Monday, April 21, 2014

Review: "Pretty in Ink" by Lindsey Palmer

Welcome to the ruthless offices and cubicles of Hers magazine, a women's magazine that has seen better days. Meet Mimi, the new editor-in-chief determined to turn the magazine around at absolutely any cost. She doesn't hesitate to fire those who don't fit in with her new vision and as a result she quickly becomes public enemy number one.

As the summer carries on the women at Hers struggle to mesh the old with the new, and every one of the "old" Hers employees wonders when her pink slip will come. Filled with office gossip and office politics, Pretty in Ink is a captivating and juicy version of what goes on in the hallways of women's magazines today.

I thoroughly enjoyed this fun and surprisingly catty version of what goes on behind the scenes of modern women's magazines. A former magazine editor herself, debut author Lindsey Palmer certainly brings her own experiences to life on the page. We meet women that we root for, such as mom- to- triplets Leah Brenner who loves her job and refuses to give it up despite the writing on the wall and her husband's push for a move to rural Vermont. We meet women that we are less sure that we like, such as Victoria, a woman destined to take Leah's spot at Hers who is desperate for a baby and secretly finds joy in the fact that Leah will soon be unemployed. We also meet women that we are certainly sure that we don't like, such as assistant to Mimi, Laura, who refuses to get to know or acknowledge the other women in her office despite their various attempts to be friendly. This eclectic collection of characters make up the team at Hers magazine and, for better or for worse, they need to learn to work with one another if they want to keep their jobs. When a scandal rocks the Hers office it is interesting to see who sinks and who floats.

The one criticism that I have for Pretty in Ink is that there were so many characters whose lives we peeked in to that we didn't get to know any one character particularly well. Although I can certainly see that the author was desiring to give us the big picture as to what goes on behind the scenes of a women's magazine, from the lowly mail man all the way to the editor, I did find that the result was not an in-depth connection with any one character. Some of the character's stories felt unfinished to me and I wish that I could have gotten to know them better. One character's story in particular left me curious to know more, but we got to know her in one chapter and that was it. I would have liked the book a little bit better if there had been three or four characters working at the magazine that we got to know really well.

Pretty in Ink is a well-written, interesting take on life behind the scenes of a popular women's magazine. Funnily enough I picked up a popular women's magazine to read right after I was done reading this book and this particular women's magazine had a new editor-in-chief at the helm. As I read the Editor's Letter I couldn't help but wonder what went on behind the scenes as the new editor-in-chief took charge! Pretty In Ink certainly changed the way that I view women's magazines and I would recommend it to those who already know what goes on behind the scenes as well as those who don't!

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