It’s the swinging 60s and Barbara enters a beauty pageant in Blackpool to not only win, but refuse the title five minutes later. She heads for London, leaving her family and identity behind, and the reinvented Sophie Straw is ready to take on the world and make people laugh like Lucille Ball, her heroine.
Things take off quickly, and life begins to imitate art, raising choices for everyone involved. What happens when you love your job and hate your marriage? Or when you feel like you’re better than this? Or keep following the path you’re on?
Ech. My issue with this is it ran too closely to Beauty, the awful book about an exceptionally good looking girl who not only got everything in life that she wanted, to a point, but was completely insufferable in the process. While Sophie could be a bit much at times in that respect, at least she proved bearable at.
It’s not all about her, though, as the story entwines a number of characters and their own personal secrets and issues. The setting is very much of the time, fun, free and interesting – it shows the woman’s perceived role in society and the urge to change that perception in comedy, even the mere urge to turn typical comedy itself on its head.
But. But. The instant connection to an awful book I’d previously read totally chipped away at this when it felt remotely similar, and while it was well written in that you could easily breeze through this with no difficulty, it just didn’t work for me.
6th Nov 2014 | Viking