Monday, May 16, 2005

MISS MEDIA by Lynn Harris (iUniverse)

That's Lynn Harris. Not E. Lynn Harris.

The interesting thing about this book is that I saw it (cover out) in a local used bookstore (in a small section put aside for new titles) and picked it up based solely on title and cover. Being a hardback, I glossed over the description on the flap, read the first few pages, then dropped it in my basket for checkout. I ended up finishing the book two days later. That was about a year ago.

I didn't realize it was POD until three days ago.

I was reorganizing my bookshelf and a bunch of books dropped off one end. On top was MISS MEDIA by Lynn Harris. What caught my eye was not the cover this time, but the tiny red iUniverse log on the back.

So, you see, POD books are difficult to differentiate from traditionally published books after all.

Especially in this case. MISS MEDIA is absolutely a well-written book. It is chick-lit only in a sense that it is about a chick and it's literary. But it is way edgier than the standard fare and a heck of a lot more compelling.

And much funnier.

MISS MEDIA tells the story of Lola Somerville, an advice columnist who ends up getting a primo job at a "TV for women" network by the name of Ovum--during the peak years of the blitz and at a time when names like iVillage, Oprah, Lifetime and the like were the hottest brands in the industry. She has to grapple with the ins and outs of a company gone wrong and attempts to surface triumphantly. And it is true to the time: obsession with web addresses, email excerpts and "the talk" of the industry.

Ms. Harris delivers this roman-a-clef so deftly that you will likely want to do an immediate re-read. Her writing is sharp, clever and memorable:

"Lola could pass for Nicole Kidman if she were two feet taller and had a different face--so her hair, she felt, made up for the fact that otherwise, one might describe her as 'the hot girl's approachable friend.'"

Highly entertaining and highly enjoyable.

And wouldn't you know . . . for all my $1.35 copies of POD books, I paid full price for this one.