Friday, July 25, 2014

Book Review: Pretty in Ink

By Gail Allison

There's a shakeup going down at Hers magazine, and it's affecting everyone from the Editor in Chief right down to the mailroom guy. Readership and ad sales are down, so Louisa (the old editor-in-chief) is out and Mimi (the new) is in with a vengeance. Everyone knows that a new boss means a new staff, but no one knows how that's going to work. Will Mimi keep the well-oiled cogs that are the current staff in place or will heads begin to roll? And how will everyone react to all the changes?

Pretty In Ink by Lindsay Palmer walks us through the inner workings of a women's magazine. We get to see firsthand the tug-of-war between journalistic integrity and what headlines actually get that glossy grabbed at the grocery store. We see the quiet war waged between staff who are used to doing things the old way, and those who have embraced (whether willingly or not) the new way.

This story jumps from character to character, and from department to department in every chapters. It's a unique way to get a number of viewpoints across, and can feel a bit muddled at points (more than once I had to stop and think about who was actually narrating this chapter), but once you get into the rhythm of it, it's an interesting way to tell a story, for sure. You get to see everyone's attitude towards the new boss, and watch some people come around, see Mimi woo some people to become her new work BFF, and feel the knots of tension in your stomach when some of them get that awful call to go upstairs and see HR. Their unique personality quirks and way of narrating helps keep the characters separate for the most part, and from chapter to chapter you get to watch the same story unfold, but from a whole spectrum of viewpoints. In fact, looking back on this novel, the story kept progressing at a formidable rate. The host of voices used made it feel like nothing at all, though.

I found Pretty in Ink to be quite captivating. Ms. Palmer definitely draws on her experience in the magazine industry to provide realistic situations (and people, most likely) throughout the novel. None of the situations seemed to be too far removed from what I imagine everyday life is like at a magazine, and as soon as I got a grasp on which character was whom, I settled in and enjoyed the story as it was told through the many different characters. It might be a little optimistic to call it a "beach read" due to the sheer quantity of narrative voices used (if you accidentally took a nap mid-chapter you might have to go back and re-read to figure out whose story it was), but it's definitely an enjoyable novel that you'll have trouble putting down.

If you've ever wondered what goes on behind the gleaming smiles and glossy covers of newsstand magazines, you won't want to miss this novel!

Thanks to Kensington for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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