjoyed the snappy dialogue and narrative that moved the story along from beginning to end. It never got boring and I even joined her vicariously on some adventures (from the comfort of my couch). The decadence of getting caught up in a world of privilege was fun too. However, the paparazzi experiences once again reminded me why I would never personally want to be famous.

What didn't work so well for me was the fashion name dropping. I may read magazines, but I have no idea what certain styles look like by name. I would have preferred more description over the names used for clothes. I had a hard time visualizing what Lucy wore, let alone the other characters. I guess that way of writing was not my style. Also, and this is the mom side of me coming out to "play," I was put off by all the drug use in the story. I may have been able to handle it from a distance, but when Lucy becomes directly involved, it just gets to be too much. I would have preferred alcohol or reckless bedroom adventures to all the drug use and abuse. How were people not brain dead by the end of the story? Maybe that's how it really is in Hollywood, but it seemed over the top to me. A few drug references here and there might have been okay, but it was practically the entire story.

Overall, "The Liar, the Bitch and the Wardrobe" is a light and entertaining read and it kept me on my toes the entire time.

Thanks to Penguin for the book in exchange for an honest review and for sharing a copy with a lucky US reader over at Allie Kingsley's interview.

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Pauline Wiles said...

Super-helpful, thanks. I loved the witty title but suspect I would share some of your frustrations with content & style.

Unknown said...

GREAT review. Couldn't have said it better myself:)!