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Melissa Nathan is the author of Acting Up. A journalist for 12 years she then decided to write novels full time. 5 novels have been written before sadly, Melissa Nathan passed away at the young age of 37.
Acting up is great chic lit reading.
****Overview of Story (without giving away any spoilers....hopefully)****
The main character jasmin Field (Jazz) is a journalist who thinks she knows people so well. After auditioning for a part in a fundraiser, Jazz lands the main part of Elizabeth bennett in Pride and Prejudice, which is directed by Hollywood Heartthrob Harry Noble. Unlike many other women though, Jazz is not a big fan of his, after all, she reads people so well and he is so obnoxious.....or is he? Throughout the story we meet her family, see into her working life, her home life, her friends life, and more importantly, her stage life throughout the production and see how her relationship with the director and other actors test her judgement of people, and of herself.
I choose this book to read on a recent holiday, after all, i love chic lit, and a modern day Pride and Prejudice appealed to me. The book was really well written, witha good modern feel to it. It really seemed to draw you into the life of Jazz and those around her, all the characters I think were portrayed really well. When times were hard for Jazz you could really fel it, when Jazz thought she was being hard done by, you wanted to not like the characters who seemed against her, and towards the end, you were crossing your fingers for a happy ending, and to be fair, it was quite apparent towards the end that it would be a happy ending and was a little predictable in that sense, however, when reading chick lit, I would say most are quite predictable for the ending, after all, it is al love romance and happiness isn't it.
I would recommend this novel though as easy to read, easy to be drawn into it, was a bit difficult to put down because it was so well written, and I will be looking up her other 4 novels
Jasmin Field knows how to judge people. After all, she does it on a weekly basis in her columns in a women's magazine Hurrah! She might be a bit cynical, but that's the price one pays for deep knowledge of fellow human beings: and people-watching is such fun!
To her own surprise, Jasmin lands the role of Elizabeth Bennet in a one-off fund-raising adaptation of Pride and Prejudice directed by a valued stage actor and a Hollywood heart-throb Harry Noble. He is a truly obnoxious type and confirms all her worst preconceptions. However, it would not really be fun if some comeuppance was not in order . When Jazz's best friend abandons her for a slimy slug of a man, her family members go all awry, the column is in mortal danger and things turn out Not Exactly As Planned. There is, of course, a love story line as well as many observations of the acting and journalists' worlds and a lot of humour.
In other words, an archetypal chick-lit, and considering that The Mother Of All Chick-Lit (i.e. Bridget Jones' Diary) was using the same classic as its source, a brave attempt, especially for a début (Acting Up is a re-issue of Melissa Nathan's first novel, originally published under the slightly less dynamic title of Pride, Prejudice and Jasmin Field).
Jasmin is very likeable, though arrogant enough to provide delicious pangs of shadenfreude when life starts questioning her sure judgements. The dialogue is probably the best realised aspect of Acting Up, with very many funny lines and only an odd howler. The main narrative is less polished, and occasionally a bit woody, while the social observations, especially of the media world, are funny, if a bit sketchy, and most of the supporting characters have enough colour to add some life to the tale.
It's a quick, easy and entertaining read, showing a promise that the author realised best in her The Nanny and one of those books perfect for a completely mindless Sunday afternoon or a very long bath.
384 pages paperback
This review was originally written for www.thebookbag.co.uk.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a large ego must be in want of a woman to cut him down to size...When journalist Jasmin Field lands the coveted role of Elizabeth Bennet in a one-off fundraising adaptation of "Pride and Prejudice" she discovers that the play's director, Hollywood heart-throb Harry Noble, is every bit as obnoxious as she could have hoped. Which means a lot of material for her column. And a lot of fun in rehearsals. And then disaster strikes. Jazz's best friend abandons her for a man not worthy to buy her chocolate, her family starts to crumble before her eyes and her award-winning column hits the skids. Worse still, Harry Noble keeps staring at her. As the lights dim, the audience hush and Jazz awaits her cue, she realises two very important things, one: she can't remember her lines, and two: Harry Noble looks amazing in breeches...