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Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Penny Smith - Coming Up Next

 review by Ro bennett on recorded bookshow 6th June

This book is described as a darkly comic novel about the fall and rise of a TV presenter. Written by an insider, it’s a page-turning account of life on the sofa and in front of the cameras.

When Katie Fisher, morning TV presenter, returns from holiday it's to discover that she's literally yesterday's news. Publicly sacked from her job as anchor of Hello Britain! and replaced by a pert young thing, she does what any self-respecting thirty something would in these circumstances – she makes a dash for her parents and hits the bottle.

But Katie, sooner or later, has to face the world, the photographers, and the backstage intrigue of morning television: the cut-throat, lecherous producers, the ambitious but vacant Keera, and Mike, her co-host, a trustworthy friend or just another one of the many back-stabbers? Humour is Katie's only weapon and, as things hit rock-bottom, it could provide a perfect solution to life after the sofa. Knowing, insightful and darkly comic, Penny Smith's novel is the insider's view of TV.

It’s a very light and fluffy novel, a great beach read. It’s filled with jokey bits and you can hear Penny Smith talking. I like Penny, I enjoyed watching her on TV and appreciate her sense of humour, but sometimes in the book it’s a tad contrived.  

In an actual interview she said: I don’t think there’s ever a time that you don’t worry about being replaced by a 12 year-old. It goes with the job. I’ve spent all my life expecting to be sacked tomorrow. I don’t know why. I’ve just heard the director wants to speak to me and I always think the worst. You’d think by the age of 143 you’d be over that.”   

This is basically what the book is about. It’s pretty obvious she’s taking a pop about being axed from GMTV. She seems to be getting  it out of her system, so maybe writing it was therepeutic for her.  Also some of the characters have recognisable traits. For instance: 

He's a puffed-up co-presenter on an ego trip - but Penny Smith  says the character in her novel is NOT based on Eamonn Holmes. 

The story is somewhat predictable and one reviewer wrote: the ending was so hurried it would appear that the author got as fed up with the non-plot as I did. Another wrote: I got this free for my Kindle. I had thought about buying it when it first came out and I'm glad I didn't.

It’s not great literature but I enjoyed it as a quick and easy entertaining read.

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