Be Careful What You Wish For – by Gemma Crisp
This book is the first by the former editor of Cleo and Dolly magazines. It proudly declares that “If you liked The Devil Wears Prada, you’ll love this.” I did enjoy Prada, and I also really enjoy a good chick lit read, so I dove in. Here’s what I thought:
Nina Morey doesn’t love hospitality. As much fun as it is catering for the every whim of rich, entitled guests at one of London’s most exclusive hotels, she’s had about enough. Figuring out what she does love to do is the hard part – but when Nina spies an opportunity to intern at a fashion magazine, she jumps at the chance. Soon, she’s racing through the ranks of glossy mags in London and then in Sydney, juggling deadlines, professional frenemies, potential boyfriends and nightmarish hours as she tries to live the age old adage of the working woman who has it all.
Nina’s story contains elements of what feels like a meteoric rise to success – although in reality it’s over a number of years – as well as a gradual escalation of personal problems that are ignored in favour of work. Her focus narrows considerably from when we meet her – as a harried hospitality employee who has to be concerned not only with her friends’ lives but with every detail of her important guests’ – to the final chapters of the novel, where we see Nina failing to notice big changes in the people she’s technically the closest to. It’s an interesting look at what we sometimes sacrifice – knowingly or unwittingly – in the pursuit of that next step.
I didn’t love Nina all the time, which may have been Crisp’s intention. She is authentically flawed. Determined but selfish, ambitious but sometimes not sensitive to those around her. This is such an easy thing to fall into in Nina’s situation: focus and drive are positive qualities, but Crisp’s novel takes a look at what can happen if these qualities are focused on to the exclusion of others.
While Be Careful What You Wish For wasn’t a particularly groundbreaking or memorable story, it had a really interesting perspective on the trials of following your dreams, and I enjoyed the read.
Summer reading for magazine fans, and I’d recommend it to those who like Sophie Kinsella (I’ve Got Your Number) or Lauren Weisberger (The Devil Wears Prada).