Thursday, September 10, 2009

Review: Spin

Summary: Taylor Green is a corn-fed young man from the Midwest who stumbles into New York without a clue, a contact, or a proper wardrobe. Through true serendipity (or possibly misfortune), he is hired by the outrageous, Jennifer Weinstein, the sleepless city’s most notorious public relations diva. Quickly morphed into her most trusted assistant and confidante, Taylor is sucked into a whirlwind of restaurant openings, gossip columnists, and fashion shows. Suddenly Taylor is in the core of a world he never knew existed, a world of sex, greed, power, and fame, that's ruled by Jennie Weinstein herself. Under Jennie’s guidance, Taylor quickly discovers that there isn’t a catastrophe, betrayal, or person that can’t be spun to suit the client’s needs. The perks are sweet: rubbing elbows (and other appendages) with big-name celebrities, the sudden opening of velvet ropes, and thousands of dollars worth of free designer duds. But like all swag, it comes at a price, and Taylor struggles to balance his own definition of sanity with that of Jennie’s drug-fuelled, high-intensity world.

The stakes only get higher as Taylor rapidly climbs New York's social ladder and Jennie's assignments become increasingly bizarre. Finally, when his relentless pursuit of “spin” threatens to spin his own life totally out of control, Taylor is forced to decide whether the cutthroat ends of a top public relations business justify the diabolical and often hilarious means to a successful career.

Funny, sexy, and irresistibly dishy, Spin is a shocking look behind the scenes of the glittering celebrity world. -- St. Martin's Press

One thing you might now know about me is that I like to read about celebrities and their lives. I'm not proud of that; and I've actually been working on reading less about celebrity gossip. However, I still admit that I'm drawn to the glamor and excitement of their lives. So when I saw that there was a book about celebrities and public relations called SPIN by Robert Rave, I thought it sounded like one that I'd enjoy.

I did like SPIN and I did find it somewhat entertaining, but I can't say that I loved this book. At first, I was very interested in the story. I think that is a credit to the author because of how he set up this book. My problem (if you can call it that) is that I eventually lost interest in the characters. I still enjoyed the story, but I didn't really like any of the characters enough to care what happened to them.

On the plus side, I did like how the book was set up. The story begins with a prologue where the narrator Taylor gets caught with his evil boss' drug stash. The story then goes back in time to when Taylor first arrives in New York and leads the reader through Taylor's life working as a publicist -- from how Taylor first got a job with the famous PR personality Jennie Weinstein, to how he gave up his entire life to serve her, to how he eventually broke free from her reins. I was slightly confused after reading the Prologue (in a good way) and definitely wanted to find out how Taylor got himself into such a mess.

It's interesting how the author developed the character of Taylor. It was very strange for me as a reader because I really liked Taylor when he first arrived in New York City. Taylor lived with his mother and grandmother in the Midwest and he seemed like a pretty nice and somewhat naive guy. I liked his attitude towards life, and I thought he was extremely charming. In fact, I liked him a lot and really wanted his relationship with his co-worker Mia to work out. However, once he started working closely with Jennie, all that changed. I saw how he became caught up in the fast-paced and celebrity-filled lifestyle; and I think he lost sense of who he really was. He actually became ruthless and immoral -- just like his boss Jennie.

I just love the title of this book -- SPIN. I don't think there is a more perfect title since the word "spin" takes on so many meanings in this story. Probably the most obvious use for the word is that PR folks are always trying to "spin" the story of their clients. However, I liked the second meaning of the word in this book even more. "Spin" also referred to how Taylor's life began to spin out of control once he gave up his values and started working for Jennie. I thought this was such a cute (and memorable) title.

SPIN was written by Robert Rave who was a former publicist at some of New York's most prominent PR agencies. There is no doubt that SPIN read like it was written by a PR insider. I admit that I did enjoy reading about some of the celebrities as well as some of the fashion and nightlife; however, I found myself tiring of all the diva personalities and the lifestyle - it was just too much for me. I appreciate what the author tried to do with this book, and I actually think he accomplished it. I'm just not sure I really wanted to see this ugly side of public relations!

If you enjoy reading about celebrities and want to know more about the inner workings of PR, then I recommend reading SPIN. In some ways, this novel reminded me a little of THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA; so if you enjoyed that book, then you will probably like this book too. SPIN is a good story with larger-than-life characters that will make you re-think everything you read in the gossip magazines.


Pam said...

This sounds like entirely too much fun. I'm not a big gossip fan but I do like a wild ride every now and then. :O)

bermudaonion said...

I love the cover of this book, but I'll probably skip it since The Devil Wears Prada wasn't my favorite.

Beth F said...

Doesn't sound like a good match for me, but I thought your review was nicely balanced.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree. The cover is cute, but I'll have to skip it. The Devil Wears Prada was not one of my favorites, either.

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

Great review. I'm not sure about this one! I liked the Devil Wears Prada, but it was one instance where the movie was better than the book.

S. Krishna said...

Hmm...I think I'll pass on this one, but your review was great!