Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Overnight Socialite by Bridie Clark

Synopsis: Lucy Jo Ellis, from a small town in Minnesota, moved to New York with the dream of becoming a famous designer, but so far, working in a dress shop cutting out patterns, she hasn’t gotten very far. Wyatt Hayes is a Harvard-educated anthropologist from money, very old money, who just dumped his socialite girlfriend. Suddenly inspired while waiting for a taxi, he bets his friend that he can turn a girl, any girl, into a bona fide New York socialite, no matter how corn-fed she is. Lucy needs a job, so she agrees to the experiment. In a whirlwind of personal trainers, designer gowns, spa retreats, and elocution lessons, Lucy is transformed, and now she must decide which of the Lucys is really her, and if Wyatt is simply a scientist or if there is more to his story.

My thoughts: the main reason why I picked this book – besides the fact that it cost me a dollar to buy – was the huge resemblance to My Fair Lady, the Audrey Hepburn’s musical/romance/comedy movie in Technicolor, since it’s no mystery that I’m a Hepburn fan. I proved myself to be absolutely right.

                This book is about a socialite anthropologist to pick a random girl and turn her into the next “it” girl of le crème de la crème of Manhattan. Does it ring a bell? Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgings, phonetic academic, perhaps? Anyway, Wyatt – that’s the name of the anthropologist – makes a bet with his friend Trip Peters that Lucy Jo – that’s the random girl – would be perfectly ready for the grand-huge-master-super-dupper-important ball three months away and that she would fool every blue-blood in the room.

                So the games begin. As I said, this reminds every bit of My Fair Lady’s plot, except its period of time – one was around the eighteenth/nineteenth century and the other was twenty-first century – and the fact that the story brought other characters into view, such as Cornelia Rockman – Lucy Jo’s nemesis - , Eloise Carlton – Lucy’s best friend and a designer as she wanted to become one day – and others that don’t come to mind now. Those other angles were what kept me from saying this was a complete copy – although it is, most of it anyway – of the movie.

                Wyatt is a stupid little macho when the story is beginning. But after a while, when he realizes that he actually cares for the girl’s feelings, he starts to respect her and support her with what she has always wanted in her life: to be someone in the fashion industry. But it’s saddening to think that only by this path that a man can finally respect a woman’s wishes and decisions – but let us not be so gloomy. I cannot say I didn’t have my share of laughter – it is a chick-lit novel after all – but this is not enough to make into my top 10 favorite books of all times.


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