Thursday, February 9, 2012

Spin by Catherine McKenzie Review

SpinSpin by Catherine McKenzie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads: Katie Sandford has just gotten an interview at her favourite music magazine, The Line. It's the chance of a lifetime. So what does she do? Goes out to celebrate - and shows up still drunk at the interview. No surprise, she doesn't get the job, but the folks at The Line think she might be perfect for another assignment for their sister gossip rag. All Katie has to do is follow It Girl Amber Sheppard into rehab. If she can get the inside scoop (and complete the 30-day program without getting kicked out), they'll reconsider her for the job at The Line. 

Katie takes the job. But things get complicated when real friendships develop, a cute celebrity handler named Henry gets involved, and Katie begins to realize she may be in rehab for a reason. Katie has to make a decision -- is publishing the article worth everything she has to lose?

My take: I didn't really expect to like this book. Too many books about wannabe writers who want to show off their Hollywood connections and lifestyles of the rich and famous behaving badly have turned my stomach. The authors are often self absorbed. Now I can honestly say this book kept me reading far past the hour that a woman with four children and a professional job should be reading because I was so intrigued and really cared about the protagonist. She was funny, snarky, and not very self aware but you just could not help yourself. I loved her "voice" and her ability to write a new and compelling story that made me crave a martini or a shot of whiskey. Just to clarify my drinking history - I have none. No, truly. Never even sipped champagne. That's how convincing the protagonist is. But I digress.

Katie does not have a drinking problem. She is not an alcoholic. She simply drinks too much and tends to be irresponsible. At least that's her story and she's sticking to it. Due to her presentation at a job interview, she is the lucky winner to enter a pricey rehab for celebs and rich and famous. Think Cirque Lodge via Robert Redford's influence. It's Utah's best kept secret where stars go to detox. Okay, whatever. We all about it.

So Katie's assignmement is to go to rehab and play the therapy game so she can report on the IT girl who is in the same rehab. But Katie does not have an addiction problem. Of course the reader knows Katie might have a little problem. The story is told first person in Katie's head. She justifies herself, talks to herself and is all too relateable and funny. There is nothing forced about the story as Katie starts out pretending to go through the twelve step program with a lot of deflection and lack of responsibility. She makes friends with a couple of the women in rehab including Amber but it is almost incidental. The meat of the story is the every day in rehab and her slow acceptance that she might choose to stay sober and she decides she has issues.

Somehow a little romance is introduced and new patients show up that shake up the chemistry. I don't think it is a spoiler to mention that she becomes friends with a couple of vacationers, including Amber which causes a moral dilemma for writing the story since she suddenly finds she has a conscience sans alcohol. This is about the time that I become convinced my choice to never partake are still sound. I simply loved Katie. In fact character development for all of Katie's best friends are well done. I just really liked them.

Be aware that swearing is heavy. Sex is implied but mostly in past tense. Drug and alcohol use and abuse is heavy with the caveat of the sweet friendships that develop in rehab, a more clear understanding of addiction, and real struggles to survive and successfully complete a rehab program.

Definitely worth the read but does not pass my Mom-o-Meter. You will laugh. You might cry. You will enjoy.

1 comment:

heathertlc said...

I have a love/hate relationship with books like this. I love them because they are SO GOOD, and I hate them because they keep me up SO LATE at night!

Thanks for being a part of this tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.