A hilarious, romantic comedy novel about a woman doing everything she can to succeed in the crazy world of advertising.
‘I am a ginger tom. I am a boy racer. I am a housewife. I am a pain in the arse.’
Ella is a copywriter at CBA, one of the biggest advertising companies in Soho. She works hard and is good at her job. But working at CBA is not all it’s cracked up to be. Ella is constantly taken for granted, and treated as inferior by her sleazy boss Peter Richards. She is given the option of sleeping with him or losing her job. She cannot fathom sleeping with him, but she has a mortgage to pay, as well as her mum’s rent. Coupling this with the long working hours, Ella has very little chance of a social or romantic life. Can Ella find love and eventually rise to the top?
I really enjoyed this book. As I’m in the middle of classes and slogging through long winded Victorian novels and theory essays, this book was exactly what I needed. It was fun, fast paced and kept me wanting more the whole way through it. Something that really struck me about this book was the characters. They were fantastically written and I really fell in love with Ella.
Where to start? Ella is witty, funny and she seems like such a genuine person. We follow her through life’s ups and downs, she tells us about the hardships she faced as a child, as well as her career in advertising, and her attempts at relationships. She’s such a likeable character and I was constantly rooting for her, I wanted her to succeed, to get all that she hoped and dreamed. The thing I really liked about Ella is that she isn’t perfect, she makes mistakes, says the wrong thing and worries about her body image, to me that made it seem so much more like a real person. Too often books have this all perfect protagonist that instantly knows how to rectify the situation, but Ella doesn’t. She goes home, she frets and panics, just like a normal human being.
Then there was Peter Richards. Peter is fantastically written, and the whole way through the book I was rooting for him to get his comeuppance. Ella is treated horrifically by him – as a woman working in the 80s this isn’t a surprise, but her ideas are stolen, he repeatedly tells her things like “go home and do some hoovering” and basically treats her like she isn’t worth a penny. Not only Richards, but there are other men in the company who treat her this way. Ella being the kick-ass, sarcastic character she is, often stands up for herself, and hilarity often ensues.
There are so many other characters that I loved that I won’t go into too much detail about, I would hate to spoil such a fantastic story, but Wally, the sweet caretaker/night watchman who chats with Ella over biscuits and goes home to feed the ducks with his wife. And Adam the friend who is always there with chocolate cake.
The other thing I have to say about this book is that it is genuinely really funny. There were plenty of moments where I was on the train and I found myself laughing out loud, people might have thought I was crazy, but I think it’s a mark of a genuinely great book. Ella is a woman trying to stay afloat in a man’s world, she is everything you want in a heroine, and this sweet, fast-paced story will have you rooting for her like no character before.