Zoe Foster is one of my favourite chick lit authors – and not just because she has an adorable baby and is married to the hilarious Hamish Blake (which means that in real life she must also have a wicked sense of humour). So while I’ve read her newer stuff, I thought I’d delve into the ol’ Zoe Foster archives and try out her very first novel, Air Kisses.
Told from the perspective of Hannah (love when characters have the same name as me), a newly hired beauty editor who has no idea about makeup, Air Kisses is an inside look at the magazine world and all of the drama that comes with it. When Hannah discovers her boyfriend of five years is cheating on her, she throws herself into work – not only will she master liquid eyeliner and look fabulous all the time, but she’ll also manage to turn a career into it.
Of course, being a delicious light and fluffy chick lit, Air Kisses has not one, not two, but THREE suitably cute boys for Hannah to begin flings with. After all, what man can resist perfectly applied lipgloss?
The premise of Air Kisses unfortunately had all the makings of a terrible chick lit novel, and while I would love to tell you that Zoe Foster managed to rise above them all, sadly that was not the case. The biggest issue I had with this novel was that it utterly lacked any substance at all. While I realise that seems a tad unfair considering we are dealing with a chick lit about a girl who works as a beauty editor, please hear me out. What was missing in Air Kisses was any conflict. While Hannah definitely had issues in her life – terrible ex-boyfriend, terrifying new job, inability to apply winged eyeliner etc etc – they all either went away or were resolved rather simply. For example, considering the premise of the novel is that Hannah is useless at applying makeup, it becomes a non-issue in the novel from about page five. And while there is a bit of bitchy bitchy amongst her colleagues, that too doesn’t really become a major issue, but rather the type of thing you’d mention to a friend over lunch. And lastly, while there are multiple romances in this novel, none of them were gratifying enough or, for that matter, realistic enough. While each fit into their stereotype a little too easily, each of the males were competing for page space, so to speak, and since they weren’t getting enough (it’s hard to fit three male leads into a 300-page novel), all three ended up a bit two-dimensional.
The other big issue I had with this novel was that there lacked any sense of sister solidarity. By ‘sister solidarity’ I mean the type of friendship that we all aspire to have, and which, let’s be honest, is why so many of us go back time and again to watch re-runs of Sex and the City (because to be frank, Mr Big is a bit blah). While Hannah does have a best friend, Izzy, and she makes girlfriends in her new job, all of them seemed, well, a bit shit. It just blew my mind that her best friend of many, many years would tell her that she should go on another date with her sleazy, cheating, useless ex-boyfriend because ‘what if he is The One’. Now, I know everyone’s friendships are different, but the friends I have would make sure that I didn’t go ten feet near a guy who treated me that badly…unless it was to egg his car. Fictional it may be, but I can’t condone a friendship that encourages woman to continue to be used and not viewed for her worth (I am woman, hear me roar etc).
I don’t want to be too harsh on Zoe Foster, because I really love her later novels (she even read one of my reviews!), but unfortunately Air Kisses fell a bit short. Thankfully, I think that Zoe has really grown as a writer since this one was written, and so I’d recommend trying some of those before picking up this one!
Have you read Air Kisses or anything by Zoe Foster? Are you a fan of chick lit? Let me know!