Thanks for your kind words, Jennifer.
“We are the authors of our own fates. But…we are not the producers or directors of the larger dramas in which we find ourselves. Other forces are at work in determining not only what we able to earn but also what we are able to accomplish, as well as the strength of our voices and the efficacy of our ideals. Those who are rich and becoming even more so are neither smarter nor morally superior to anyone else. They, however, often luckier, and more privileged and more powerful. As such, their high worth does not necessarily reflect their worth as human beings.”—Robert B. Reich
I’ve been following economist Robert Reich’s career ever since he was President Clinton’s Secretary of Labor during Clinton’s first term. I’ve read several Mr. Reich’s books, follow him via his Facebook page, and his documentary “Inequality for All” is a must-see, and was the first film my church showed during this season’s film series thanks to my suggestion.
Reich is currently a lecturer at UC-Berkeley, and his course “Wealth and Poverty” is one of the most popular on campus. Much of this class is shown in the documentary “Inequality for All” and it these scenes that show why this class is so popular, displaying solid evidence done in an accessible way, and Reich’s good natured humor (much of it at his own expense).
As mentioned, I’ve also read several of Reich’s books, so I was only too excited to come across Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few. I knew I just had to add it to my home library. And though we’ve haven’t made it June, I can safely say Saving Capitalism is probably one of the most essential books of 2016, especially during one of the most contentious election years I think most of us have witnessed in our lifetimes.
Saving Capitalism is divided into three parts—the free market, work and worth, and countervailing power. The free market covers several topics including the five building blocks of the capitalism, freedom and power, and new concepts regarding property, monopoly, contracts, and bankruptcy.
Work and worth uncovers why the concept of meritocracy is basically a myth, why CEO pay has skyrocketed to huge proportions, the struggling middle class and their lack of bargaining power, the struggles (and rise) of the working poor who are not exactly who you think they are, and the rise of the non-working rich.
And countervailing power covers issues including the threats to capitalism, both the decline and the rise of countervailing power, overhauling corporations and how technology is taking over work once done by actual human beings.
One thing that struck me while reading the first part of Saving Capitalism, is how both business and the government are in bed together, which goes against the idea that government works against big business, not against it. And this alliance ends up throwing smaller businesses and individuals under the bus. Just how is this done? Well, mostly through the power of the dollar, which big businesses, and not to mention, the very wealthy have, and let’s face it, smaller businesses and most of us do not.
Lobbying also has access to government power and often curries favor for everything from military contracts, Wall Street, Big Pharma and corporate agriculture.
And while reading work and worth, I was struck by the idea of “meritocracy” and how it has become a myth in our modern age. Yes, we’d like to think that people who are truly talented, hard-working, well-educated and highly-skilled achieve deserved success. And when this truly happens, it’s a lovely site to behold. But, let’s face it, some of the most successful people don’t deserve their success at all, and we, as a nation are losing out. Reich’s examination of the decline of the middle-class, just what is behind immense CEO pay, the rise of the working poor (many of them educated, skilled, and talented), and the rise (and the power) of the non-working rich (oh, hi there, Walton family), will truly piss readers off. Furthermore, in this section, Reich’s discusses how all of this slowly unfurled starting nearly forty years ago through several carefully crafted methods.
In part three of Saving Capitalism—countervailing power— further describes exactly what got us here in the 21st century, which will piss you off, but also what we can do, and how we are not powerless as we think we are. Reich offers several solutions to the problems he explains in Saving Capitalism. Some of them include getting rid of Citizen’s United, reducing patent lengths, bringing back strong unions, taking a good look at excessive CEO pay and simply reigning in bad policies that got us in the mess we are in. One interesting idea, currently being looked into in Switzerland, is giving everyone a livable monthly stipend paid by tax payers. Yes, some people will sit on their butts, simply happy to get a stipend. But Reich believes most people will want to make more money and will feel more at ease seeking out employment and vocations that are truly fulfilling and will benefit society as a whole.
I do wish Reich would have focused on two factors that have played part in this bunkum. Firstly, I would have like to have read more about how lobbying influences our elected leaders to favor corporations, Wall Street and the very wealthy. I would have also liked to have read how the mainstream media, which is owned by only six corporations, kisses up to big business, the one percent and other powerful game players, and eschews the rest of us. Today, mainstream media seems to be more PR and marketing than actual journalism. But perhaps this can be further investigated in another book.
