Title: What Pretty Girls Are Made Of
Author: Lindsay Jill Ross
Publisher: Pocket Star
Release date: August 3rd 2015
Envision Lauren Weisberger’s The Devil Wears Prada in the high-drama, estrogen-infused world of cosmetics, and you have What Pretty Girls Are Made Of—a hilarious debut novel from a writer who’s lived it.
In the make-up world, life and love are never cruelty-free…
After living in New York City for four years and reaching a dead end on her acting career, Alison Kraft needs a new role—time for a career change. When she reads about the world-famous Sally Steele Cosmetics studio, Alison quickly swoops in to make a good impression and lands a job as an assistant to the diva herself.
Surrounded by fantastic new hues of blushes, eye shadows, and glosses, Alison loves her new job and the new swag. Even better, she discovers she’s actually really good at it! But in the midst of juggling her love life, crazy family members, and the grueling demands of a jealous, flaky boss who could put Miranda Priestly to shame, Alison starts to question her choices. How long before the pretty face cracks for good?
Alison is tired of chasing her dream of becoming an actress. When she realizes every audition makes her stress level skyrocket and that juggling four odd jobs to barely make ends meet can only be temporary, she decides the time for a change has come. A bit of luck leads her to Sally Steels Cosmetics, where Alison think her new career path might be awaiting her. But the glittering world of make up is not all bright and shiny, and Alison learns it at her expense. Surrounded by lipstick, girlfriends, wine and monsters, Alison will need to stand up for herself and decide who she really wants to be.
The synopsis would attract any makeup lover in need of a light and fun read. As a big fan of The Devil Wears Prada (the movie, not the book. I know, don’t throw stones at me!) I was really excited to get my hands on this promising story.
I expected Alison to be my BFF. I wanted to live vicariously through her as she made her way into the cosmetics industry Free products, a New York setting, and a cutthroat atmosphere because let’s be honest, we all know women are terrible at working together, especially in such a competitive world. Most of all, I was hoping for a ludicrous amount of humor. The witty kind. The one that make you laugh out loud in the subway.
Unfortunately, the story delivered nothing of the above.
Alison has been waiting to become an actress since she was three. Yet, it takes her 5 pages to throw it all away and find a new calling. One makeup class during university and a weird encounter in a Starbucks are enough to convince her she belongs to the cosmetics industry. I never expected someone who wanted to make a name for herself in Hollywood to say things such as:
“I’ve wanted a real job for a while.”
I know many actors struggle to pay the bills, and in many cases, they end up keeping acting only as a hobby or even give up. I have been the privileged witness of it. But don’t ever tell them that acting is not a real job. I know she probably meant a steady job that allows you to buy Chanel or simply let you have enough coins for laundry at the end of the week. However, I took it as badly as if it was my job that had been insulted.
But this was not my biggest problem with Alison. The fact she treated men like pieces of meat was the real no-no to me. I stopped counting the number of guys she dated because I found it depressing. Yes, she’s young, pretty, and in NYC. But there is no need to jump on every single guy you meet with eyes filled with hope and your best smile just in case he happens to be “the one”. That only screams “desperate”.
While tonight’s date was for just a drink, it occurred to me that it could be the last “just a drink” I would ever have to have.
Let’s point out she does not know the guy. At all. It’s a set-up. I am aware we girls can get carried away too quickly for our own good, but come on, at least wait until you exchange a few words with him before deciding on marrying him. It does not help that we barely know enough to differentiate her dates.
I could have forgiven Alison, hadn’t she been so shallow. Acting is not working? Let’s apply for a job you don’t have any qualifications for! When work at Sally Steel turns out harder than expected, look for something else! And contrary to what happens in real life, amazing opportunities kept coming Alison’s way, each one better than the last.
I don’t really recall secondary characters as no one stood out enough to make an impression. Alison’s boss Sally is a big fat cliché of the nasty woman on top of her game. I would have liked her if it did not feel like the author tried too much. I could not understand her decisions so she just sounded mean without purpose.
We don’t learn any tips, neither do we get a juicy insight of the makeup industry. I was hoping for a stronger presence of cosmetics and a use of the beauty shop, but Alison could have chosen any field of work, the result would have been the same.
The author tries to spice things up by adding little subplots that could have been interesting, hadn’t they just been mentioned once in a while and magically resolved by invisible elves and fairies. Alison’s family issues are solved with no intervention whatsoever, filling a few paragraphs here and there. I would have expected Alison to stand up and work out her problems, especially when she keeps wondering why she can’t do anything on her own or find her voice in this world.
The writing was simple, but I really enjoyed that every chapter had a name referring to make up products.
Overall, What Pretty Girls Are Made Of failed at entertaining me for a few hours with one of my favorite subject. While I am aware the book is a light read and therefore not supposed to dig deep into things, I feel the blurb sold me an interesting story that doesn’t exist. I can’t give this story more than 2 stars.