Chick-Lit, Reviews

Review: A Lady’s Guide to Selling Out

A Lady's Guide to Selling OutA Lady’s Guide to Selling Out by Sally Franson

My rating: 3.75 of 5 stars

When I read the synopsis of A Lady’s Guide to Selling Out, an ARC I received through, it sounded a lot like Laura Weisberger’s The Devil Wears Prada so I was definitely expecting a fairly light chick-lit. In many respects, the two novels have plenty in common. Like the earlier novel, Sally Franson’s work centers around a twenty-something woman who gets what job she can after earning her degree in English – in this case working at a marketing firm – then loses her way and her moral compass with the help of an accomplished, powerful yet ultimately corrupt female boss before finding her way back, her true calling, and (potentially) love with the help of some truly good friends.
A Lady’s Guide to Selling Out is much more than Casey Pendergast’s story of navigating the sometimes morally questionable world of advertising though. The novel explores how a well-meaning (most of the time) but sheltered young woman could lose her way, how this intelligent (but not always smart) woman can end up in any number of compromising situations, how the world – especially in today’s world of social media, memes and YouTube videos – can judge so harshly with no evidence and the double standard by which they judge men versus women, the power of friendship, and why our past determines the decisions – good or bad – that we make. Casey, though not always likable, represents all women as she makes mistakes, comes to terms with them with the help of those who love her, starts to be true to herself, and learns that she will continue to make mistakes.
This book held so many important truths about women, work, relationships, society, and most of becoming the best person we can be. Reading A Lady’s Guide to Selling Out was often exhausting like having a needy, selfish friend (like Casey). It wasn’t the characters and their endless drama that sap my reading energy but rather the mirror the book held up to my life and society as a whole and the lessons it taught me.
A Lady’s Guide to Selling Out can at times ramble as Casey’s inner monologue gives voice to her fears and rationalizations and the lessons she’s learned. And Casey is often really not likable. But I think that there are so many important passages and the story truly is a good one that I highly recommend this novel.

A Lady’s Guide to Selling Out is like so many other urban-life chick-lit novels yet completely unique so I could write a whole list of recommendations – Copygirl by Anna Mitchael and My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella for instance – but nothing I’ve read yet is exactly like this novel.

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Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Reviews, Science Fiction

Review: The Philosopher’s Flight

The Philosopher's FlightThe Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

We’ll call this a 3.5 stars because any book that makes the reader think about how they see the world gets extra points. In truth, I’m still trying to decide exactly how I feel about Tom Miller’s debut, The Philosopher’s Flight, an ARC of which I received through Miller’s unique world is intriguing but, in what I imagine is only the first book of a series, it requires a lot of explication so it reads rather slowly for the first 100 pages or so.
The Philosopher’s Flight is an interesting look at a man trying to break into what is essentially a female-dominated section of society during what we now know as World War I. Miller explores themes that are very much relevant today – sexism, war and the arms race, and religious mania. The reversal of roles as the male student is increasingly discriminated against as he proves quite capable in the traditionally female-dominated field of philosophy (not what you think), specifically hovering (they can fly!) certainly makes one take a long look at the forms of discrimination we still find in the world today but, I must admit, his take on it didn’t always sit well with me. I can’t say for sure why but some of the women’s reactions to Robert’s presence and success didn’t always ring true. Specifically, the crude and destructive ways the women act to get Robert to give up his area in the locker room. While I’m certain college-age men would stoop that low but I’m sure young women would. Then again maybe they would and I just haven’t come across one that would.
If it turns out that this is just the start of a series, and though there is a somewhat satisfying end to The Philosopher’s Flight, I really believe there will be, I would probably read subsequent books.

A combination of fantasy, history, science fiction, and coming-of-age genres, The Philosopher’s Flight is difficult to categorize and therefore it is difficult for me come up with a similar book to recommend.  If you enjoy Miller’s unique, alternate history world that truly makes you think, I recommend Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series.  If you like Miller’s strong women set in a period of history when women weren’t expected to be anything let alone fighters and leaders, you might enjoy Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate.  I wouldn’t say that either of these series are very much like The Philosopher’s Flight but they’re the closest I’ve yet read.

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Quote of the Week

Men believed that a woman’s smaller, weaker physical form that allowed them to dominate her was a compensating balance and that no woman must ever be allowed to realize her potential.

~ Jean Auel, Clan of the Cave Bear


Wow!  I’ve been really lousy at keeping up with my quotes of the week in 2018.  Sorry.

I had various issues with Jean Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear but this quote pretty much sums up what I took from it.  And it is so appropriate – now and always.