“ Genre: Fiction / Author: Chris Manby / Paperback / 304 Pages / Book is published 2009-02-19 by Hodder & Stoughton „
As the only granddaughter of the owner of a world famous chain of golf resorts, multi-million dollar heiress and tabloid favourite Birdie Sederberg is used to getting exactly what she wants. So when she spots Dean Stevenson, hot new star of soap opera Pacific Coast Highway she decides he is the latest must-have accessory.
Birdie thrusts her telephone number onto Dean at a party they both attend, but even though he doesn't call, Birdie Sederburg is not a girl who gives up easily. After stalking Dean to find out exactly where he goes, she crashes -on purpose- into the back of his car, and then insists on taking him out for dinner to say sorry. She figures the months of neck and back pain are worth it if it gets her the cutest guy on TV.
Despite not being in the least bit interested Dean does eventually agree to a date. What Birdie doesn't know is that he's only doing it because his agent thinks it will be good publicity - and it might just help squash the rumours going around that he is gay. Oblivious, Birdie is ecstatic, even more so when their pictures start appearing on all the entertainment websites and gossip magazines. However, her increasingly obsessive behaviour and embarrassingly outlandish choice of clothing is beginning to irritate Dean and he soon dumps her in favour of co-star Emily B.
Distraught at losing Dean, Birdie decides that she needs to do something drastic to get him back. She decides that if she gets herself kidnapped, Dean will realise how much he misses her and come to her rescue. With such an outlandish plan though, it's inevitable that things are not going to run smoothly...
I've enjoyed most of Chris Manby's books and this was no exception. Right from the first page I was hooked and most of that was down to the main character Birdie Sederberg.
Birdie's behaviour is so outrageous that to read it is both comical and shocking. She is the ultimate airhead, with more money than sense, and brilliantly observed. When I first started reading, I would have simply labelled Birdie as being a bitch for her behaviour to the people around her, but as I read on, I realised that actually there was no malice in her. The problem with Birdie (in my opinion) was that she simply didn't think, probably because she'd never really had to - she was used to the click my fingers and get what I want lifestyle. She'd often make comments which would seriously hurt people's feelings, but she was so thoughtless she was oblivious to what she was doing. For example her assistant Clemency had recently had a sex change and become a woman (yes, this book is far fetched), yet Birdie would often ask for relationship advice by requesting Clemency's opinion 'As a man'.
This book was a really light and fun read, so light in fact there was a danger it could float away at times! It's fairly over the top and crazy as I'm sure you can tell from the plot line, but somehow the madness of it all is actually what makes it so readable! I found it to be one of those books that you can just breeze through as the style of writing flows so easily and the story is fast paced. There was always something new happening which kept my attention and although some parts of the book where predictable, I did find a few surprises along the way which I wasn't expecting.
Birdie lives a showbiz lifestyle, and I did enjoy reading about her desperate attempts to get her picture in celebrity magazines and on celebrity websites. For example she would deliberately update her Facebook page with cryptic status messages knowing they would be leaked to the press. Another thing I particularly enjoyed reading about her crazy outfits. Her stylist DD would charge a fortune to dress Birdie in outlandish and unflattering clothes and tell her it was the latest trend. Birdie obviously knew she looked insane, but was so desperate to be fashionable and liked that she went along with it.
As I said before, Birdie really is brilliantly observed. I must admit that I do indulge in a celebrity magazine now and then, and when I check news websites, there is a tendency to check the entertainment pages first! I kept putting different celebrities faces to Birdie as I read - she is like a big combination of different famous people, and a joy to read.
I know this style of book won't be everyone's cup of tea, but on the whole I really enjoyed it, as I knew I would from the first page. It was such an easy read, it didn't take much brainpower, but it was so light and fun, and if you are regularly read entertainment magazines or websites, I think you'll probably love this.
I'd never read anything by this author before I saw this in my local library, but the blurb on the back cover sounded entertaining so I thought I'd give it a go.
