12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
the inside story of looking lovely,
This review is from: A Vision of Loveliness (Paperback)
Does anyone in 2010 have a 22 inch waist? Today's size zero models have nothing on these poor girls who are taken to the most expensive West End restaurants to sit uncomfortably in their 'waspies' and vomit between each course, ferociously brushing their teeth and reapplying just the right amount of make up to stay on the right side of the fine line between sophisticate and tart.
The novel is set in 1963, 'bobs' are just making their appearance but Twiggy's boyfriend look has yet to hit the scene. Janey's E cup figure is 'sample size' and this, coupled with the long hours of practice of her Paris Turns and being mistakenly handed a crocodile handbag, land her living her dream life of a model; a dream she has held on to through a life imprisoned in suburban hell with her aunt and frumpish sister (whom she disowned as an orphaned child, choosing instead the pretty blond as her sister, a trick unfortunately noticed and righted when they were rehoused with bitter Aunt Doreen)
The period detail cannot be faulted. It is a lesson in history as much as an absorbing story of the two 'it' girls and their rather sad existences spent working very hard at not working to pay the rent.
It is a book one is drawn into very quickly. The first chapters are light and breezy, funny and clever, and then the darker side of this life creeps in. The change in Jane as she evolves into Janey and depressingly quickly learns how to get what she wants (or thinks she should want) from the richest - though rarely the best looking - men. We see the stark choice for women in the early 60s between stay at home wife, wallowing in candlewick, or reviled tart, existing on Camp coffee, gin and ill gotten gowns.
A Vision of Loveliness is a wonderful picture of life at a turning point in women's history and as the book ends we are left looking forward to the the arrival of The Beatles, the mini, and the liberation of women and their waist lines!
Buy it. Read it. Love it. Live it - and breath easy in your Tencel!