More Than Just A Hairdresser by Nia Pritchard
|More Than Just A Hairdresser by Nia Pritchard|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Zoe Morris|
|Summary: It starts out quite accidentally as a bit of a one off, but soon hairdresser Shirl finds herself playing detective on a regular basis, offering an extra level of service to her many loyal clients in their times of need.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 289||Date: November 2007|
|Publisher: Honno Ltd|
It's a brand new year, and Liverpudlian hairdresser Shirley is looking forward to the months ahead following one hell of a new year's eve party. What's more, she's going to chronicle her adventures in her brand spanking new diary which she will write in diligently, even when she's feeling a bit morning after the night before.
Shirley's expecting another year a bit like the last one, maybe with the chance to extend her business a little, branching out into doing nails as well as hair, she's thinking. What she is not expecting, however, is to become something of a private investigator on the side. This is exactly what happens, though, when she catches a good friend being cheated on. When word of her skill at exposing the scoundrel spreads, she soon finds her appointment book filling up, and not just for the usual colours, cuts and perms.
This is not a book I especially enjoyed, though it had the potential to be just my cup of tea. Unfortunately, I thought it was let down in a number of ways. Initially I struggled to define it as either adult or teen fiction, since it seemed to flit between the two, though the fact that Shirley has teens of her own made me think it was probably supposed to be the former. I also thought the structure was a little confusing: the book switches back and forth between first person diary entries and third person narration, with sometimes baffling consequences. For example, Shirley writes in her diary that she has two children, and notes their names and ages. She adds similar descriptions to other characters, explaining that her bessie mate and colleague Oli is as bent as a nine bob note. These struck me as pieces of information that you wouldn't capture in your own personal diary, and although they might be useful for readers to know, I would have expected them to fall into the narrative sections instead. The result was that the diary seemed less authentic, and harder for me to believe.
Just as in Pritchard's previously reviewed title there is a heavy presence of Liverpudlian vernacular – perhaps unusual for an author who lives in Wales. It's the same cast of characters, too – More Than Just A Hairdresser is the start of the set of tales about Shirley, Oli et al – but even getting into the story a little earlier didn't help. It's not that the background is complicated – and I'm sure you could enjoy the second title without reading this one – it just didn't suit what I was looking for in a bit of chick lit. I wanted intelligence (from the story, if not from the characters), witty jokes, juicy plot twists, but I didn't think this book delivered on those counts.
I would agree with the previous title's reviewer when she said the characters are unrealistic and poorly developed – some of them seemed vaguely interesting, but they were never plumped up the way I would have liked them to have been, and with only a cursory glance I soon lost interest.
The young language that works quite well in teen books like the Diary of a Chav series is harder to pull off when it's prattled out by a grown up (and when it's far less obviously tongue in cheek). At the same time, the odd word will slip out – David is 'dishy' for example – reminding you instantly that we're not talking about the under 18 set.
If, despite my warnings, you fancy giving this one a try, I would suggest you look for it in your local library first to make sure you can tolerate the stylistic issues which I felt were the main reason I wasn't won over by the book. Nonetheless, my thanks go to the publishers for sending us this title.
For a different view behind the scenes of the hairdressing world, why not consider Cutting Confidential by Shaun Lockes.
You can read more book reviews or buy More Than Just A Hairdresser by Nia Pritchard at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy More Than Just A Hairdresser by Nia Pritchard at Amazon.com.
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