5.0 out of 5 stars I Thought I Wouldn't Like This.............
But I did. First, the blurb -
"High heels, hijinks, and head honchos in Hollywood Chauvinism. Cutthroat competition. It's all in a day's work for Alexa Ross, vice president of comedy development at Hawkeye Broadcasting System. After years of fighting her way through the Hollywood boys club, Alexa thinks she's finally free of Jerry Kellner, her sleazy ex-boss until...
Published 14 months ago by T. Walker
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The devil's in the details
On one hand, Lindy DeKoven's debut is an entertaining and escapist read that gives a fascinating insider perspective into the misogynistic and hectic world of TV development. On the other hand, like 'The Devil Wears Prada', its obvious model, it ostensibly challenges some sexist stereotypes while confirming others - and I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated with...
Published 19 months ago by Laura T
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The devil's in the details,
On one hand, Lindy DeKoven's debut is an entertaining and escapist read that gives a fascinating insider perspective into the misogynistic and hectic world of TV development. On the other hand, like 'The Devil Wears Prada', its obvious model, it ostensibly challenges some sexist stereotypes while confirming others - and I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated with Alexa's story as it developed, despite the 'empowering' ending.
Alexa Ross is vice president of comedy development at 'HBS', a primetime channel, and is proud of her ability to progress and compete in such a male-dominated industry. But when her old boss, Jerry Kellner, comes to work at HBS, all Alexa's worst nightmares seem to have come true. Jerry makes it clear that he's not only after Alexa's job, but wants the top prize, the role of president of entertainment. Alexa is determined to prove that she's a better executive than Jerry, despite his outward charm and his use of male bonding and 'schmoozing' to get ahead. However, as she embarks on a fragile new relationship with sixth-grade teacher Gordon and commits to mentoring one of his students, Marisol, retaining a work-life balance becomes harder than ever. Will Alexa choose her career or commit to her friends and family?
That question, in fact, is the problem, just as it was with 'The Devil Wears Prada'. If either Alexa or 'Prada's' heroine, Andy, had been shown to be truly ruthless or uncaring in their pursuit of promotion, I would be more sympathetic to this plotline. However, Alexa, at least (jury's probably out on Andy) clearly retains her moral centre while trying to get the top job. The most she can be accused of is working too hard, and as she clearly warned both Gordon and Marisol about the craziness of 'pilot season' beforehand, I didn't feel that she had been dishonest with either of them. In this context, Gordon's comment that Alexa is 'becoming just like Jerry' seems whiny and unjustified, not honest. DeKoven seems to have been aiming for a Miranda Priestly-esque 'You remind me of myself when I was your age' but it falls flat, especially given that Alexa goes out of her way to be supportive of her female coworkers and defend them against the worst of the men's sexism. As for Marisol, her close relationship with Alexa is simply unrealistic, given the short periods of time they have spent together, and the little that Alexa actually does to gain Marisol's trust. Given that work does not seem to be adversely affecting Alexa's personality, I could only read this as another version of the tired 'women can't have it all' trope.
This indicates a deeper problem in the novel. DeKoven is commendably clear about the damaging effects of the sexist culture at HBS and the power of the 'glass ceiling'. However - and I think, unconsciously - she confirms another set of gender stereotypes in doing so. The novel rightly suggests that it's not just outright sexism that is the problem, but a work environment that doesn't recognise women's strengths, focusing instead on the shallow glamour of somebody like Jerry. As Alexa comments to a female colleague: 'Women just don't think like that. We kill ourselves to do the best we can. We believe that if we do a great job we'll be rewarded.' While DeKoven is absolutely right that work environments should recognise both traditionally 'masculine' and 'feminine' qualities, where I think she goes wrong is in ascribing 'feminine' strengths to all her female characters, and failing to recognise, for example, that women can be good at 'guys' stuff' and some men might reject this macho culture. Alexa notes that she is good at her job because she is creative and great at communication, which is fine, but in a book that deals so heavily with gender issues, I felt that a more well-rounded, less female-coded skillset might have been appropriate for the heroine. While this might sound a tall order, it can be done - the fantastic Jojo in Marian Keyes's 'The Other Side of the Story', who also suffers sex discrimination at work, is a case in point.
While it may seem beside the point to have discussed the feminist issues that this novel raises in such detail, unfortunately these problems really hindered my enjoyment of the story, so I felt that I had to mention them in my review. For other chick lit novels that deal with similar themes in a more interesting way, I would recommend 'The Other Side of the Story' or Erin Duffy's 'Bond Girl'.
