Wednesday, February 28, 2007 at 10:46PM
BECAUSE SHE CAN
(Warner Books, 2007)
by Bridie Clark
Hardcover, 274 pgs, $23.99 U.S.
I really liked this book! BECAUSE SHE CAN is literary candy: delicious and easy to enjoy.
BECAUSE SHE CAN is a good (well done!) example of Chick Lit, or modern day fairy tales for twentysomethings: In which a smart, funny, reasonably attractive, but somewhat insecure, young heroine obsesses in equal parts over career and romance, experiencing plenty of ups and downs in both, all the while keeping a worried eye on the Biological Clock; yet through it all, comes out Happily Ever After, all before the age of 30.
BECAUSE SHE CAN is just like THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, without the high-fashion Ugly Duckling transformation; still, a highly satisfying "boss from hell" nightmare, set in the book publishing industry.
Main character Claire Truman is a sensitive, down-to-earth twentysomething who takes a calculated risk to work with the demon diva of book publishing, a horrible tyrant named Vivian Grant. Claire commits to a year to build her career, asking the inevitable, "How bad could it be?" At the same time, she begins an improbable romance with a handsome JFK, Jr type -- perfect in every way -- who is uber-rich and from an impeccable family line, but he's busy, and distant, leaving room for competition.
Of course, the job gets hellish, with 2am phone calls at home, to verbally abusive smackdowns in office meetings, to a "gross, telephonic ménage à trois with my boss and an aging lothario," which was hysterical -- and incredibly creepy, if something like this ever happened in real life.
And that's the bitter twist that makes this book wickedly delicious: BECAUSE SHE CAN is an obvious roman à clef, although the author denies it (of course she would!), about the infamous Judith Regan of ReganBooks...more about that in The Rebel Blog...
It's good stuff, as Claire slogs out her year at GrantBooks, shocked at the antics and depravity of her outrageously successful employer. All the while she is wondering how a human being turns into a Vivian Grant, she slowly begins to recognize herself on the slippery slope to becoming a protégé -- and there's got to be more to life than that, right?!