I read a review on dooyoo about this book a while ago and decided I wanted to read it. Luckily some kind soul (my Mum) got it for me for Christmas! As I was halfway through another book I only started reading it at the weekend but finished it last night. For me thats a real achievement as it usually takes me weeks to get through a book!
Another thing that attracted me to the book was the cover! It looks very similar to the cover of The Devil Wears Prada which I really enjoyed. On this cover, we see a fishnet tighted foot wearing a stiletto heel, however the shoe has stuck in bubblegum, perhaps suggesting that this person is not very lucky. The cover tells us a bit about the story 'A movie star from hell. Her ambitious PA. And one very sticky situation.'
So the book begins by introducing us to Francesca, also know as Fran who is the main character of the book. She tells us a bit about her background and we learn that she grew up wanting to be an actress but never made it. She is now 29 and working in an office job for a PA company, she is unhappy in her work and is constantly attending auditions for acting work. However, she has never got anything big, her biggest job has been an advert for insurance company Claims for Dames which everyone laughs at. Her arch enemy Stacey also works at the company and is constantly flirting with their boss, Geoff. One day things get out of hand and the girls have a fight resulting in Fran being sacked because of course, Geoff takes Stacey's side.
Fran is at a loose end, she has no money, she has no job and to make things worse she has just been dumped by boyfriend Harry. She is getting onto temping agencies when her friend Carrie Anne calls her with a job opening that may change her life forever.
I loved this book. The first few chapters I was a little unsure as I wasn't sure it was for me, however as the story unravelled I loved it more and more. Although it is about being a PA for a top movie star, the book isn't all about glamour and fame-infact quite the opposite. We see Fran in her everyday life and see the struggles she has to deal with but also the perks of the job.
The characters really made the book for me. The fact we are introduced to Fran through a few chapters before she starts work as a PA makes us really understand her and warm to her. I found myself really feeling with her as she was having a real struggle of it. Fran's boss appears to be nice at first and we find ourselves thinking that Fran has found herself a fantastic job opportunity, however things soon change and we see her for what she really is. This change made me warm to Fran even more as we could see her struggling yet she was battling on despite this. Other than Fran, my favourite character in the book was Fran's bosses husband as he was very kind and the complete opposite to Fran's boss.
The plot was very good, it flowed along well and there were a number of shocks throughout the story. The main revelation in the book was a bit predictable and I knew it was going to happen before it did. Despite this, I still enjoyed it and the revelation was a joy to read. The ending was good, everything was wrapped up well and it was a very happy ending. It was not at all rushed and came to a lovely close.
As you can probably tell, I adored this book as although it was about being a PA for a movie star, there was a lot more going on. Therefore, if you are not attracted to this book because you think it will be all about movie stars and glamour, give it a try as it covers a lot of other subjects and is a lovely read.
The book was written by Jemma Forte.
The book was published in November 2009.
It was published by Penguin.
It has 448 pages.
It is available on Amazon for just £4.04 which is an absolute bargain in my eyes.
Customer reviews on Amazon-out of 16 reviews, 14 give the book 5 stars.
I could not put this book down and read it for 6 hours straight at one point as I was so keen to continue with the story. It has a fantastic plot and is absolutely hilarious, I urge you to give it a read!
Francesca Massi has dreamt of being an actress since she was 9 years old but now, at 29, her only claim to fame is starring in a car insurance advert. When Fran gets the chance to be a PA to Caroline Mason - one half of Hollywood's most powerful couple, she jumps at the chance to have a springboard for her acting career. However being a celebrity PA is nothing like Fran imagined, in fact it's hell. As Fran starts losing her friends and potential Mr Right, she starts to wonder if it's really worth it. Will Fran salvage her relationships before it's too late?
Jemma Forte's debut novel Me & Miss M caught my eye when I read somewhere, Amazon I think, that it was being called the British The Devil Wears Prada. I haven't actually read The Devil Wears Prada but have seen the film and know how the plot goes so I was hugely interested in reading Me & Miss M to see just how right or wrong that claim was. Me & Miss M is like a British version of The Devil Wears Prada but also it's not... let me (try and) explain.
Me & Miss M tells the story of struggling actress Fran. Every since she watched It's A Wonderful Life aged nine she's wanted nothing more than to be famous and to attend the Oscars and star in films. In the twenty years that follow, her only claim to fame is starring in a dodgy car insurance advert which still makes her cringe. However, through her friend Carrie-Anne, Fran is given the opportunity of a lifetime: becoming the personal assistant of Caroline Mason, one half of Hollywood's uber-couple, girlfriend of Carson Adams - a hugely popular movie star. As Fran begins her job and in the subsequent months that follow it seems as if being PA to a star isn't as glamorous as it all seemed. As the book progresses we see just how bad and demanding Caroline Mason is and I couldn't help but marvel at how Fran put up with it. It's a hugely interesting plot and one that slowly sucked me in. It does of course stir up the question: do celebrities really act that way? It's easy to believe they do, but who knows?
The characters in Me & Miss M were all, in their own way, quite fantastic. Fran narrates the entire book so we get her deepest thoughts regarding Caroline Mason and Carson Adams. I thought she was incredibly sweet but also quite a saint for putting up with Caroline for so long. Caroline Mason was an absolute horror yet I found her incredibly intriguing. She needed to learn some home truths, for sure, but I found her incredibly amusing also. I absolutely loved Carson Adams. He was so much more down-to-Earth than Caroline and his star status didn't seem to concern him or make him egotistical in any way. I loved all of Fran's friends; Abbie, Ella, Sabina, Carrie-Anne but I felt they were hugely underused as the book was pretty much about Fran's PA duties to Caroline. Tom, the love interest, is introduced quite early on in the book and I liked him immediately. Again, he was underused but only because of how busy Caroline kept Fran most of the time. One of my favourite characters though was Lorna, Caroline's housekeeper, she was incredibly nice and really looked out for Fran.
There are plenty of mini-plots throughout the book, some more obvious than others. There was a subplot about Caroline and Carson which I guessed well before it all came out. It was so obvious it was untrue. As well as having Fran's narrative throughout we also read some of her diary entries she writes whilst working for Caroline. It kind of felt repetitive considering we'd already read it but it didn't concern me too much. The real crux of the story though seemed to be Fran figuring out once and for all what it is she wanted to do with her life, she was very undecided about it all and I liked her eventual career path although it did take her so so long to arrive at her career-choice.
The writing of Me & Miss M is quite superb considering it's a debut novel and I was highly impressed with how easy it was to complete the book. Jemma Forte seems hugely talented and I hope she's busy on a second book. The ending kind of left it open for a potential sequel and I for one would love more time in Fran's mad world. I can't, however, compare The Devil Wears Prada as I haven't read it but after seeing the film, they do seem relatively similar yet also quite different if that makes sense. Maybe my mind will change when I eventually get around to The Devil Wears Prada and I can see for sure how similar (or unsimilar) they are. The book covers are remarkably similar, both feature a high-heeled shoe although The Devil Wears Prada shoe is shaped like a devil's stick whereas the Me & Miss M shoe is covered in gum. I've read a number of fantastic debuts this year and this is another of those high up on my list of fab debuts. Me & Miss M is well worth a read.