- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Ballantine Books (July 6, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0449005569
- ISBN-13: 978-0449005569
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 64 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,950,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Love: A User's Guide Paperback – July 6, 1999
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From Publishers Weekly
The British Invasion rolls on, with permutations of Bridget Jones popping up everywhere, this time in Naylor's light-hearted and assured debut novel. Twentysomething Amy is a fashion assistant at Vogue, where she dresses undernourished teen models who "look like heroin addicts in bondage gear." Despite the Cinderella nature of her surprisingly unglamorous job, Amy remains staunchly convinced that fame and fortune are in her future. When she meets her Prince Charming in the form of gorgeous film star Orlando Rock, she believes that her dreams of romance and celebrity have finally come true. But then the hitch: although he returns Amy's affections, Orlando is determined to keep their romance a secret from the tabloids, escorting her only to out-of-the-way places not at all consonant with her ideas of the high life. Will Amy be able to forgive the screen god for merely loving her and wanting to be with her? Naylor hilariously details Amy's frenzied preparation for dates with Orlando while providing her with a lively supporting cast, most notably in the person of Amy's boss, who could easily do a stint on Absolutely Fabulous. She's also savvy enough to pepper the plot with the kinds of misunderstandings, complications and flies in the ointment that romantic comedies thrive on. Most importantly, however, she has created a comic heroine with a difference. A fan of Shakespeare, Dostoyevski and Ana?s Nin, Amy's romantic expectations are glossed with literary allusions. With the sharply intelligent wit of a modern Elizabeth Bennett and the imagination of Ally McBeal, Amy is the best excuse yet for surrender (temporarily at least) to the Invasion. (July)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
A British debut considers the superficiality of stardom with quirky, careless charm. Amys adventures, relayed in a bright, tongue-in-cheek narrative, begin with a fairly quiet weekend on the Dorset coast. Away from her pins-and-needles job as an assistant at Voguethe impossible lure of that Prada skirt, the perfect waifish posing of the models, the Eurotrash cattiness of those in charge can really bring a girl downjet-setter wannabe Amy has few expectations for her country respite, though she quickly learns that fate knocks on the door only when your face is covered in cucumber mask. While frolicking al fresco in the best-dressed sort of way, shes introduced to the impossibly beautiful Orlando Rock, leading man of every Bronte-Hardy-Forster film of recent memory. As luck would have it, the two keep bumping into each other and begin to dateeven though, to Amys horror, Orlando is just a regular Joe: more fond of beer than champagne, greasy spoons than celebrity hot-spots. Amys hunger for glamour goes quickly undernourished, and she begins to dig her own grave. After a perfect vacation in Australia, she begins bragging about her liaison with Orlando, passing around snaps and relating the details of their love life for all and sundry to hear. Which makes her just the kind of woman publicity-shy Orlando is afraid of, having just divorced a media-slave wife. After a series of mishaps and confusions (contributed to in large part by Amys evil flatmates), Amy leaves Orlando and hops on the 15-minute roller coaster of fame-by-association. The problem is that Orlando is truly in love with Amy, and she thinks shes probably in love with him, toothe real him, that is. Lighter than marshmallow Fluff, but also fun ... la Bridget Joness Diary. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
Top customer reviews
Amy has a crush on THE most beautiful and popular movie star of the day and it just so happens they meet through mutual friends, become involved and fall madly in love. The ups and downs along with the story are of course paparazzi and an infamous sex tape scandal from a previous relationship. It's all a little little too cliché and expected, but does the trick entertainment-wise.
Amy works at Vogue, but in one of the less glamourous jobs -- she dresses anorexic models and fashionistas in the latest styles. She's also mired in her high-school inferiority complex -- she's one of those infuriating characters who are gorgeous, believe themselves to be Quasimodo. Despite this, she has quite a few quickies, including a fling with another woman.
Then she meets Orlando Rock, a broodingly handsome celebrity who immediately falls for her. Amy tentatively enters a relationship with him, rife with her own insecurities -- which only gets worse when she sees tabloid pics of his sultry costar smooching him.
The only thing that makes an idiot look even more profoundly stupid is when the idiot tries to pass himself off as an intellectual. And Clare Naylor's efforts to create a "smart" chick-lit fail miserably -- the book comes across as aimless, plodding and hyperdramatic.
Naylor obviously had no real plot in mind, beyond celebrity-falls-for-everywoman. The plot wanders around aimlessly, trying to be dramatic over Amy's jealousy or poor gorgeous Orlando being pursued by beautiful women. Naylor even tries to spice it up with a lesbian encounter, but it feels confusingly random. And somebody needs to tell Clare Naylor that it takes more to make a smart character than name-dropping Bronte and Baudelaire.
Speaking of which, the greatest flaw of the book is Amy -- a naive, neurotic, brainless mess who believes she is intelligent if she can ramble off a few lines from Shakespeare. A genuinely intelligent woman would be smart enough to not try to flaunt her taste for Bronte on the beach. And Orlando is merely a walking Ken doll who is tailor-made for Amy's neurotic desires. The more interesting supporting characters like Lucy are given short shrift.
A meandering mess, "Love: A User's Guide" comes across merely as an embarrassing schoolgirl fantasy. This shallow disaster is what gives chick-lit a bad name.
Most recent customer reviews
I felt like I was reading a book from a 13 year old trying to seem sophisticated and...Read more