Ultimately, Saving Capitalism packs quite a powerful message, and one that is delivered in a down-to-earth way that educates, angers, empowers, and hopefully, inspires change and making America truly greater for all of us.
“Well, I’m waiting.” – Bookish Jen
To those of you who aren’t familiar with Ted Nugent, consider yourself lucky. But I’m going to fill you in. Once upon a time Ted Nugent was a supposed rock star with one notable hit that I can actually remember hearing on the radio, “Cat Scratch Fever.” Other songs amongst Teddy’s songbook include “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang,” “Stranglehold,” and “If You Can’t Lick ‘Em… Lick ‘Em.”
“Wang Dang Sweet Poontang,” Stranglehold,” and “If You Can’t Lick ‘Em… Lick ‘Em?” you ask with a shudder. Yes, my lovely readers. Who says romance is dead?
Nowadays, Teddy Boy, is pretty much a nostalgia act for the Tea Party set. And he also fancies himself a political pundit who writes commentary for such publications like World Net Daily. He’s also written a few books, including Ted, White and Blue-The Nugent Manifesto, which was published just before President Obama was elected in 2008. Ted, White and Blue features Ted’s take on taxes, politics, immigration, education, healthcare, and his favorite topic, guns. And not surprisingly, Ted’s manifesto is delivered with all of the wit, wisdom and nuance of an AK47. But instead of writing a review I will showcase Ted’s selected photographs found within the confines of Ted, White and Blue, complete with Ted’s very own words, and my responses written with a poison Jen, responses more Dorothy Parker than Bonnie Parker. And keep in mind, as a country we are better off thinking red (I’m a redhead) than thinking Ted.
Black guy on the left, “Bitch, please.” Black guy on the right, “You are a white dude from Detroit. Shut up.” Lion in the middle, “This guy’s dick is in my ass! Help!”
Large cigar, huge gun between his legs. Clearly Ted is lacking something.
This is what you get when you Google, “Right wing performance art at Coachella.
Alternative to the National Rifle Association, the NRA. Nugent Runs Amok.
Sadly, the parents of Newton, Massachusetts who lost their beautiful children on December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary will never get to put their arms around their deceased children. No parent should ever have to bury child, and never should a parent have to bury a child due to senseless gun violence.
No Ted, this is a perfect American family.
Ah, yes, every readers’ shame, the dreaded unread pile.
Does reading sexy books make one a sexist? Let’s find out.
Books you might want to read this summer.
If you are going to write essays please refrain from writing essays that are like Amanda Lauren’s. Please, I beg of you. And after taking a gander at Ms. Lauren’s website, I will never forgive Carrie Bradshaw for convincing millennial women that being a writer is all about designer shoes, fancy cocktails, brunch with the girls and finding your own Mr. Big.
To cleanse the palate here is the cover of Interview magazine featuring the last interview with the irreplaceable David Bowie.
How Emily Dickinson’s family garden inspired her writing.
Interesting in running your own bookshop? Look to The Book Shop Blog for some advice.
Dedicated to the lovely CoBalt Stargazer—How to conquer the dreaded writer’s block.
Dedicated to the lovely Nora Talltree—Books that uncover the diversity that is Asian-Pacific heritage.
Society has always looked at single women with a mixture of pity, apprehension, fascination and at times a wee bit of jealousy as if they might be threatened by ladies who don’t sport Mrs. before their names and whose left hands are sans a wedding ring.
Believe me, I’ve had plenty of men and women (mostly women) who look at me with a wee bit of side-eye and I’ve felt the sting of their judgments. So I was pretty happy to find Rebecca Traister’s book All the Single Ladies where she examines the various experiences of single women and how they are woven into the history of American society, both in the modern age and days long ago.
Today there are more single women than married women, much of this is due to women having more options than older generations when it comes to education, careers, sex and children. Women are holding off on getting married until they are older and have gotten an education and have established some semblance of a career or some type of work history. And despite much pearl clutching, most single women do end up married and having children, often before they are in their thirties.
All the Single Ladies is a combination of statistics, anecdotes, historical facts and a variety of personal stories from a wide variety of single ladies, some by chance, some by choice and some by circumstance.
