7 August 2009

Book Review: The Making of Mia by Ilana Fox

This novel tells us the story of Jo Hill, a young girl whose dream is to work for a national glossy magazine as a journalist, but she is sure her appearance is going to stop her dream from becoming a reality. We first join the book when Jo is a schoolgirl taking her A-Levels at a posh school, although she is a London girl from near Peckham. Jo loves reading her magazines, eating chocolate bars and generally hiding herself away from the other girls, and gets a shock when her A-Levels do not go her way. Jo has to get a job working in a cafe, until her friend Amelia helps her out with a job at a restaurant.

Eventually Jo gets a job working as a secretary for the one of the glossy magazines, strangely enough called Glossy, and she believes this is the foot in the door to get her dream job of journalist on the magazine. The girls are incredibly to Jo because of her plump appearance and she is soon miserable. And even though she eventually gets promoted to PA of the magazines chief editor, Jo is still unhappy and ignored. After a showdown with her boss Joshua, Jo flees England to stay with her friend Amelia for a holiday in Florida. But Jo is not set to return the woman that she was, but will people realise that Jo has become Mia??

As I mentioned, I really did think that this book was going to be another remake of the infamous book and movie, The Devil Wears Prada. However, when I began to read it, I realised that the book was actually quite different, especially in the story. Yes, the two characters in both books wanted to be journalists, they didn't fit in and had to change how they were. But that is where the similiarities end. I found the character of Jo Hill, the lead in this book, was much more likeable that Andie in TDWP. Also, I found that the story was much more focused on the personal life and feelings of Jo, rather than just her job.

I really did love Jo character, and you really did want everything to work out for her in the end. All the way through, I was thinking how much I was behind her, and at no point did I dislike her. I felt so sorry for her when she was being bullied by her peers at school and at the magazine, and I did wonder why anyone would want to work in an industry where image is everything and the person that you are is nothing. Jo's best friend is actually one of the prettiest girls in school but sees the great person that Jo is inside, and helps Jo with her image and her lack of self-confidence. I really liked Amelia's character and the fact she didn't care about her friend's appearance and only saw the good inside her.

The character of Jo's boss at the magazine was Joshua, and a truly horrible man! He was instantly hateable, with his cocky manners and the rude way in which he spoke to all his staff, as if he thought he was better than all of them. I actually really hated him, and I really wanted Jo to get his revenge on him and humilate him just like he deserved!

This really is a story of the Ugly Duckling who turns into the beautiful swan and gets revenge on all those who have smited her just because of how she looks, and despite her talent as a writer. Like many women, Jo lacks the self-confidence and belief in herself to change how she looks, and the drastic measures she resorts to are quite horrifying and make for a little bit of unpleasant reading, although it makes you realise that you perhaps a bit happier with your own lot than you realised! It is well written, lively, fun and a really uplifting read, one I would recommend that you all read, as it's just a good romp through London, the USA and the life of Joanne Hill...or is it Mia Blackwood?! This is a superb debut novel and I look forward to Ilana's second boko Spotlight due out in 2010!

Rating: 5/5

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