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My dad gave me lots of books recently that he had picked up from charity shops and the like for me, one of which was 'Getting it!' by Jane Blanchard. I had never heard of either the author or the book, however when I read the back cover and realised it was about a shopping channel, I knew I wanted to read it. I've mentioned the products I've purchased from the shopping channels in a couple of previous reviews, and people I know are always taking the mick out of me for watching them so much!
Fran is 42 and has been working for her local paper, The Hartford Echo, for over 20 years. She is a reporter, but also writes an outrageous horoscope column - often with controversial predictions - under the name of 'Madame Chita' - a secret only her husband and boss know about.
She's married to Bob, a kindly, well-meaning man, who likes DIY but never quite manages to finish a job, meaning her house has resembled a building site for several years.
At new year Fran is feeling stuck in a rut, and when she sees an advert in the paper wanting people to work for a new shopping channel called 'Getting It!' she applies (knocking a few years off her age in the process) and dreaming of a glamorous new life working in television. Fran meets Stella who is also applying for a job at the station in the waiting room at her interview. The two become firm friends and are delighted when they are offered jobs, even if they are just working behind the scenes.
It's not long before the two women realise that the reality of working for 'Getting It!' is not quite as glamorous as they had hoped. The products they sell are total rubbish and don't work, the budgets are limited, the presenters are at each others throats and each show seems to feature disaster after disaster, so the TV channel seems to grab all of the headlines, but for all of the wrong reasons!
What will happen to Fran and Stella? Will they be able to stick it out at the shopping channel from hell? And what happens when Fran's past as the elusive Madame Chita comes back to haunt her?
I really enjoyed this book, although it was a very light read, it wasn't exactly what I was expecting, as it's not your typical chick-lit, and there's no real romantic plot or sub-plot, which is the sort of thing I usually favour! Instead it looks at the world of television from the perspective of two women who are both taking a huge leap by changing careers fairly late in life, and in Fran's case trying to deal with people from her past.
I really warmed to the character of Fran, and even though I sympathised with the situations she kept finding herself in. Both Fran and Stella are likeable characters, but although I liked them - and of course was rooting for them throughout the book, I didn't think we really got to know them all that well.
There are lots of crazy characters in this book - like Piers the floor manager addicted to piercing and body building, and Kelly Marie who always wears lycra leotards for work, despite being the receptionist. Many of these characters are younger or just more naive than our 40 something heroines, and it is quite funny to read Fran and Stella's take on them.
Towards the end of the book there are quite a few twists and turns, many that I thought were quite predictable, but I didn't really think it spoiled the story too much, as the book keeps a steady pace throughout and there is very little page-filling, which meant I read all of this, rather than skim-reading as I sometimes find myself doing.
This is not a book that takes itself too seriously, it's just a fun, light read, and I will look forward to reading more from this author.
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