Each chapter of All the Single Ladies covers a wide range of topics regarding lasses who haven’t found their Mr. or Ms. Rights (but perhaps have found a quite a few Mr. or Ms. Right Nows.) Singles ladies are dissected from the past, the present and in the future realm. Singles ladies of all stripes are considered amongst Ms. Traister’s well-written prose. This includes never married, divorced and some widowed ladies. She examines single ladies and their pursuits to achieve both educational and career success. She tells stories of women and their friendships with each other and how they evolve as they get older and arrive at different benchmarks in their lives, both professional and personal. Traister covers women as single mothers and those whose lives aren’t always so rosy and glamorous. She examines single ladies impact on American society, much of it very positive, and how society often views single ladies, sadly, much of it not so positive. And yes, Traister covers, or should I say uncovers, single ladies and their sex lives. And believe me, single ladies have been doing the horizontal sweaty long before the sexual revolution and pretty much having a grand old time, too!
If I do have any problem with All the Single Ladies, it is this. Traister does a little too much of what I call, “Me and My Friends Journalism,” meaning a majority of the women she interviews are very much like herself—college educated, middle class and of the professional caste. Nothing wrong with any of this, I’ve been all three at various times of my life. Furthermore, a majority of her subjects live on either the left or right coast (probably mostly the right—mostly New York City). I would have liked to have read more stories from women of color, non-college educated women, recent immigrants, women wearing collars both blue and pink, and places in the USA that the mainstream media ignores. Hey Ms. Traister, did you know my ‘hood, Milwaukee, was just named one of the best food towns in the country?
Milwaukee isn’t all about cheese. Well, actually Milwaukee is a lot about cheese. We even have artisanal cheese.
But I digress…
Still, I think Ms. Traister (who recently found a husband to “put a ring on it”), offers a very well-researched, thoughtful, witty, and empathetic tome on one of the most misunderstood demographics around—single ladies, not all of them, but definitely a notable bunch.
I’m not usually the biggest fan standard-issue chick lit featuring hapless, yet hopeful heroines working in “glamour” industries like fashion, PR, show business or advertising usually in New York City. The cover is usually some shade of pink and features one of the holy trinity of chick lit graphics—statement handbag, high-heeled shoe, or fancy cocktail.
Copygirl, authored by Anna Mitchael and Michelle Sassa, features a pink cover the shade of a rather attention grabbing shade of fuchsia. However, there was no handbag, shoe or cocktail to be found on Copygirl’s cover. Furthermore, Copygirl was described as a hybrid of The Devil Wears Prada and Mad Men. I actually liked The Devil Wears Prada, who hasn’t had a nightmare boss? And I just finished binge-watching Mad Men and related only too well to copywriter Peggy Olson, so I decided to give Copygirl a whirl.
Meet Copygirl’s protagonist Kay, after finishing college where she studies advertising, she follows her crush Ben to NYC where they both get jobs one of the city’s hottest agencies with the unfortunate of initials of STD. While in ad school, Kay thought she would write memorable copy like “Think Different” and “Just Do It.” She also thought she’d get romantic with Ben. Sadly, none of those dreams seem to be coming true for our heroine. Instead, Kay is dealing with the STD’s overlords who make Pol Pot look like Mr. Rogers and is writing hapless copy for accounts her much cooler hipster co-workers reject outright. As for Ben? Right now he’s sleeping on Kay’s couch, not her bed.
STD is riddled with egotistical tyrants, high fashion hotties, pretentious creatives and one Diet Coke-obsessed intern with the last name of Bouffa. Bouffa may not have the schooling or experience for this particular internship, but she does have something deemed more important—family connections.
Kay feels completely out of it at STD with her family connections from the Midwest, her wardrobe of sneakers, jeans and hoodies and her low-key, modest and easily intimidated personality. Will she ever measure up and find success? And will she find love with Ben or will she lose him to the office hot girl?
To appease her battered and bruised sense of self Kay makes wax dolls and films them in absurd situations. The main character of Kay’s magnum opus is a doll named Copygirl who warns everybody “Don’t be a copygirl.” Kay shares her videos with her best friend who is currently studying in France. This best friend starts uploading Kay’s videos for the world to see and they become a huge sensation, making Kay feeling both awkward and proud.
