Thursday, February 22, 2007

Velvet Rope Diaries - Daniella Brodsky



Velvet Rope Diaries
Daniella Brodsky
Berkley

Chick Lit

On the surface, and on the back cover, this book looks like your normal chick lit light read. In fact, it’s much darker in tone than most of the chick lit I’ve read. While that’s a bit surprising, it’s not at all a bad thing. It gives the story and the characters depth and resonance.

When she was eight, Anna Walker killed her father. That’s what she believes. There was a house fire, and she ran to get help. Her father, still in the house, died. Anna has never gotten over her incredible feelings of guilt over this incident. It affects every decision, every relationship, every single day of her life. When we meet her, she’s working at a newspaper in a pretty much dead-end and very much boring job as a glorified secretary for a woman she calls Nasty. Her name? Ms. Jackson.

Anna is completely apathetic about her career. She knows, in her late twenties, she should be doing something more about getting her journalism career off the ground, but she lets each day slip by, secretly believing that she doesn’t really deserve anything more. It takes an embarrassing incident regarding her boss, and getting fired from her nowhere job to jolt Anna out of her rut. She’s amazed to be offered her own column, covering the local hot spots, which, in New York City, are numerous and ever changing. The problem? Anna is not exactly a club kid. Her self-doubt surfaces on her very first assignment, but so does an attractive stranger who gets her past that first velvet rope, and, quite possibly, into a whole new life.

The author does a wonderful job of taking what could have been another fluffy chick lit book and infusing it with actual human pathos. Anna is a damaged person. She’s not just someone with a string of bad relationships; she’s a woman who truly believes that her actions killed her father. Fortunately for her, she’s got a best friend who pushes her to get therapy. The road to happiness is not presented as an easy, one-step thing. There are problems and setbacks and even some laughs along the way. If you’re looking for chick lit that’s entertaining, but a bit deeper than usual, you won’t want to miss this one.

Rating: 8
October 2006
ISBN# 0-422-20782-X (trade paperback)

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