And all I can think is Why? Why am I reading this?
I’m not sure why I jumped on it so eagerly when one of the anchors at work offered it up for borrowing. I think I heard someone, at some point, say that it was good.
But so far, it’s really not. There are interesting features, such as the protagonist’s best friend and the protagonist’s boyfriend, but their stories–despite being far more interesting than the protagonist’s–are peripheral. The main thrust of this book so far is Gee, this fashion editor likes to have things done her way, is never wrong, and can be bitchy about it.
And for some reason it’s taking an inordinately long time for the protagonist to figure it out. In the meantime, of course, she’s working 14 hour days and giving up her weekends to carry out her employer’s whims, all the while thinking patently obvious thoughts like “Why does she think she’s so important?”
I have a very low tolerance for bullshit, and I’m also not a moron. So while I think it should be obvious to anyone that someone who is rich and powerful would expect to be treated as such, I also would never become such a person’s assistant. And if I did happen to go into the job thinking it would be something else, I would quit as soon as I’d figured out the score. Which probably would have taken less than a day.
So to me, this extended plotline is nothing more than tiresome.
The writing isn’t even all that great. How do books become bestsellers, anyway? I’ve seen better stuff on the web. As I’m reading, I’m constantly rewriting the sentences to flow better in my head.
And talk about an unsympathetic protagonist–she more than disdains Southern accents, and she refers to Texas as “the Third World”. Obviously, because she “scrounged” up some money and backpacked around Europe and Southeast Asia, she’s ridiculously enlightened, and obviously Texans are all backwards and stupid. We’re supposed to identify with this girl as she’s gaping wide-eyed at the duplicity and stupidity of the fashion world…but she’s a hypocrite, just as prejudiced as the fashionistas she despises.
You might think from my description that this is some intentional irony that will be resolved as the character grows into a more mature person by the end of the book.
But I seriously doubt it.
I’m nearly halfway through the book and still in the exposition. I’ve been waiting for something interesting to happen for hours now, and there’s nothing. Not even a hint of character development or change.
I’m sure there must be some sort of come-uppance in the works. And it probably won’t happen until the protagonist’s life is completely ruined. Maybe her too-good-to-be-true boyfriend will break up with her. (Hell, maybe he’ll leave her for her best friend! I mean, that’s the obvious way to go.) In some way, the protagonist will snap, and then vengeance will be hers.
But will I really care?
It’s not like she’s in this situation because she has to be. She’s young. She’s got a family she can fall back on. She wants to be in magazines, so why doesn’t she actually work on writing something–submitting pieces to her beloved New Yorker? She took this assistant job on a whim…after going to an interview on a whim…after halfheartedly passing around resumes. There’s no investment there. Did she never take an econ course? Sometimes it’s better to cut your losses.
I can be pretty damn stubborn, but this is the kind of stubborn I have a hard time identifying with. Am I supposed to think she’s noble because she put up with this woman for so long? Am I supposed to imagine her a hero for whatever she’ll end up doing to resolve the situation?
The stupid is only believable so far.
I’m going to finish it. I’m not really a masochist; I’m just the type of person who hates to leave things unfinished.
And maybe, just maybe, this is all intentional. Maybe we are meant to dislike the protagonist. Maybe the protagonist is the true villain here. Maybe the point of this whole conflict is for her to grow up and get over her small-minded, ignorant views. Maybe as she works for this horrible woman, she will begin to see herself reflected in those haughty eyes.
That would redeem the book a little.
Unfortunately, regardless of whether the author is headed towards a broader perspective or simply a festival of revenge, she’s taking an awfully long and painful road to get there.