Meanwhile, Ben moves out and Kay is convinced he is having a fling with the office hottie. However, Kay finds this hottie is more than a pair of designer boots and a killer wardrobe, and though Bouffa may have family connections, she is also willing to work hard and is pretty nice kid. And then there is suit-wearing guy who might be more than what he seems.
Kay struggles daily with writing appropriate copy for the latest, hippest soda trying to grab the much-wanted Millennial market only to be treated with contempt by her fellow creative co-workers, clueless clients and tyrannical agency heads. Will she find the secret sauce to come up with the right lines that will be iconic as such classic ad copy she dreamed of writing? Or will she be fired with only her wax dolls to keep her company?
Ultimately, I liked Copygirl. It was a fun and breezy read, and I rooted for Kay throughout the book even though at times I wanted to shake her. Spending time in the copywriting trenches I could totally relate to her daily struggles, pretty much dealing with the same obnoxious behavior she dealt with even though I come from Milwaukee. And I also know how creative “me-time” activities Kay indulged in helped alleviate her stress and gain her both kudos and confidence.
But what I really liked about Copygirl was how it didn’t focus so much on romance, but on Kay’s growth in her career and how she forges strong bonds with her female co-workers rather than seeing them as competition both professionally and personally.
In the end Copygirl is a fun read, both fluffy and profound, and I think most working girls will be able to relate to Kay’s plight even if your Devil wears H & M, and your place of work is a mixture of both Mad Men and Mad Women.
When I learned of Audrey at Home-Memories of my Mother’s Kitchen by Luca Dotti last year, I just knew I had to put it on my reading list. It’s no secret I am a huge fan of the late Audrey Hepburn. I also find great joy puttering in my kitchen with a pot of chicken soup on the stove, a pot roast in my slow cooker and my much beloved sugar mint cookies baking in the oven.
Most people know Audrey mainly through her film work and her humanitarian work with UNICEF. She is also notable for her Givenchy-honed sense of style. But to Luca Dotti, Audrey’s son with Andreas Dotti, she was simply his mother who loved him and his elder brother Sean. Audrey also love gardening and puttering in her kitchen discovering new recipes and savoring the tried and true.
But Audrey at Home isn’t merely a collection of recipes; it is lovingly written book filled with family photos and Luca’s sweet (and sometimes bittersweet) memories of being Audrey’s son. I always thought I knew her, but Audrey at Home gave me insight into a delightfully singular, yet everyday woman more than I could ever know.
After creating a career, most notably in movies like Roman Holiday (for which she won an Oscar), Sabrina, Funny Face, A Nun’s Story, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Wait Until Dark, Audrey decided to dial back and focus on being a wife, mother and homemaker. First in the country of Luca’s birth, Italy, and later in Switzerland, in a home called “La Paisable,” (The Peaceful Place). I can’t think of a better name for a home owned by Audrey Hepburn, especially considering how she barely survived the Holocaust as a child and spent her later years as a tireless advocate for children through her work with UNICEF. Audrey desired peace, not only for herself, but for others.
“There is a science of war, but how strange that there isn’t a science of peace. There are colleges of war; why can’t we study peace?” – Audrey Hepburn
Audrey also brought her desire for peace to her home, making it a welcoming place not just for her sons and the love her live, Robert Wolders. But also for her extended family and close friends (both famous and not famous). Food was just one way Audrey used to express a place of peace, love, comfort and joy.
Though Milwaukee is a great food town, and I have access to a wide-range of ingredients and food products in my east side neighborhood, I like Audrey’s idea of simplicity and less is more when it comes to cooking. Most of the ingredients in Audrey’s recipes can be found at your local grocery store, your garden and your favorite farmer’s market. While reading the book, I made note of Audrey’s recipes – flourless chocolate cake, mac and cheese, cutlets and various seasonal salads.
This past May 4th (Audrey’s birthday), I made the book’s first noted recipe called Hutspot, which sounds like a slightly elevated version of Pocket Stew. I learned how to make Pocket Stew when I was a freckle-faced Girl Scout and I still eat it to this day. Here is Audrey’s recipe for Hutspot:
HUTSPOT (Serves 2)
Ingredients: ½ pound (225 grams) beef shoulder or chuck roast
Salt and Pepper
2 large eggs
2 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
Whole grain mustard for serving
Add 1 cup of water (250 ml) to a braiser (I used my slow cooker). Add beef, lightly salted and peppered. Cook at a low temperature until tender.
