Saturday, 12 March 2011

Snapped by Pamela Klaffke

GENRE: chick-lit

Sara B. is losing her cool. Not just in the momentary-meltdown kind of way—though there's that, too. At the helm of must-read Snap magazine, veteran style guru Sara B. has had the job—and joy—for the past fifteen years of eviscerating the city's fashion victims in her legendary DOs and DON'Ts photo spread. But now on the unhip edge of forty, with ambitious hipster kids reinventing the style world, Sara's being spit out like an old Polaroid picture: blurry, undeveloped and obsolete. Fueled by alcohol, nicotine and self-loathing, Sara launches into a cringeworthy but often comic series of blowups—personal, professional and private—that culminate in an epiphany. That she, the arbiter of taste, has made her living by cutting people down…and somehow she's got to make amends.


Snapped is a story about a middle-aged woman trying to find herself again, as well as her balance and purpose in life.

Sara B. is a co-founder of the fashionista magazine Snap and she has become famous for taking snaps of people and categorizing them as DOs and DON’Ts, according to what they wear. Now that she is approaching forty and her young new assistant is beginning to usurp this fashionista, Sara’s life begins to spin out of control. Her professional and private are in need of a make-over and Sara must step on the path of self-discovery. She will have to learn that fashion is not everything in life.

The novel is a mixture of light, humorous and dark moments, which gives it an appealing touch. The main problem of the novel that is a bit off-putting, however, is its protagonist. Sara B. is a vulgar woman who drinks too much, indulges in casual sex and morbid thinking and has no respect for herself or other people. She dedicates a lot of time to thinking about mushroom-shaped penises, strange-mutant babies, sex and old people – in fact, she has a strong dislike towards old people that is a bit over the top. She is cynical, has a superior attitude (despite her low self-esteem) and tries to escape the real word by drinking herself into a mindless daze. Eventually, Sara re-invents herself and finds a sort of happy ending for herself, but she does not really learn any lessons and, truth be told, she does not really change for the better, mostly because she does not solve her problems in a healthy way.

The plot is a bit messy, does not have a peak and does not really offer an obvious solution. The premise is good and interesting, but it is not executed as well as it could have been. I am not a prude, but there is too much cursing involved and the word sex is always replaced by the f-word, which makes one imagine that – with all due respect to animals – humans are no better than animals that only trust their instincts.

However, this novel has a very bright point and that is the character of Esther. Esther is an elderly lady who helps Sara see things differently and navigate in the right direction during her journey of self-discovery. Esther is a very warm person, wise and positive. She is the best thing about this novel, as she really is a great character.

The novel also presents the world of fashion in a good and honest way. That part, teeming with well-placed sarcasm, was definitely a joy to read.

To conclude, my main problem with the novel is the protagonist who is not at all likeable. However, if you can get past that, you may still experience a fun read. If you’re interested in the world of fashion, you will know how to appreciate the humour and sarcasm of the novel.

Thank you to Katie McKelliget for sending me a copy of the novel for review and to the author Pamela Klaffke for providing the copy!



Blodeuedd said...

I do fear that I could not get over that main character. I need to be able to like that person I am reading about

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I really prefer to love the MC so this probably isn't the book for me, which is sad because I love a good chick-lit book.

Julie P said...

Hi Irena! I have been so busy lately and haven't been by to visit. Nice review. I enjoy chick lit, but I don't know whether I will pick this one up or not.....