3.0 out of 5 stars One-read book, too easy to put down and leave,
I thought I was going to enjoy this (by page 35 I actually wanted to punch Jerry!) but the whole book just doesn't sit well with me - e.g. the 2 steel balls sat on her desk ("Now you have 4" being the note from Alexa's friends)
I can see where the book is trying to go - showing an ambitious woman trying to overcome her equally ambitious but pig of an ex-boss who is trying to beat her to the top job, but there is just way too much detail in the book (perhaps some of it based on fact?) for it to be an enjoyable novel. Its almost as if the author was trying to write the screenplay to turn it into a film.
I don't read an awful lot of books nowadays but once I get into something I do tend to read way past my bedtime without noticing the time; however I found this very easy to put down and leave for hours - or even days.
5.0 out of 5 stars I Thought I Wouldn't Like This.............,
But I did. First, the blurb -
"High heels, hijinks, and head honchos in Hollywood Chauvinism. Cutthroat competition. It's all in a day's work for Alexa Ross, vice president of comedy development at Hawkeye Broadcasting System. After years of fighting her way through the Hollywood boys club, Alexa thinks she's finally free of Jerry Kellner, her sleazy ex-boss until she learns that Jerry is her newest employee. Now it's all-out war at HBS, and Jerry is determined to destroy Alexa. Good thing Alexa has her charming boyfriend, Gordon, and her best girlfriends for emotional support. But the pressure in her life forces her to a breaking point, and she finds herself wondering what matters most and if she has the strength and the determination to finally shatter the glass ceiling without ruining the rest of her life."
From that I expected the book to turn out to be a typical Hollywood saga, but I was wrong. It appears the author has experience as a TV executive and I suspect that some of the story comes from real life. Told in the first person, Alexa travels a road that leads her to become the ruthless executive she once despised, where winning is all that matters. As you might expect this is also a tale of redemption and I finished the book thinking, "Whew! I'm glad that happened!"
Well drawn characters, a good storyline told at a fast pace, this book is likely to keep you reading past your bedtime. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Recommended.
3.0 out of 5 stars Balls of Steel? Really?,
I enjoyed this book on an off-the-shelf-in-a-supermarket kind of a way. The story carries you along nicely and you want to see if the baddie gets his comeuppance and if the romantic pair finally get together. It's a very daytime TV kind of book. There is a problem, though.
Primetime Princess suffers from some of the sexism portrayed in the book:
The heroine, Alexa, is shown to be insecure because of her gender, distracted by emotion and easily intimidated - all the weaknesses men pin onto women in business. Yet Lindy DeKove attempts to tell the reader she is a successful powerful woman. She turns her into a superbitch at one point to prove she can be that, too. Somehow neither personality really convinces.
The story needs the balance of ballsy independant ladies and it just doesn't have it. Every woman seems to be struggling in a mire of male inappropriate behaviour.
Alexa comes across as one very sweet, but sappy, lady and by two-thirds of the way through the book I was convinced that she was totally undeserving of the promotion she so badly wanted because of this.
What DO you want? I wanted to ask: work-life balance is not an option in the TV industry.
I know this may be how it really is, but as a buyer of escapist fiction, do I want to read that much detail?
The sudden turn-round of the women at the end provides a kind of satisfactory conclusion, but somehow the whole book feels based too much in reality, too factual. What it needs is a good dose of Jackie Collins-esque send up of the whole ridiculous reality. Here things are just a little too earnest.
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun but falls a bit flat in places,
I almost want to just post a link to Laura T's review and follow it up with "This."
There is a lot to like here. It's an interesting story - a female executive trying to make it in the male dominated entertainment industry, up against an ex-boss who exemplifies all the worst of it - and it serves as a fascinating behind the scenes look. It makes an good study of gender discrimination in a very macho environment without being preachy or bogging down the pace. Lindy DeKoven has a very easy, readable style and it was a very enjoyable book. It'd be a good holiday read.
However, I felt really let down by the ending which just seemed to reinforce the idea that women can't succeed in that kind of environment without supposedly becoming terrible people. I hardly think that working long hours is equivalent to turning into the kind of ruthless egomaniac that Jerry the ex-boss was supposed to be, but that's what was suggested in the book. A message which the lead character then accepts and everyone around her reinforces. I wound up feeling like a lot of the people in the character's life were just being unreasonable, yet it's presented as her learning some great life lesson.
It's not by any means a bad or unenjoyable book, I think it just lost its own message somewhere in the latter half.
4.0 out of 5 stars easy read,
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This review is from: Primetime Princess (Kindle Edition)
Nice easy read, not too much in depth character information though and pretty much knew what the outcome would be, but never the less I still enjoyed it.
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Primetime Princess by Lindy DeKoven