Remove and set aside.
Increase the heat to medium and stir to thicken the gravy. Pour the gravy over the meat to keep warm.
In the meantime, place the potatoes in a pan and add water to cover the potatoes, then add the carrots and onion. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat, cover the pan, and cook the vegetables until tender, about 20 minutes. Mash the vegetables until tender, about 20 minutes. Mash the vegetables into a puree, and season with salt and pepper. On a platter, place the sliced meat on top of the puree and serve accompanied by mustard.
I have to say the result was very delicious, and quite comforting on a cold, windy day. I’m sure I will make Hutspot again and again
While reading this book I couldn’t help but think of my mom cooking for my sister and me. To this day, I still think she makes the best chicken soup ever. And though my mother was no Julia Child (too short) and no Martha Stewart (she’s never been to prison – well, not as far as I know), she made sure her kids got a decent meal while growing up. Though my sugar mint cookies should be declared a national treasure, I was inspired to make a favorite since childhood that my mother taught me- the classic chocolate chip cookie. Delicious!!
Interspersed throughout Audrey Hepburn are handwritten notes on gardening, food and actual photos of index cards with various recipes written on them. Remember when we used to have little boxes filled with index cards of recipes?
Audrey Hepburn at Home is a nearly-perfect book, one that not only celebrates Audrey Hepburn as the multi-faceted woman she was, but also one that celebrates the two greatest gifts we can give to our families, our friends, our communities and our world as a whole- our love and our labor.
On this mother’s day I would like to dedicate this post to my mother and my sister, Julie. I would also like to dedicate this post to two non-moms, my foodie friends Nora and Elaine who inspired me to trust myself more in the kitchen.
“The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.” ― Audrey Hepburn
“The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.” – Socrates (469-399 B.C.)
The more things change, the more things stay the same. Sure, it’s a cliché, but often clichés are very true. Generations from the beginning of time have always looked at each other side-eyed with apprehension. They have made rude comments about each other, often the elder generation telling the young whippersnappers to get off their lawn, which is why Socrates’ (or as Bill and Ted might put it—Socrates Johnson) quote is both timeless and timely.
As if you can’t tell, I am a card carrying member of Generation X, a member of the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” demographic. And I’ve spent plenty of time calling Baby Boomers some choice names (“sellouts!”) and have joked about Millennials (“the vape cigarette is the man bun for the mouth”). But in the end, we’re all together in “this thing we call life” (RIP Prince). Plenty of good, bad and ugly can be found in all generations.
That brings me to Alexis Bloomer, Millennial-aged TV anchor and journalist based in Texas. A couple of weeks ago she posted a video of her pointing a finger at her generation, accusing them of being the worst generation that ever existed. The video went viral and Ms. Bloomer has been interviewed by several media outlets (most famous being Fox News). Some people think Ms. Bloomer’s speech (done in her car and filmed by her smart phone while she obviously reads off a written script), is the equivalent of Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech. For some of you who haven’t heard of Ms. Bloomer and her soul-stirring speech, here is a quick link:
“Dear Elders, I’m Sorry”
Now whereas, many people supported Ms. Bloomer and her rant, many have come forward to tell her she’s got some nerve to paint one entire generation with a generic brush. And I’m going to join the latter.
First off, Ms. Bloomer eviscerates her fellow Millennials for not having basic good manners, saying “yes, sir” and “Yes, ma’am.” She claims her generation doesn’t hold doors open for ladies or show any basic respect. Are there Millennials who have no concept of graciousness and class? Of course, but you’ll find rude people in all demographics. And has Ms. Bloomer seen the behavior of both Donald Trump (Baby Boomer) and Ted Cruz (Generation X)? Definitely not Miss Manners (Silent Generation) approved.
Obscene music? Has Alexis Bloomer ever heard of “I Shot the Sheriff” a song done by both Eric Clapton and Bob Marley and The Wailers? Did she know the Johnny Cash lyric, “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die” or “Fuck tha Police” by NWA? Misogyny also has a musical history with songs like “Under My Thumb” by the Rolling Stones, “I Used to Love Her” by Guns ‘n Roses, and “Bitches Ain’t Shit” by Dr. Dre.
