22 May 2008
Book Review: The Glamourous Double Life of Isabel Bookbinder by Holly McQueen
For Isabel Bookbinder, there's no doubt about where she's headed.
Reasons to become a bestselling author:
- Opportunities to swish new Super-hair and captivate the lovely Joe Madison
- Prove to father that Really Am Not a Waster
- Leave column inch-measuring days at the Saturday Mercury behind
- Don't yet have 'Yoko' bag, as carried by arch rival with book deal, Gina D... or honed size eight figure (useful for interviews)
- Hmm. Am also at the centre of a major political sex scandal
- Paparazzi are doorstepping my parents and boring boyfriend Russell
Of course she hasn't yet quite got round to putting pen to paper yet, but Isabel's not one to let a little thing like that stand in her way ...
The plot does indeed sound a bit silly, and this is my general consensus of the book really. Although this book definitely falls into the chick-lit genre, I am sure that it isn't as intelligent as most books I read, and I just found it all a bit too silly and childish for my liking. I do like books which can make me laugh, but this just tried too hard. Books such as the fantastically wonderful Shopaholic series are funny, not at all patronising and very enjoyable. This one didn't match up, and left me pleased it had finished.
My main problem with the book wasn't the writing style, or even the plot, it was the main character herself. Isabel Bookbinder was just plain annoying, and very childish to be honest. I think the author has tried to make her likeable and funny, but I just didn't take it to be that way. Isabel's first person narrative through the book was very well written, with good description throughout the book, but some of Isabel's personal thoughts and things were incredibly annoying. Also, I found Isabel's thoughts about her novel and how successful she was going to be, and also her stupid rantings about personal shoppers etc.....aagghhhh they really annoyed me.
But perhaps the most stupid and annoying thing about this book happened at the end of the chapter, each and every chapter throughout the book, and annoyed me so much, I simply stopped reading them when I got about halfway through the book. These endings to chapters were pretend magazine articles, letters or lists that Isabel had written about her being a super successful author, or things she had to do or letters to MI5 begging them not to kill her. They were ridiculous, stopped the flow of the book completely and just didn't add anything to it at all. Just thinking about it now makes me cross, and glad that I've finished this book!
The idea of a writer writing about a wannabe author is a good one, after all they can draw on their own personal experience and inject a little realism into the book. But the scrapes and incidents that Isabel found herself in were quite unbelievable and a bit silly to be honest. There is a fair amount of humour in the book, some of which is funny, but the rest sort of washed over me a bit, leaving me a bit cold. As well as Isabel, we do meet her family, mainly her parents. Her mother is a bit obssessive about her daughter and her job, and her father is a horrible man thinking whatever his daughter does isn't good enough, leaving you wondering if this is why Isabel has turned out as strangely as she did.
The book started off quite positively, introducing us to Isabel, her colleagues at the newspaper at which she works and Isabel's ideas about being a novelist, but I found it quickly desended into farce and into a book which I didn't find enjoyable to read at all, and actually couldn't wait to end. Although the narrative was well written, and kept the author on track for the entire storyline, weaving throughout the story well, the character was not completely likeable and some of her ramblings became incredibly annoying and made me want to stop reading, which was a real shame. It is chick-lit but sadly chick-lit at its worst, with unbelievable characters, ridiculous additions to the story and a horrid lead character. I wouldn't recommend this book, and its a disappointing debut for Holly McQueen.