Acting Up by Melissa Nathan

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Acting Up by Melissa Nathan

Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Magda Healey
Reviewed by Magda Healey
Summary: A cheerful and entertaining chick-lit take on Pride & Prejudice, it has an engagingly human heroine, well observed dialogue and decent plot. Not Nathan's best, but still recommended for all chick-lit fans.
Buy? No Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: March 2008
Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd
ISBN: 978-0099505792

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Jasmin Field knows how to judge people. After all, she does it on a weekly basis in her columns in a women's magazine Hurrah! She might be a bit cynical, but that's the price one pays for deep knowledge of fellow human beings: and people-watching is such fun!

To her own surprise, Jasmin lands the role of Elizabeth Bennet in a one-off fund-raising adaptation of Pride and Prejudice directed by a valued stage actor and a Hollywood heart-throb Harry Noble. He is a truly obnoxious type and confirms all her worst preconceptions. However, it would not really be fun if some comeuppance was not in order . When Jazz's best friend abandons her for a slimy slug of a man, her family members go all awry, the column is in mortal danger and things turn out Not Exactly As Planned. There is, of course, a love story line as well as many observations of the acting and journalists' worlds and a lot of humour.

In other words, an archetypal chick-lit, and considering that The Mother Of All Chick-Lit (i.e. Bridget Jones' Diary) was using the same classic as its source, a brave attempt, especially for a début (Acting Up is a re-issue of Melissa Nathan's first novel, originally published under the slightly less dynamic title of Pride, Prejudice and Jasmin Field).

Jasmin is very likeable, though arrogant enough to provide delicious pangs of shadenfreude when life starts questioning her sure judgements. The dialogue is probably the best realised aspect of Acting Up, with very many funny lines and only an odd howler. The main narrative is less polished, and occasionally a bit woody, while the social observations, especially of the media world, are funny, if a bit sketchy, and most of the supporting characters have enough colour to add some life to the tale.

It's a quick, easy and entertaining read, showing a promise that the author realised best in her The Nanny and one of those books perfect for a completely mindless Sunday afternoon or a very long bath.

Thanks to the publishers for entertaining the Bookbag so!

Sophie Kinsella produces reliable frothy chick-lit, even if with almost unbearably idiotic heroine, in her Shopaholic series, whilst The Nanny remains by far the best book by Melissa Nathan.

Buy Acting Up by Melissa Nathan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Acting Up by Melissa Nathan at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Acting Up by Melissa Nathan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Acting Up by Melissa Nathan at Amazon.com.


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