And of course, music has always sung the praises of carnal pleasure in such songs like Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” and Liz Phair’s “F**k and Run.” Prince’s “Darling Nikki” got busy with a magazine and Cyndi Lauper extolled the virtues of female masturbation (or as I like to call it Rubbin’ Hood) in “She-Bop.” And when Nina Simone sang about wanting some “Sugar in Her Bowl” well she wasn’t talking about a sugar bowl you find on the kitchen table.
Ms. Bloomer also wags her finger at her generation for their love of cursing just to prove a point. People have been cussing since the beginning of time. Has she ever heard of Lenny Bruce or George Carlin’s “Seven Dirty Words?” Heck, even my grandma said shit!
Speaking of language, Ms. Bloomer isn’t fond of Millennials and their slang like “bae.” Please, all generations define themselves by their own unique language from 23-skidoo to neato keen to groovy to tubular to sick, and so on. (Somehow fetch never happened).
In her rant, Ms. Bloomer also accuses Millennials for idolizing the wrong people like the Kardashians as if no previous generation ever idolized certain celebrities. Fabian, David Cassidy, Vanilla Ice and Tiffany all had their fans and then pretty much disappeared.
Millennials are also lazy, entitled and don’t care about serving their country according to Ms. Bloomer, which is ironic considering she didn’t seem to put much work into her rant and she looks like she’s gunning for a position at Fox News. Back in the 1990s Generation X-ers were called slackers. And not serving their country? Well, just who does Ms. Bloomer think has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan? The Greatest Generation? And let’s not forget all the wonderful Millennials whose volunteer work enhances our communities.
Watching this rant (and also spending some of my time in the journalistic realm) I just knew there was a story behind the story. So I did some investigating to find out more about Alexis Bloomer.
For someone who scolds her generation for their addiction to the Internet and social media, Ms. Bloomer has quite a presence on both. She has both a personal website and several social media accounts. There is nothing wrong with having a personal website or working with social media; I have both. But Ms. Bloomer’s website and social media accounts have all the depth of a Jimmy Choo in-step. Ms. Bloomer seems more about making herself a brand rather than showing any evidence of solid journalistic work. Her Facebook page alone shows just a smattering of her interviewing rodeo riders and countless posts about fashion, jewelry, her personal PR appearances, professional photos that look more like cheesy boudoir photography and countless selfies including shots of her possibly fake breasts and belly ring. I’m sure iconic journalist Nelly Bly did the same thing. Oh, no, she didn’t! She was actually a ground-breaking reporter that paved the way for generations of women! I am a card-carrying feminist, but with the likes of Alexis Bloomer no wonder my favorite journalist is Bill Moyers.
And for every stereotypical Millennial Ms. Bloomer paints with a very broad brush, there are countless Millennials doing wonderful things, some well-known some living in obscurity. One Millennial I truly like and admire is Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter (now with CNN) Sara Granim who helped break the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky child molestation case.
As I mentioned, generations have always complained about one another, and this was often reflected in pop culture, especially in television. In the 1970s we had All in the Family. In the 1980s we had Family Ties. And now in the modern age we have Black-ish. Hmm, All in the Family, Family Ties, Black-ish? Sound like Kardashian-related shows.
And what will happen to Alexis Bloomer? Well, Fox News is probably looking for another addition to its roster of standard-issue blondes. But most likely Alexis Bloomer will be this year’s answer to Nicole Arbour and her “Dear Fat People” rant. Nicole Arbor? Who? “Dear Fat People?” What?
What girl, raised on fairy tales and classic movies, hasn’t dreamed of having her own fairy godmother? Jeepers, I’m a grown woman and I could use a fairy godmother. And I can’t think of a better fairy godmother than Audrey Hepburn. She would advise me on fashion, love, work and making our world a better place. And now that I think of it, Miss Hepburn did guide me on those things. I just wish I could have met her.
Fortunately, Libby Lomax is going to do just that—meet Audrey Hepburn. And not does she meet Audrey Hepburn; Libby meets her as one of the most iconic film roles ever—Holly Golightly, in the novel A Night in With Audrey Hepburn by British author Lucy Holliday.
