I won't tell a lie- I despised the main character, Melanie, from the first chapter; she is rude, vain, childish and quiet frankly annoying. Although I am certain this is the exact intention of the author (and something that develops and changes towards the end of the book) this made the first half of the book a little difficult to read. I found her actions absurd and stupid which made it difficult for me to enjoy the plot of the story. Furthermore, because of Mel's actions the first half of the book was predictable and a little flat.
That being said, the second half of the book I really enjoyed. It was fun to read about how Mel's life develops; the story is set in 1916 and the second half centres around the hustle and bustle of Broadway at this time- a personal interest of mine. The glitz and glamour of the time is caught brilliantly and showcased in a way that I haven't seen before, as well as capturing the essence of working in theatre spectacularly.
Another thing that is touched upon well is the attitude towards women in this period- in particular the rights to a women's own body. More than once Mel refers to being 'owned' by a man just because they have had sex- a stark contrast to attitudes in our modern world, almost. It's interesting to read about a time that I see as being glamorous and sophisticated where women stood up for themselves and demanded the vote- when in actual fact certain elements of women's lives haven't changed at all. The topic of the legality of abortions is discussed often in the book and a particular quote really struck me- "The people who made laws were men, and men didn't get pregnant. They couldn't play God, they couldn't have babies but they could force women to have babies." How true? Still today it is men who have the real power with so few women in government and still with few women actually using their vote? It's almost as if nothing has changed. My only criticisms of this element of the book is that it was not developed into much more depth.
This book is not for everyone and I must stress that this is definitely 18 years+ and is not for the faint hearted, it contains some pretty graphic and upsetting scenes. However if you're a women, in particular if like me you're just about to set off into the world, this book will reawaken your thoughts about our society and women.
Note: This book was sent to me to review. This is no way alters or affects my opinion of the book and I only review books sent to me that I genuinely would have considered
purchasing for myself.
purchasing for myself.