The main character is Birdie, who is the heiress to her grandfather's golf empire. She is the typical stereotype of the rich American girl - used to being able to buy anything she pleases, used to getting her own way because of who she is and self centred. Beneath this, there is some degree of vulnerability though. She falls for Dean, an actor in a popular soap opera but he is initially immune to her attempts to organise a date after deliberately running into his car to get him to notice her properly. He only does so at the say-so of his agent as it seems that there have been press rumours about his sexuality and he uses Birdie for publicity. When he and his agent decide the 'relationship' has run its course, Birdie finds herself dumped and in despair. Determined to win him back, Birdie decides to pay for herself to be 'kidnapped' so that Dean will realise his feelings for her in the 'trauma'. Will the staged kidnap come off as she intends, and if it does, will she get the results she craves?
Although she was an egotistical character on the whole, I found Birdie to be quite an amusing character at times, if only because she was so obviously a stereotype of heiresses like Paris Hilton. She treats people with contempt, particularly the gardener, Nate, and her PA, Clemency, but you could say that she gets her just desserts at the end of the book and does seem to be something of a changed woman. The whole thing with Dean made me warm to her, as he was blatantly using her for his own ends and I felt some sympathy towards her for that as she seemed to really like him. I couldn't warm to several of the characters, including Dean and Birdie's uncle Julius (who is very cold and seemingly not bothered about anything but himself and his business interests). At first, I felt vaguely sorry for Dean as Birdie is a bit of a nightmare with her full-on personality but that quickly wore off as the book progressed.
The book is written in the third person and tells parts of the story from the viewpoint of various characters. This is mostly to do with Birdie, but we also get insights into her best friend Chipper, PA Clemency, Nate, Dean, Dean's agent Justin, Uncle Julius etc. In many cases, these insights will be limited to one or two paragraphs or even lines, but it helps us to understand why certain things happened as they did as these wouldn't necessarily have been obvious had the story been told predominantly from Birdie's point of view. The chapters tend to be three to five pages in length, which gives the book a bit of a fast paced feel. The writing style is typical chick lit, nothing too heavy and the book flows well throughout.
I have plenty of books on my shelves at home - many that I buy and have for ages before I get a chance to read which is normally because I buy that many and most from authors I read all the time that I tend to then read my favourite authors first whilst others are still piling up! One of the latest books to grace my shelves was Chris Manby's new one 'Crazy in Love'. This was one I bought and read within a day just because I love her books so much! After buying as part of a multi buy offer I sat down to read it and had finished in super quick time as I simply could not put it down.
Chris Manby has written 13 books now including this one all under the chick lit genre. She is a UK author and most notably for this book she has decided to go by the name Chrissie Manby, which I thought was silly after all this time writing under Chris but, I think it has something to do with people potentially thinking she is a male author before realising she is actually female?
Other than that she is one of my favourite authors of chick lit because of how enjoyable all her books are.
The book follows a young woman named Birdie Sederberg who is a heiress to a fortune and the family golf resorts owned by her grandfather Julius. She is used to having anything she wants and not caring about anything or anyone else. The one thing she does want but, cannot seem to get is the man of her dreams in the form of Dean Stevenson. After trying in vain to get him to love her she decides the only way is to get herself kidnapped! Will he then realise his feelings for Birdie and come to her rescue?
The thing I like about Chris Manby is that she is very good at creating new characters with every book she releases - you never feel like you are reading about a character from one of her other books even though of course her books are all the same genre. In particular the character of Birdie is quite extreme in the way she acts especially with money. She is quite amusing at the same time as annoying which is exactly what type of person she needs to be for the book to work so well. Other characters includes Birdie's assistant Clemency, a women who used to be a man and the love OF Birdie's life Dean, who comes across as being quite scared of Birdie which is no surprise by the way she acts half the time!
