the alfmeister

a figment of reality's imagination

Book Review; Spa Wars by Chris Manby


images-56At times when people read (sorry, does anyone actually bother to read my reviews?) I wonder if they think that I am in fact a woman, gay, or even worse, a metro-sexual seeing as I tend to read a lot of ‘chick flick’ style books and have raved about the likes of Marian Keyes and similar contemporaries. Well this book will add to that suspicion…

I actually picked this book out for the wife in my last visit to the library as a ‘back up’ to her 800=pager she took on our family holiday, but as I had finished my three books (previous reviews) within a few days I picked this one up and devoured it within a day. That is in part to the rain that hit our beach-side holiday thus putting off any attempts to head out for more crayfish (we had eaten close to a dozen over the previous days) but also as I found the book bloody good…but to define what was good about it isn’t easy…

The story follows the lives of two different women; Emily is a down-to-earth girl-next-door type girl who lives out her childhood dream of opening her own beauty salon. Carina Lees is the glamorous runner-up to a ‘Big Brother’-esque reality show and becomes the darling of the public in part to her stunning looks and (completely false, of course) relationship with the mental head-case who wins the same show. Their lives collide when Carina breaks a nail on the way to an awards night and they happen upon Emily’s nondescript place in the late evening when Emily opens up for her, being the nice girl she is.

What transpires is a close friendship between the two which benefits Emily by suddenly making her salon a must-go place due to Carina’s celebrity endorsement…but then it all starts to go wrong.

images-57

Manby; came as a shock, not your usual ‘ugo’ who writes about beauty…call me, Chris?

You get a suspicion of what is happening as you read but the story-telling is so light, whimsical, and at times roaringly funny that you don’t actually suss things out entirely until the end…Manby has done well in telling this story and introducing ‘every day’ characters into the plot; the love-struck ‘gay’ banker, the quirky Welsh girl with a passion for singing the Anthem, rival salon owners, and even Lee’s long-suffering, yet intrinsically cunning agent.

The underlying moral? What goes around, comes around…

Well worth a sit down on the couch on a crappy day, or in the evening with a wine and nibbles…and with that last line I did not do my rugby-playing, hunting, macho-image no good, did I?

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