I first heard about I Heart New York, by Lindsey Kelk, from Becky’s review on her blog, which stated it as chick-lit fluff and fun. Was I up for fluff and fun? Was I ever. This is the final week of semester people.
Despite being with her fiancee for basically forever, Angela still finds him cheating on her with another woman…and at her best friend’s wedding. Even worse, apparently everyone (including said best friend) but Angela knew he’d been having an affair. Cue tantrum, a hastily packed suitcase and a one-way ticket to New York…Angela’s starting afresh.
Luckily for Angela, as soon as she lands in New York she makes friends with the receptionist at the hotel she’s staying at…a receptionist that, upon hearing about the break up, decides that the best thing for Angela to do is have a make-up and spend quite literally months of mortgage on clothes and makeup. Even luckier for Angela, through her connections she gets a job writing a column for an online magazine, which is just SUPER handy considering she’s not dating one, but TWO hot men and thus has to discuss with her fans who to choose.
Of course, things aren’t perfect for Angela in New York. I mean, first she has to decide: will she pick the famous musician to be her boyfriend, or the Black Amex-carrying banker who thinks a trip to Tiffany’s on the second date is perfectly normal (and not at all capitalistic, might I add). Second, she has to make the heart-breaking decision of choosing to stay in New York, where she gets paid to write about fuck all (Carrie style), or go back to London, where she’s just been offered a job on a magazine to write about fuck all. LIFE’S HARD GUYS.
I Heart New York went against basically every principle that I have, particularly in regards to feminism. First off, Kelk has written a novel about a woman who apparently spends all her time buying clothes and make up and trying to decide which man to date. Fine, whatever, it’s a chick lit. But the thing that irked me most of all was that it felt like a bit of a slap across the face to anyone who has moved overseas, tried to get a job or, I dunno, worked and studied for the better part of their life to get a job as an editor. Yet, Angela somehow swans in and becomes an online celebrity in, would you believe, the space of a week. And then she’s offered the job of a senior editor for a major magazine….because of the fact that she’s spent quite literally, one week, writing about her love life.
Then there’s the issue about where all her money is coming from. Is she a secret millionaire? How can she afford a hotel in Manhattan, then rent an apartment in Manhattan, all while buying the better part of Barney’s? Even if I suspend belief (which I can usually do in regards to chick lit), it still sounds scarily familiar to the plot of Sex and the City. Which boyfriend do I choose? Oh, I dunno, how about I deliberate it while writing my column about sex and going shoe shopping? Only thing is, Sex and the City manages to portray this storyline in a way that is far wittier, iconic and ground-breaking.
The writing isn’t particularly great in I Heart New York, and the editing is particularly woeful. Aside from the serious typos and grammatically errors throughout the novel, somehow phrases like ‘the unnecessarily fat man’ got through the editing stage. Unnecessarily fat? Does that mean there is a fat that is necessary? And throughout are plot developments conceived by Kelk to get the story moving, but they read as though a 15 year old, coming up with a daydream about her crush, would envision. Though I like la-la land, it seemed a tad too ridiculous that within 15 minutes of arriving in New York, Angela had a best friend, a make-over and a whole slew of girls who were keen to hang out with her and alas, move in with her after a week! Sorry, but people generally are not that nice.
However, despite the horrendous writing, terrible story telling and absolute shit on feminism, this book was quite fun to read. It took me two days and approximately six brain cells, and with deadlines looming, that is exactly what I was after. Will I go on to read the sequels? Hell no. Would I like Kelk to come up with a storyline that actually involves SOME sort of problem? Ideally, yes. But at the same time, it was light, it was fluffy, and at no stage did it pretend to be anything else. In saying that, if you can’t stand chick lit, poorly written work, a shaky storyline or excessive amounts of pink, then please, don’t pick up I Heart New York.
Have you read I Heart New York or anything by Lindsey Kelk? What did you think?