I bought my copy as part of a multibuy in Tesco and so paid £3.50 for the book as it came as pasrt of a 2 for £7 offer which I think is well worth the money.
Once again Manby has managed to pull a chick lit off with style - the book is incredibly easy to read in that it just flows really well and once you start reading you don't want to stop. Yes it is a little unrealistic in parts but, of course this makes it even better to read and after all this is the type of book you are hoping to get when you read the blurb on the back that's states Birdie plans on getting herself kidnapped - if you're not expecting some parts too be a little far fetched after that then I wouldn't bother reading it in the first place! My only criticism is that because it is such an easy read I finished it too quickly and now once again I am left eagerly waiting on the next book!!
Birdie Sederburg lives in LA, and is certainly enjoying her lifestyle. She's the heiress to a global franchise of golf resorts owned by her grandfather Julian, and loves nothing more than spending her vast inheritance on hideous clothes and jewellery. When soap actor Dean Stevenson catches her eye, Birdie decides she has to have him. Dean, on the other hand, couldn't be less interested. So Birdie decides she must do something drastic to get Dean's attention. She decides to get herself kidnapped. Is Dean going to realise Birdie really was the woman of his dreams, or has it been a big waste of time for Birdie?
Having not read a Chris Manby novel before (and not really knowing why I haven't), I was looking forward to enjoying a new author's style and story. After reading the blurb, the story seemed a tad daft but I do occasionally like the odd easy read, and this book definitely seemed to fall into that category. The cover screamed out chick lit, with a model-looking woman clutching a cocktail, a dog, and glittery silver letters with the title, which I think sadly might put off some potential readers, as this book is better than its cover leads you to believe.
Firstly, I couldn't believe that the author had named her lead character Birdie when she is a golf resort heiress. It wasn't just a clever play on words but as you get reading, you can see that the name suits the character and the over-the-top style of the book perfectly. Birdie seems to be a parody of those young American girls who have lots of money, not much fashion sense and want a famous hunk to get pictured with. I could imagine several 'celebrities' in my head as I was reading this, and I think this is clever of Chris Manby, because I was wondering who she had modelled Birdie on throughout the book, especially her disastrous and out-there outfits!
The book follows Birdie's life, her infatuation with the soap star Dean, who I grew to sympathise with and actually like by the end of the book because of his unfortunate situation, her nice but dim best friend Chipper (her parents made their fortune in wood) and mid sex-change assistant Clemency. The whole story is totally outrageous and seems like something a kooky 'celeb' would do for attention, but that is what made it so readable and funny! Birdie was just a disaster from start to finish, but you just had to keep reading to see where she was going to go wrong next. Despite her selfishness and self-obsession, I actually really liked Birdie, and it was mainly her character that kept me reading.
Chris Manby's writing style is very easy to read, and I found this book was great to pick up and put down for whenever I had five minutes. I didn't have to concentrate too hard on the story which is good if you want something light-hearted and quite fun. She wrote this story in the third person, which allows for easy switching between the characters during the novel. For example, during Birdie's 'kidnap', we see the story from several perspectives and this works well to create more of the story and keep the reader wanting to read more. Manby has written a lot of books and she's definitely doing something right for the market she's aimed at, and with fun and enjoyable books like this, I can see why she's popular.
This book is most definitely an easy and fun read, and that's why I liked it. It didn't try to be a serious novel, or anything too hard-going, and its ridiculous story was so laughable it was brilliant. The thought in the back of my mind that Manby is definitely modelling Birdie on someone real made it all the more funnier for me, and I have my own ideas on who Birdie is like! If you love light-hearted and funny chick-lit, then I'd definitely recommend this book to you. There's a moral in there too, but somehow it works and doesn't seem out of place. A fun read and recommended.
ISBN: 978-0340937037. Published by Hodder & Stoughton in February 2009. The paperback contains 304 pages.
Thank you for reading.
This review previously appeared on www.thebookbag.co.uk