Right, so I finished Modelland, and what can I say? I cringed? Yes, I did. I did also enjoy reading it though, and after all, is that not the purpose of a book?
It is not literature, but it is enjoyable nonetheless. While you can tell an editor has edited it fairly heavily, there are still points where you think, that really doesn’t make sense. Like why Ci-L is so angry at herself. It just isn’t clear. None of the major plot points are well explained, I was left wondering at times what had actually happened. I struggled to differentiate between the characters – there was very little character development. Even the main character who shows the most growth was a bit bland. Although this probably serves the purpose of allowing readers to project themselves onto the main protagonist. Basically, it does the job and no more.
I have, however, established that Tyra Banks hates actresses. “Second string Bellas (Bella being Tyra’s word for models, apparently) will opt for the silver screen. Miming in the multiplex, so trite, so uncouth.” This hatred for actresses is very much a running theme.
She also tries to input some model in training advice. For example:
“The first thing you must know about cosmetics, feeble minded females, is to forget everything Mommy and Daddy ever told you about sharing. Unless, of course, you want your face to fall off, just like it has now – shared utensils give you creepy conjunctivitis, gory gangrene, bubonic boils, atrocious abscesses, styes, and staphylococcus! So, from this moment on, you have my personal permission to be stingy, selfish wenches when it comes to your maquillage.”
Also, a warning about knock off designer goods:
“You may think you are sporting the latest fashions and fooling your pitifully clueless circus of friends, but you are merely concocting a deceitful world of pseudo luxury and corrupt make-believe, while the hardworking artisans who dedicate their lives to producing authentic wares are robbed blindly. And who produces these fake wares? Poor starving children who roam homeless in public squalor and live poverty-stricken in rodent-infested shanties.”
Thanks Tyra, I couldn’t have worked any of these things out for myself.
She seems to spend a lot of the novel trying to justify modelling by trying to make it seem really really hard. She also has classes with special names, directly ripped off from pop culture, the worst offender being WOW – War of Words. Didn’t think models really needed to speak? Just saying.
Also, I think my favourite quote may have been:
“Why is it the bitter bitches have the worst halitosis?”
May have to use that at some point.
I am being awfully mean. Like I said, I did enjoy it, despite how terrible it was. I do love a trashy novel. She does try to impart some really good life lessons – mostly to the teenagers who this book is aimed at (not sad 26 year old women). Such as:
“Listen to me. You’re different. Way different. You know that. You’re gonna experience lots of cuts and slices here but you’d better suck it up – the girl who is sucking your blood is hurting way more than you. Never stoop to her level.”
“Their imperfections are what make them shine with the most scintillating, effervescent inner glow you have ever seen.”
Basically, it is a book about one girl discovering herself and growing and it is probably quite a good life lesson for many insecure teenage girls. Also the obligatory love life story line does encourage girls to look for the right things in a relationship – not just trying to please their partner.
Unfortunately it does imply anyone can be a model if they believe in themselves. Also where it pretty much explicitly states where men are female play things (in direct contradiction of later plot line developments as described above):
“And anyway, girls, males are accessories at Modelland. Don’t ever forget: we’re the stars, not the boys. Yeah, they do some modelling stuff, but basically we have them here to work for us: build our buildings, provide security and eye candy…that sort of thing.”
You know Tyra, I really get that you are trying to encourage girls not to play second string to men, which is completely fair, but maybe we should all just treat each other as equals? Just a thought.
I also had an awesome quote from Tookie (the main character) about what she wanted her first kiss to be like (clue: it was ridiculous) but apparently I forgot I was reading it on my Kindle and didn’t have my notebook to write it down and as a result didn’t highlight it, and while there aren’t a lot of pages, I really can’t be bothered trying to find it.
I guess the only other thing I have to mention are the ridiculous country names (Kremlingrad (Russia), Canne Del Abra (somewhere they make candles apparently, read it out loud) NorDenSwe (I know, I know)), the various made up words, Intoxibella, Smizes (I know she uses this in real life, it really doesn’t make it any less sad), oh and the fact Nurses are called Purses. Her attempts at humour. These appear mostly to consist of Tookie’s beautiful older sister being stupid, because obviously you can’t be smart and beautiful. That would just be ridiculous. The two gems I made note of were “I’m on my periodical just now! It makes me forgetful!” Oh lol, Tyra, lol. The second one being “Are you making in with yourself?”. You are so right Tyra, you can’t have brains and beauty, I love that you parodied that in such a wonderful, witty and orginal way. OK, I know I am being catty and bitchy. Maybe I am just jealous that Tyra Banks can get a book published and I can’t.
Like I said it is enjoyable and if you love a trashy novel it is well worth a read. It is ridiculous and over the top, but very colourful and engrossing in its own way. The saddest part? I am looking forward to reading the next one that comes out. Well played Tyra, well played.