Monday, May 19, 2014

[Book Review] Blogger Girl by Meredith Schorr

Blogger GirlBlogger Girl by Meredith Schorr

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Part 1: From The Book Cover

What happens when your high school nemesis becomes the shining star in a universe you pretty much saved? Book blogger Kimberly Long is about to find out.

A chick lit enthusiast since the first time she read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim, with her blog, "Pastel is the New Black," has worked tirelessly by night to keep the genre alive, and help squash the claim that "chick lit is dead" once and for all. Not bad for a woman who by day ekes out a meager living as a pretty, and pretty-much-nameless, legal secretary in a Manhattan law firm.

While Kim's day job holds no passion for her, the handsome (and shaving challenged) associate down the hall is another story. Yet another story is that Hannah Marshak, one of her most hated high school classmates, has now popped onto the chick lit scene with a hot new book that's turning heads--and pages--across the land. It's also popped into Kim's inbox--for review. With their ten-year high school reunion drawing near, Kim's coming close to combustion over the hype about Hannah’s book. And as everyone around her seems to be moving on and up, she begins to question whether being a “blogger girl” makes the grade in her off-line life.

Part 2: Recommendation

Kimberly "Kim" Long is someone who I think a lot of women can relate to, and her reaction to being asked to fetch coffee for the team especially coming from a snobby lawyer is so hilarious for me because I definitely would have the same reaction if someone asked me to fetch coffee for them especially if the person asking for it is more than capable of doing so themselves and if the person asking for it was really mean to me. Throughout the book, we quickly discover that her high school nemesis, Hannah Marshak wrote a chick lit book and that Hannah was really mean to Kim back in high school and we immediately sympathize with Kim and think Hannah is the evil queen and also because we hear the same bad press from Bridget, Kim's best friend since high school. Towards the end of the book, I was nodding my head in agreement when Kim explained to Rob, "I was afraid if I didn't strike while the iron was hot, I would change my mind. And I have been putting this off for ten years now already..." and when she told her friends, "...Can't let that bitch upstage me forever" I couldn't have been more proud of Kim.

Our first impression of Hannah, based on her email to Kim, is that Hannah is a really mean, manipulative girl and that the world thinks she could do no wrong. Then we see how Kim and Hannah interacts at the reunion and it somewhat solidifies that first impression when Hannah starts flirting with Nicholas at the hotel lobby bar. But then, somewhere towards the end of the book, we start to like Hannah especially when Hannah said to Kim, "'re many things but a crybaby is not one of them..." and "...I hate to see another woman cry..." I appreciate this side of Hannah since all we've heard about her so far were accounts from Kim and Bridget's perspective so coming to this part of the book was refreshing and it sheds some light into Hannah's other side but then it quickly got dashed to pieces when Hannah added, "...when was the last time I went out of my way to make you feel better...?" Sigh... and we're back to not liking Hannah again.

As for the leading man in this story, I have to say though that Nicholas was not very memorable for me physically and I couldn't even remember his name (thank God for my notes) but he did have some awesome dialogue that Kim really had to hear when he said, "...If you think I'm such a fucking snob, why am I here?...The truth is it makes no difference to me what you do for a living as long as you're passionate about it. I wouldn't care if you were a garbage collector, if you loved the job or if it made you happy. But for you to say you're passionate about being a legal secretary is a joke. I've watched you at work, Kim. It's a good job and you do it well, but you're bored out of your mind! You put more enthusiasm into tweeting about your blog than anything you do for Rob and you have zero motivation to change it...If anyone in this room is embarrassed about what you do for a living, it's you, not me. I had a crush on you since your very first day, before I knew anything about your stupid blog. The blog just gave me a good opening... I wanted you to be happy and was trying to give you a push in the right direction. I actually thought I might be falling for you. But now I see that you're complacent and that's not what I'm looking for... it sucks that the bitch from high school, who you hate, is a good writer. But maybe you should acknowledge the real reason it upsets you so much...I don't think you're this upset simply because Hannah the Bitch wrote a good book... I think you're upset because Hannah wrote a book and you didn't. Period... I've seen the way you react when the subject of Hannah's book comes up. It's way too strong a reaction for someone who just didn't like the chick in high school. You're jealous." When Nicholas said those words to Kim, the words made my heart soar and break at the same time. Also, one more thing about Nicholas that I somehow find hard to believe was how blind he was to other women flirting with him. I get it that he was traumatized by a past relationship but these women were blatantly flirting with him and he doesn't notice it. So I find it really hard to believe how he ignored Hannah's hand running up and down his arm at the hotel lobby bar or how snarky and rude Daneen is towards Kim but finally, I guess the author had to somehow get the readers to like him again seeing as he is the hero when Nicholas finally admitted to Kim, "Daneen's treatment of you was completely deplorable and I'm sorry I dismissed it. I should have stuck up for you...She was jealous..." No shit Sherlock. Nicholas dismissed Daneen's rudeness towards Kim several times throughout the book and is now finally seeing the truth? Even though Nicholas apologized for this, I still think Kim should ditch him no matter how cute or handsome he may be and not to mention how oblivious Nicholas is to all the flirting that goes on around him that is actually directed at him. Totally unbelievable - at least for me. If a guy can't even stand up for his girl, I think he needs to grow a backbone but in the meantime, the girl should find someone who already has a backbone.

