Technically I heart Boston, but I did successfully also manage to fall in love with NY the last three days I spent there (the first few days I was scared of it’s bigness and scariness – admittedly I was staying at the Youth Hostel in Harlem).
But this post is actually about my first read book of 2011 – I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk.
I actually got this book free with Glamour magazine several months ago. I tossed it to one side, judging it by its size and cover, thinking it looked like a crappy chick lit book (sometimes I am a book snob, I admit it. Despite my Georgette Heyer and Jilly Cooper collection). Yesterday morning I was bored with all my in progress reads, and wanted something light, so I picked it up and took it back to bed with me, along with my current knit in progress (yes I can read and knit at the same time – I use a gimble to hold the book. They are okay, but not great. I didn’t get mine from here, so can’t vouch for them, but got mine from Waterstones).
First thing I noticed was that the print was very very small – not usual for a chick lit. Second thing I noticed was that I’d put my knitting aside as I had been… shock, drawn in. The premise is simple enough, girl attends wedding of best friend with her partner of 10 years, then discovers him shagging a blond thing in the back of their car. Rather than stick around, she hops on the first flight to NYC to escape. In NYC she gets adopted by the hotel concierge and falls into New York dating and shopping. It is very escapist, but it’s descriptions of New York made me want to be back there in a heartbeat, and I admit, wish that something similar would have happened to me on my many trips out to the US (it never did, obviously). But it’s just the right side of believable (although I do worry about Angela’s increasing debt levels as she shoves everything on her credit card. I hope the new job she gets pays well…). And one of the guys she starts dating is every indie girls dream; a sensitive boy in the band (even though in real life boys in the band tend to be complete arses – I am willing to be proved wrong however).
A lot of people have compared this to the Shopaholic series, but I heartily disagree. The protagonist here is thoroughly likeable, whereas I wanted to slap the shopaholic character repeatedly. You want everything to work out for her, and you want her to stay in NYC, and you want to vicarously live through her. I did anyway, and judging from what I’ve read of the author’s motivations in writing the book, that was exactly what she was doing in writing it. I strongly identified with the character, with that feeling of needing to run away (I’d do it too if I had a cheating ex to fund it), and with the general amazingness of New York.
It is chick lit, but I have to remind the booksnob in me that critically acclaimed books are often boring and self indulgent as f*ck, and sometimes you need pure escapism. I loved this book in the same way that I loved The Perks of Being a Wallflower last year. Sometimes a great protagonist with something to say is all you really need.
After reading the book, I then discovered the author’s beauty blog Beauty Mecca which is also worth a read, but unfortunately made me wish I actually had a job at the moment so had some form of disposable income.
Listening to: Baby Animals by Baby Animals