Just Look At Me Now by Nell Dixon
|Just Look At Me Now by Nell Dixon|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: Although the outcome is predictable from the start, Just Look At Me Now is an easy to read, fun story.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: August 2010|
|Publisher: Little Black Dress|
|External links: Author's website|
Big Barb, tub of lard, has turned her life around. No longer overweight with wonky teeth and frizzy hair she has transformed herself into Tia Carpenter, the stylish Beauty editor at Platinum magazine. She has always kept her previous life secret, even from her best friends, but then Juliet Gold, the girl who tormented her at school, joins the magazine as Fashion Editor and suddenly Tia's new life is threatened.
There is plenty for hardcore chick lit fans to enjoy in this novel, with most of the characters working for a glamorous, glossy women's magazine, a dashing, rich hero-with-a-heart, and a scheming, bitchy rival for his affections. The main character provides hope for the underdog, having undergone a makeover to transform her from Barb to Tia, and of course, as is the way, she wins the man in the end. There are funny moments, one racy sex scene on a kitchen table, and a great scene near the end where Tia finally stands up to Juliet.
However, I was disappointed that this book wasn't a lot better. The author has two awards from the RNA, so I'd expected more than the predictable storyline and the rather formulaic characters. Tia has the obligatory single female friend, Saffy, who worryingly drinks to excess far too much, and of course a gay friend, Ravi. I didn't believe in their friendship somehow, though I suspect this was mainly because I didn't much like Tia herself. She's so terrified of people finding out that, gasp, she used to be fat that it paralyses her and she just turns into a quivering wreck, frightened that at any moment her secret will be revealed. I didn't buy into the idea that she wouldn't just tell her best friends that she used to have a weight problem and that she'd changed her name. If she was afraid they'd reject her as a friend then that made them seem really shallow, and not the sort of people she should be friends with anyway.
Tia lives with her godmother, Ginny (who was a good character - I would've liked more about her), and I was surprised Ginny didn't encourage Tia to tell her friends sooner. She enables Tia's subterfuge far too much. I also liked the hero, Josh Banks. He's very no-nonsense with Juliet, and sweet with Tia. But again, Tia is frustratingly afraid of telling him who she really is. I know that this is really what the story is about - her fear of being discovered and the fact that she needs to find the strength to acknowledge who she was and who she is now, but she just annoyed me! I didn't believe that someone so timid could've landed the editorial job in the first place, so then that made me feel like she just got the job because she looked conventionally pretty now. I suppose it becomes an inner-makeover story, so that Tia finds confidence in herself, but then how did she behave before Juliet came along to shake things up?
Mean, manipulative Juliet was a good character and actually I was more interested in her story, and what was driving her to behave in this way, than I was in Tia. I was intrigued about what had happened to Juliet in New York, what sort of a life she'd led since school, and whether she would forever remain a bitch or if she'd get an inner-makeover of her own. Still, this is Tia's story, not Juliet's. When Tia finally has her showdown with Juliet it comes as a relief, and I actually really liked the way she deals with Juliet, so that was probably my favourite scene in the whole book.
I'm sure if you're not expecting a prize-winning story, and you're just looking for a fun, entertaining read then you'll really enjoy this and I certainly raced through it happily enough, but it's not my favourite Little Black Dress book.
You can read more book reviews or buy Just Look At Me Now by Nell Dixon at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Just Look At Me Now by Nell Dixon at Amazon.com.
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