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Because She Can Hardcover – February 5, 2007

3.9 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The not–Anna Wintour character in this much-hyped my-boss-is-famously-unpleasant roman à clef is not–Judith Regan—or, to be positive, is Vivian Grant of Grant Books, "the most hotheaded, ruthless woman" in publishing. She physically and verbally abuses her staff, is having an affair with a married New York City official (who dresses in drag) and has made a "fortune by producing tabloid-inspired blockbusters." And though up-and-coming literary fiction editor Claire Truman has heard all the gossip, she takes a job as an editor at Grant Books and quickly discovers Vivian lives up to her reputation as a foul-mouthed, über-demanding, tantrum-throwing tyrant. Claire tries to maintain some semblance of a life (she's engaged to dreamboat Randall Cox, who went from big man on campus to big man at Goldman Sachs, even though she's really in love with Luke Mayville, a sensitive writer/unrecognized genius), but vicious Vivian keeps her within spitting (and swearing) distance 27 hours a day. Clark, who worked at Regan Books, nails the dark side of the vulgar, spiteful boss archetype, and though the plot is as shopworn as the characters, those in the Page Six and Lloyd Grove set will appreciate this devilish read. (Feb. 12)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Clark, who once worked for publishing mogul Judith Regan, makes her debut in a devilishly funny companion piece to Lauren Weisberger's Devil Wears Prada (2003), substituting the book business for the fashion industry. Claire Truman, who works for a top-tier New York publisher, is about to lose her beloved mentor to retirement. Then she runs into her old college crush, wealthy Randall Cox, who begins squiring her to all the trendiest restaurants in town and lands her a job interview with Vivian Grant, a highly successful publisher known for churning out best-sellers on porn, pulp, and politics. Things start promisingly, especially when Claire is given the go-ahead to sign up talented first novelist Luke Mayville, but Claire soon starts receiving midnight phone calls full of impossible demands from her imperious new boss. Faced with a soul-crushing workload and a marriage proposal from her too-good-to-be-true boyfriend, an overwhelmed Claire must suddenly make some life-altering decisions. This entertaining novel rises above its predictable plot and sometimes-flat characters on the strength of its humor--Vivian's vitriolic tantrums are laugh-out-loud funny. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1 edition (February 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446579246
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446579247
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,651,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. M. Papuga on September 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
What would you endure to have everything you've ever dreamed of? In her first novel, Because She Can, Bridie Clark tackles the classic "overcoming adversity and cruel boss" trope, only she does it with tasteful flair and laugh-out-loud humor. Claire Truman's job is in jeopardy, her latest love interest turned out to be as much of a loser as the rest, and her best friend wants to drag her to a high society function when she'd rather sit on her couch and indulge in the deliciously cliché week-long obligatory break-up mope. After playing the socialite at the opening of an art gallery, Claire's life changes almost over night: she starts dating the very eligible bachelor Randall Cox (her college crush and previously dubbed "Pabst Blue Ribbon" by the friends) who sweeps her into the upper crust, and she takes a job with the a big name publishing house as an editor for the infamous Vivian Grant, rumored to be the most dangerous woman in publishing. After warnings from her mentor, family, friends, and colleagues, Claire weighs the potential benefits of doing her time at Grant Books and decides that career advancement in the competitive world of publishing is worth whatever Grant can throw at her. In the mean time, Claire's romance with Randall Cox moves on fast forward toward happily ever after--or so everyone thinks.

Because She Can certainly sets itself apart among the recently repopularized "boss is evil" genre, but this novel is not about glorifying the cruelty of an employer so much as it is about the strength, intelligence, and internal resilience of a woman able to capitalize on any opportunity presented to her--no matter how overwhelming.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The main character was a bit of a ditz. I actually found the boss to be a more complex character. Wildly successful and able to intimidate even the most intimidating people, I wondered what made her that way and how she ticks. Although I must confess I felt the same thing about the Miranda (evil boss) character, in Devil Wears Prada, so perhaps that's just my bias. The book is certainly a light, fun read. A little too silly for me at times, and definitely predictable. I am tired of female characters trying to define themselves as rebels because they eat pizza for lunch when everyone else has salad, or because *gasp* they're not afraid to eat an entire cannoli while other people drink smoothies. If that's as over the top as you get, I can't help but feel my attentions sway more towards the horrifically abusive over the top boss. You want to stand out - she'll show you how its done.
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Format: Hardcover
"Because She Can" is a fun, entertaining little book, but I can't give it a higher rating than two stars because author Bridie Clark basically stole the entire outline for her novel from "The Devil Wears Prada."

In this story, Claire Truman is an assistant editor in New York City looking to jump-start her career. When her new boyfriend, the oh-so-perfect Randall Cox, lands Claire a meeting with hot-shot publisher Vivian Grant, it seems like a dream come true. Before she can bat an eyelash, Claire has a new job and a huge salary at Vivian's publishing company. Unfortunately, it soon becomes very obvious that this new job isn't all it's cracked up to be. Vivian is much more then a terrible boss: She's a full-fledged psychopath, and she makes Miranda Priestly from "The Devil Wears Prada" look like an angel in comparison! Claire is determined to stick it through and remain with the company for at least a year (sound familiar, "Prada" fans?). Eventually, though, Claire's job takes a major toll on her physical and emotional health. She's at the office almost 24 hours a day, neglects her relationships with her mother and best friend, and is lucky to see Randall (who is also super-busy with work) a few hours per week. Predictably, Claire finally decides that she needs to make some major changes in her personal and professional life in order to be truly happy.

Believe it or not, I enjoyed reading this book. Clark is a good writer, and the story is humorous and fun. However, I was incredibly disappointed at what an obvious "Prada" rip-off it is. Everything about "Because She Can" was completely predictable, and I felt like I'd read the entire book before...probably because I practically have, except for the fact that Lauren Weisberger's name was on the cover!
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By G.C. on November 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read and re-read this book several times since I first downloaded it. I love the story. It reminds me of The Devil Wears Prada. I also have to say, I really realized that what I would have loved to do as a career is be a book editor (but not for Vivian Grant! haha).
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bridie Clark combines elements from several time-honored genres: the one in which the educated middle class shows the upper class how to live (think It Happened One Night or The Great Gatsby); the bildungsroman, specifically the kunstlerroman, that tracks the education of a young person as she discovers herself as an artist (in this case an editor, with the editor's red pen depicted here like a paint brush); and, of course there is the New York City romance, which is as much about a turbulent love affair with a place as it is about finding that perfect guy. Ms. Clark weaves all of these different strands together seamlessly, creating a heroine who has a real girl's appetite for success, love, and pizza. We want the protagonist's ambition, her groundedness-- we even want her troubles. All this, I should add, in a book that is meant to be read on vacation. A delicious confection that you won't feel guilty devouring-- Claire (the main character) wouldn't!
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