Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Because She Can

I guess it was inevitable following the huge success of The Devil Wears Prada that other books would follow suit. Because She Can which is written by Bridie Clark is dubbed the Devil Wears Prada of the publishing world. Claire Truman is a very talented and hard working assistant editor who primps novels for one of the most prestigious publishers in the city. She is also ambitious and keen to make editor so despite numerous warning she quits her cosy job and goes to work at a smaller publisher that is more successful. Grant Books is founded and run by the legendary Vivian Grant who is admired and feared by many in the industry. This role gives Claire everything she has ever wanted, a better salary, her own office and more importantly the coveted role as editor along with the clout to green light exciting projects. However there is always a cloud under a silver lining and pretty soon it becomes quite clear that working at Grant Books is not a piece of cake.

Like Lauren Weisberger, Bridie Clark was also employed in the industry she portrays in her book and alas had a tiresome boss who anyone in their right mind would have strangled. As Miranda Priestly is rumoured to be based on the Vogue editor, Anna Wintour, Vivian Grant is based on Judith Regan, a book publishing hot shot. When I picked up this book I will admit I was attracted to the fact that it was rather akin to Devil Wears Prada because I relish a great story about the trials and tribulations of a hard working employee whose life is made a complete and utter terror by her tyrant of a boss. Strangely enough I never rated the book, Devil Wears Prada because in my opinion it was badly written and the main protagonist was an utter bore. Because She Can goes along similar lines here, although it is has a great narrative, unfortunately the characters leave very little to desire. In particular the lead character Claire who is largely forgettable and a complete doormat.

The boss from hell scenario is taken one step further in Because She Can and the events in the book are totally over the top. Vivian is not only verbally and physically abusive to her staff but is quite clearly derranged bordering on psychotic. While Miranda Priestly's icy manner stemmed from the snobbery that was enclaved in the world of glossy publishing, this book gives us no incite as to why Vivian behaves in the atrocious way she does. In fact the more abuse she piles onto her staff the less you start to care. I doubt if I would have flinched had Vivian pulled out a gun and shot all her staff.

If you want to read a book that depicts the publishing world more realistically then I would highly recommend Bestseller which was written by the late and great, Olivia Goldsmith who also penned The First Wives Club. This book is a real trouper and shows a wide range of engaging characters who are a mixture of good and bad.

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