Between Bridget and Caroline, Kim's two best friends, I would definitely like to be able to work from home like Bridget but I also am able to relate more to Caroline's straight forward, down-to-earth, practical, book-loving personality. Bridget was really memorable when she told Kim, "...All of your concerns that you were just a distraction, that you weren't 'successful' enough, were figments of your own paranoia..." And this scene that made me laugh was when Bridget commented to Kim and Caroline, "...Someone should have worn a sports bra when she was younger and maybe her boobs wouldn't hang so low now!" And I am not telling as to what happened for Bridget to say something like this. You will just have to read the book. And I agree with Bridget when she said, "The five minutes she was nice to Kim don't make up for the 500 times she wasn't... a leopard doesn't change its spots." Caroline had some pretty good dialogue too especially when she challenged Kim with a question, "...think you can write you own happy ending?"

A much welcomed insight from Kim's mother made me smile when mother and daughter were talking and the mother said to Kim, "It's about time... I've been waiting for you to take your writing seriously for the past five years. This secretarial gig is a good one and Rob is a wonderful boss but, Kimberly, you're a writer. It's what you love. It's what you've always loved. You should spend your life doing what you love... Anyway, you're a great writer. All of your teachers said so beginning in the 5th grade. But even if you don't write a best seller, you'll never know unless you try! And I promise you'll enjoy the process. Much more than you probably enjoy making copies for Rob."

The plot of Blogger Girl is pretty simple and straight forward, an easy read despite it's 550-page length. It is very well-paced, well-edited and well-written. There's just three or four very minor typos that I've found like missing a coma on one of the dialogues that I quoted here in this review and mispelling Sophie Kinsella's name at the first mention as Sophia Kinsella is just a few. For a chick-lit, I think 550 pages is a bit much but to be honest, I think there's nothing more to cut and still make the story flow effortlessly. I also like the author's technique of using a very short amount of time like four minutes to be exact to build tension. It was so effective that I didn't even realize I was holding my breath until Kim "....took a much needed breath..." I also enjoyed the author's use of a cliff hanger when she ended the chapter with "Daneen's the 'Shitter!" How can you not want to read more with that dialogue especially one coming from Hannah?

The characters are well developed and I really loved seeing how Kim has grown emotionally towards the end when we read narration like, "...For the first time in my life, I actually felt indebted to Hannah. Maybe Writer Chick wasn't that bad after all..." or when Kim admits to herself, "...I was one of those people who had that 'gread idea' that amounted to nothing. Rather than set myself up to fail again, I had given up the dream and denied that the dream even existed. Until Nicholas saw right through me. He was right. I was jealous of Hannah Marshak..." and I was really proud of Kim when she said to Bridget, " I wouldn't say I like Hannah, Bridge... I have a newfound respect for her though...." I thought that was very brave of Kim and as a reader, I felt the same towards Hannah. I also loved reading Kim's first and final version of her review on Hannah's book. It showed maturity and professionalism that I was truly proud of - for Kim. Another scene that I was happy about was when Kim finally develops a back bone of her own and finally stands up for herself when Daneen was being very disrespectful to her again. It wasn't only that, it was how Kim did it that made me smile smugly and think, "That should do it."

Overall, I enjoyed this book, I love the writer's style, I'm not sure about the cover illustration though. Half of me thinks it conveys the book's theme perfectly but the other half feels like it needs something more. The title of the book is what drew my attention in the first place since I also blog about books but it was the story that drew me in and kept me reading. I can't wait to see what Meredith Schorr comes up with next.

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