Top critical review
Designer labels, designer bodies, shallow lives
on 20 August 2011
This was also my first Louise Bagshawe book, I'm more into Russian literature than chick lit, but you know, Tolstoy didn't get where he did without a few designer breeches - and Dostoievsky wouldn't have got anywhere, without a pair of trendy braces and a dab of carbolic behind the ears.
Having witnessed Louise as a forthright Tory MP investigating phone hacking, asking a bigger fish than any in this book, Rupert Murdoch, if he'd resign, I looked in vain for depth, substance and meaning; Destiny merely provides a proliferation of designer labels, so wonderful, they can only safely be worn by the fictionally airbrushed Kate Fox, whose breasts and buttocks are so firm Michelin should research them, with a view to improving the formula for pneumatic tyres.
Our heroine-of-sorts, rails against body fascism in the latter part of the book, placing a nude size 14 or 16 on the cover of a fashion mag to show what "real" women look like; but it's at the heart of this novel, together with the notion that rich men only want designer wives, inhabitting designer labels, providing designer sex.
The journey Kate takes from doting daughter of a hard working mother, through friendship with the only sympathetic character in the book, Emily, founder of Lucky magazine, to the pinnacle of her gold-digging success when she marries one-dimensional Marcus Broder, is only enlightening when she, herself, sees the light. Sadly it's only with a 20 watt bulb.
Fair enough, it is a good holiday read, apart from banal assumptions about human nature and too many rhetorical questions, Right? I enjoyed the ending, felt I did get to know a little about Ms Bagshawe as well as her characters. She writes fluently, has a flair for plot and an eye for glamour. But life should be more than dog eat dog, ambition can be tempered with compassion, better to stroke the dog than stoke the shallow egos in this book.
I didn't like the crass way in which her so-called liberal mag stuffed a Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor, exposing his prediliction for massage parlours. What consenting adults do in private, is a matter for them. Now there's a liberal sentiment! What about his wife, kids, parents - or perhaps that will be the subject of her next novel. The now defunct News of the World describes the book as "More than addictive...the perfect thing to get you over the end-of-summer blues". Former journalists probably need a couple of stiff drinks, too, their come-uppance was even more profound than Broder's!
I'll read another of your's, Louise. I don't support your politics, but admire your style. But do try to find a little bit of Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King to inspire us, not just bimbos in gladrags.