To say struggling actress Libby Lomax is having a bad day is an understatement. After years being an extra on TV shows and movies, Libby finally gets her big break saying a smattering of lines in a science fiction TV series. While wearing her TV character’s alien costume, Libby accidentally lights herself on fire, singeing off some of her hair. And if this workplace faux pas isn’t humiliating enough, she lights her hair on fire in front of the shows bad boy star, Dillon O’Hara.
The powers that be sack Libby at once, and she goes home to her tiny apartment to shed a few tears and lick her wounds. While contemplating her sad state of affairs while sitting on an ugly couch given to her by her best bud Olly (more on him later) Libby pops in the classic movie Breakfast Tiffany featuring the wonderful Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly.
Well, guess how pops up next to Libby outfitted in her best Holly Golightly chic? Yes, Audrey Hepburn!
Is Libby going mad? Is she hallucinating?
Well, does it matter? The wonderful Audrey Hepburn is sitting right next our flummoxed heroine. So shouldn’t Libby converse with her and get some finely-honed insight on men, mothers and making a career?
Did I mention mother? Oh, yes, Libby’s mother, a stage mother to end all stage mothers and one who puts the P in pushy. Libby’s very own Mama Rose has been pushing both her daughters, Libby and Cass, to become huge stars. Whereas, Libby has her struggles and can barely get past the extra stage, high maintenance Cass is getting more parts and more success. This doesn’t do much for Libby’s self-esteem.
As for Libby’s father, the sperm donor? Well, he ran out ages ago, fancies himself as a notable writer, and ignores his daddy duties to Libby and Cass. Sadly, enough, Audrey’s own father ran out on her when she was very young.
To keep herself busy, Libby is making a necklace for her friend’s upcoming wedding. This particular necklace has been inspired by a beautiful necklace Audrey wears in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Audrey finds this necklace and is positively enchanted with Libby’s talent. Audrey also discovers Libby’s iPad, which she charmingly calls a “lovely padlet” (note to self, adopt the phrase “lovely padlet”). Audrey also discovers the Internet, most notably Twitter.
Before you can sing a bar from “Moon River” Audrey starts a Twitter account for Libby to showcase her jewelry making skills (unbeknownst to Libby). It isn’t long before Libby’s Twitter is gaining many followers. And many followers want to buy this talented lady’s work.
At first Libby is confused. Audrey let’s the honey-colored Cat out of the bag, and tells Libby she has set up the Twitter account and encourages her to embrace her skills and talents and start a career as a jewelry designer. Battered and bruised from her non-existent acting career, Libby is initially hesitant. But thanks to Audrey’s loving guidance, encouragement and savvy, Libby begins to believe in herself and treasure her talents.
She also learns to stand up for herself when it comes to her mother, sister, father and other jerk who might come in her path.
But wait? Am I missing something? A certain Dillon O’Hara, the A-list hottie Libby tried to flirt with to fire-fried results? Seems Dillon is actually quite smitten with Libby, which is quite a shock considering the gossip pages show mostly himsquiring models with pneumatic breasts. Will Libby and Dillon hook up? Well, that is a secret that I have up my Givenchy (okay, H & M) sleeve.
Libby goes from strength to strength, but also faces some hurdles (including a truly mortifying moment at a high-end spa), which shows up on YouTube. Is this humiliation one she can survive and ultimately thrive?
Initially, A Night in With Audrey Hepburn started a bit slow, but soon it gained steam. Lucy Holliday writes with a down-to-earth, appealing, and warm voice. And you can tell she’s a big fan of Audrey Hepburn fan, which as a huge Audrey fan myself, I greatly appreciated.
What I also liked was a hint of mystery at the end. Though Libby is over the moon when it comes to Dillon, I detected a bit of a spark between her and Olly even though they are in the friendzone. Perhaps we’ll find out in the sequel to A Night in With Marilyn Monroe what happens with both of these fellows and how they relate to Libby. Yes. Lucy Holliday has a whole series of Libby Lomax bonding with the best of Hollywood’s Golden Age, and I hope they are just as fun to read as A Night in With Audrey Hepburn.
In Audrey Hepburn’s other classic film Sabrina, she states, “Paris is always a good idea.” I’d like to say “Audrey Hepburn is always a good idea.”