A Lady’s Guide to Selling Out
By Sally Franson
Read by Chelsea Morgan
Category: Women’s Fiction | Romance | Audiobooks
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio/ Random House Audio
Apr 10, 2018 | 618 Minutes
With “elements of The Bold Type, Mad Men, and The Devil Wears Prada” (Entetainment Weekly), a young woman navigates a tricky twenty-first-century career—and the trickier question of who she wants to be—in this savagely wise debut novel
Casey Pendergast is losing her way. Once a book-loving English major, Casey lands a job at a top ad agency that highly values her ability to tell a good story. Her best friend thinks she’s a sellout, but Casey tells herself that she’s just paying the bills—and she can’t help that she has champagne taste.
When her hard-to-please boss assigns her to a top-secret campaign that pairs literary authors with corporations hungry for upmarket cachet, Casey is both excited and skeptical. But as she crisscrosses America, wooing her former idols, she’s shocked at how quickly they compromise their integrity: A short-story writer leaves academia to craft campaigns for a plus-size clothing chain, a reclusive nature writer signs away her life’s work to a manufacturer of granola bars.
When she falls in love with one of her authors, Casey can no longer ignore her own nagging doubts about the human cost of her success. By the time the year’s biggest book festival rolls around in Las Vegas, it will take every ounce of Casey’s moxie to undo the damage—and, hopefully, save her own soul.
This is sort of a coming-of-age novel. Sort of.I feel like several books I have read lately are beach reads designed for recently graduated young women. They look at the many aspects of twenty-somethings in the first flush of their careers.
At 28 is already of age. She lives in the real world but it is also a fantasy world brought on by traumatically strange parenting. She has poor coping skills, but believes she can read people. She is brilliant, but flawed. She fails to see danger, choosing instead to believe they are the people she envisions them to be. She gets rudely awakened when other humans are not honest, or do bad things. With the strange parents issue, Casey lives little vignettes in her head: her boss tells her she is like a daughter.
The writer has a strange way of describing “girl-crushes” – it made me wonder if she unsure in her sexual orientation and the story was going to be a coming-out story.
There is only one character here who is written with dimension, and that is our young protagonist. Like most of us when in our twenties, this character is self-absorbed and pulled on by the conflicting ideals of making money and serving art. When she is offered the chance to help “starving writers” by advancing the interests of business through their writing, often when they are poised on the edge of financial ruin or have a cause for which they would sacrifice much, she sees it as a blessing in the form of something that might almost make her a ton of money.
She also decides to do something stupid to help a friend. When one dumb thing happens because of that it all goes pear-shaped. Then the friend is somewhat more conciliatory when something good comes of it.
There’s a “me too,” “women-are-our-own-worst-enemies,” “that’s-reality-get-over-it,” aspect to this too when a confluence of events boomerang onto her. And there’s a warning against mixing drinking with business. Never go out into an alley with a guy, or to their room alone.
When the bad event happens, presented with realistic violence, her own shock and too much sake, perhaps stop Casey from acting with the type of rationality we are supposed to act. It’s strange since when harassed on the street by perceived scum she is able to do everything she needs to do except that she apologizes to the scumbag. But, as so often happens, this event is perpetrated by someone she respects, even, idolizes. That’s probably one reason she does not act rationally. When we think about why women who are attacked by men in power, the answer is that shock, the my word against theirs issue, and a lack of support even from other women; sometimes even a woman we respect.
And, I do not say this as a spoiler, what is going to happen is telegraphed in spades: If you are attacked in a hotel room, if you left something OR you did not, contact security. Either way, security can help you get your stuff back or get more help.
The book is very predictable. the course of Casey’s life is a vector towards disaster and comeuppance.
It’s still enjoyable. And, I like how Casey ultimately faces reality and doesn’t crumple. The story is also written with a great sense of humor.
The narration is excellent and age-appropriate. I liked the naivety and self-confidence with which Chelsea Morgan gives voice to Casey.
AUDIBLE (Publisher’s link): https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/A-Ladys-Guide-to-Selling-Out-Audiobook/B07BHTDGTT?qid=1530718186&sr=sr_1_1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=TX507P5HVCZXCNEZ0ZAP&