17 May 2009

Book Review: Crazy In Love by Chris Manby

Birdie Sederburg lives in LA, and is certainly enjoying her lifestyle. She's the heiress to a global franchise of golf resorts owned by her grandfather Julian, and loves nothing more than spending her vast inheritance on hideous clothes and jewellery.

When soap actor Dean Stevenson catches her eye, Birdie decides she has to have him. Dean, on the other hand, couldn't be less interested. So Birdie decides she must do something drastic to get Dean's attention. She decides to get herself kidnapped.

Is Dean going to realise Birdie really was the woman of his dreams, or has it been a big waste of time for Birdie?

Having not read a Chris Manby novel before (and not really knowing why I haven't), I was looking forward to enjoying a new author's style and story. After reading the blurb, the story seemed a tad daft but I do occasionally like the odd easy read, and this book definitely seemed to fall into that category. The cover screamed out chick lit, with a model-looking woman clutching a cocktail, a dog, and glittery silver letters with the title, which I think sadly might put off some potential readers, as this book is better than its cover leads you to believe.

Firstly, I couldn't believe that the author had named her lead character Birdie when she is a golf resort heiress. It wasn't just a clever play on words but as you get reading, you can see that the name suits the character and the over-the-top style of the book perfectly. Birdie seems to be a parody of those young American girls who have lots of money, not much fashion sense and want a famous hunk to get pictured with. I could imagine several 'celebrities' in my head as I was reading this, and I think this is clever of Chris Manby, because I was wondering who she had modelled Birdie on throughout the book, especially her disastrous and out-there outfits!

The book follows Birdie's life, her infatuation with the soap star Dean, who I grew to sympathise with and actually like by the end of the book because of his unfortunate situation, her nice but dim best friend Chipper (her parents made their fortune in wood) and mid sex-change assistant Clemency. The whole story is totally outrageous and seems like something a kooky 'celeb' would do for attention, but that is what made it so readable and funny! Birdie was just a disaster from start to finish, but you just had to keep reading to see where she was going to go wrong next. Despite her selfishness and self-obsession, I actually really liked Birdie, and it was mainly her character that kept me reading.

Chris Manby's writing style is very easy to read, and I found this book was great to pick up and put down for whenever I had five minutes. I didn't have to concentrate too hard on the story which is good if you want something light-hearted and quite fun. She wrote this story in the third person, which allows for easy switching between the characters during the novel. For example, during Birdie's 'kidnap', we see the story from several perspectives and this works well to create more of the story and keep the reader wanting to read more. Manby has written a lot of books and she's definitely doing something right for the market she's aimed at, and with fun and enjoyable books like this, I can see why she's popular.

This book is most definitely an easy and fun read, and that's why I liked it. It didn't try to be a serious novel, or anything too hard-going, and its ridiculous story was so laughable it was brilliant. The thought in the back of my mind that Manby is definitely modelling Birdie on someone real made it all the more funnier for me, and I have my own ideas on who Birdie is like! If you love light-hearted and funny chick-lit, then I'd definitely recommend this book to you. There's a moral in there too, but somehow it works and doesn't seem out of place. A fun read and recommended.

Rating: 4/5

This review has also appeared on www.thebookbag.co.uk

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