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Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Tuesday Titles 014..

Career Girls
Career Girls
What's Eating Me
What's Eating Me
Beauty
Beauty
A couple of days away on camp last week, followed by spending most of my Saturday on the bus to the #BigGig2014 at the Liverpool Echo, has meant that I've sped through a few more books this week. I think my 52 in 52 page is just about up to date, although I need to check what else I've finished lately as I have a feeling I've missed one. Here are my thoughts on what I've been reading over the past seven days.

001: Career Girls by Louise Bagshawe

I was given this book to read by a friend; I don't think I've read anything by Bagshawe before but she told me a bit of a back-story of the author and how this book apparently reflects some of her own story.

Career Girls tells of a lifelong rivalry between Rowena Gordon and Topaz Rossi, whose friendship is
shattered at university when Rowena steals Topaz's man. Fast forward a few years and they've both had miraculously lucky breaks when it comes to their careers, dominating the music and publishing industries respectively. I couldn't quite understand how either of them could have time to focus on their careers, given how much of it they seemed to spend in bed with any-man-who-comes-along. Whilst I'm certainly not averse to sex scenes, I felt that Bagshawe was trying hard to make a point about these successful women and their need to be dominated, but that it didn't really work. The idea was repeated too frequently to have any real bearing on the storyline or characters.

Other than this, I found it a fairly mindless and frothy read and couldn't help but notice how often the reader was subjected to a full description of what the girls were wearing (the 90s equivalent of stopping to take a selfie?) or how attractive they were. Pretty and successful women at the top of their game. Done so many times before that it's getting rather boring, no..?

This is one of those books that I'd read on holiday, but wouldn't waste my baggage allowance on bringing it home again.

002: What's Eating Me? by Elaine Spires

I was sent this book to review after chatting to Elaine on Twitter, so lost no time in giving it a whirl.

Eileen, single mother of two teenage boys is overweight. Fat. Obese. No beating around the bush here. Written as a diary, Eileen recounts what happens to her family and her relationship with food. Eileen clearly has issues with her mother, who seems to want to control her as well as taking every opportunity to put her daughter down: she seems to be a truly toxic person and I had no sympathy for her at all, despite the apparent drinking problem.

Tricked into it by her mother, Eileen appears on a weight-loss TV show; Barbara's Beautiful Bodies. She is provided with a weight-loss diet and exercise plan and is assured that by following these, her life will change for the better and forever. Presumably it's obvious to anyone who has ever dieted that is not likely to be the case.

In stark contrast to my comments about Career Girls, Eileen is a much more realistic protagonist. Whilst I'm not quite in the same boat as Eileen, I have struggled a lot with food related issues lately and I know that they can be something all-consuming. That said, I didn't find any of the characters particularly likeable.

Give it a read if you want to feel sympathetic towards Eileen in her battle against obesity.

003: Beauty by Louise Mensch 

Bagshawe, but under a different name. By complete chance, this book arrived from Bookbridgr this week, just as I'd finished Louise's earlier offering.

Published on 22nd May, her latest book centres on Dina Kane; a feisty Brooklyn kid whose family are associated with the Mafia and who (sensing a common theme?) grew up without a father or any love from her mother, who only has time for her brother. Nonetheless, Dina is determined to make something of herself and manages to land some more of that miraculous luck in pathing out a career for herself.

Revenge seems to be a recurring theme in this book, as Dina stops at nothing to get her revenge on the boy who she so naively gave away her virginity to. I found this revenge thread as out-of-place as in Career Girls, if I'm honest with the two characters using more and more ridiculously unrealistic methods of getting back at one another.I didn't really warm to either Edward or Dina, who seem to me to be based on minor Gossip Girl parallel characters.

Beauty cements itself firmly in today's society with the over-mentioning of things like beauty bloggers and current brands; almost too much so. Dina, much like Rowena in the previous book seems to build herself a career from nowhere, in an industry which she just wakes up one day and decides to conquer.

I'd probably recommend this one only if you really had nothing else to read.

Have you read anything good lately?

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