The Albatross by Nina Wan
I know a little bit about golf. I don’t count myself as a golfer but much of my family is obsessed. Anyway, I do know what an ‘albatross‘ is and I understand why it is perhaps more prized than a hole-in-one. So I went into this novel expecting something rare to happen for the main character, Primrose. It didn’t. Instead, we have Primrose, who is under extreme stress (for a variety of reasons) acting fairly impulsively and perhaps a bit recklessly. It didn’t quite ring true for me, particularly as the actions did not line up with the emotions (no self-doubt, no guilt, no remorse).
Ultimately, I think Wan tried to do too much in one novel. Apart from the main plot line, there were numerous political statements – about immigrants, cultural integration and appropriation – as well as details about ‘historical’ events, such as the Australian republic referendum and Donald Trump’s political journey. It’s a shame, because there was the potential for a neat parallel between the story of saving a space that was important for a community (a local golf club), progress, and the main character saving herself as everything changed around her.
Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson
If you’re on the look-out for a non-taxing-but-with-enough-plot-to-keep-you-interested book for summer beach reading, look no further. I laughed at some bits (it’s snarky, poking fun at Manhattan’s elite and those with ‘old money’/ trust funds), appreciated the plausible plot twists, and thought the ending was fitting.
Calling out to be made into a movie, just so that we can see the Pineapple Street house come to life.
Glossy by Marisa Meltzer
I picked this book – the ‘inside story’ of Emily Weiss’s astronomically successful beauty brand, Glossier – because when I was in Hawaii with my friends, one of them had been sent on a mission by her teenager to purchase particular Glossier products (they have since become available in Australia) – I was intrigued!
In the highly competitive beauty industry, Glossier initially did things very differently. The brand began on social media, and relied on influencers and engagement with customers to drive growth. The company’s founder, Emily Weiss, had her own media allure, and was also known as a ‘girlboss‘.
There were aspects of this book that were really interesting, specifically the way Weiss leveraged social media, and the intricacies of the beauty industry (much of that information probably isn’t new, but was new to me – for example, how it’s worth companies investing in perfume because customers often remain loyal to a fragrance for life). But did I need a whole book on it? This article would have probably sufficed. And honestly, I got to the end of the book still not knowing the enigmatic Weiss, despite the author’s best efforts and unprecedented access to her (and if that was frustrating for the reader, Meltzer must have found it infuriating).
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