Title: The Accidental Bestseller
Author: Wendy Wax
Published: June 2, 2009
Page Count: 432
Genre: Women’s Fiction
My Rating: 3/5
Once upon a time four aspiring authors met at their very first writers’ conference. Ten years later they’re still friends, survivors of the ultra-competitive New York publishing world. Mallory St. James is a workaholic whose bestsellers support a lavish lifestyle. Tanya Mason is a single mother juggling two jobs, two kids, and too many deadlines. Faye Truett is the wife of a famous televangelist and the author of inspirational romances: no one would ever guess her explosive secret. Kendall Aims’s once-promising career is on the skids—and so is her marriage. Her sales are dismal, her new editor detests her work—and her husband is cheating. Barely able to think, let alone meet her final deadline, Kendall holes up in a mountain cabin to confront a blank page and a blanker future. But her friends won’t let her face this trial alone. Together they collaborate on a novel using their own lives as fodder, assuming no one will ever discover the truth behind their words.
No one is more surprised than they are when the book becomes a runaway bestseller. But with success comes scrutiny and scandal…as these four best friends suddenly realize how little they’ve truly known each other.
When I first started reading The Accidental Bestseller, I was concerned that I wasn’t going to enjoy the read, and I was actually contemplating abandoning it for a few pages. It just didn’t catch me right away. But since I had promised to review the book I told myself I would give it 100 pages before putting it down. I’m so glad I made that choice because about fifty pages in, I was hooked and wouldn’t have abandoned it for anything! I do have to be honest, though, because while I enjoyed the book there were definitely aspects of it I wasn’t thrilled about, so I’m going to attempt to make this review as balanced as possible.
First, the characters. I loved reading about the relationships between these four women – I’m a sucker for stories about friendships, I really am. I loved how in The Accidental Bestseller, even though all four women were dealing with a lot in their personal lives, as soon as Kendall needs them they all come together to support her and help her. At the same time, it made me so sad to see that they were keeping these HUGE secrets from one another. Not little secrets – massive, life-changing ones. It was hard for me to believe that friends who cared about one another as much as these four did would keep this kind of stuff from each other. Oh well. Another thing that I have to mention about the characters is that I found all four of them to be a bit cliche. I hate to say this, but it’s what I kept thinking as I was reading and I just can’t keep it to myself. None of the four of them surprised me. Even when I found out their secrets I still felt pretty “meh” about them – even the secrets, to me, were pretty predictable. The character I most enjoyed, in fact, was a secondary character, Lacy. Lacy was the assistant to Kendall’s editor, and she was the one who really fought to get the book published. Lacy seemed authentic to me – gutsy, fought to get this book (which she knew would be a bestseller) more publicity, yet she was still so vulnerable to her editor’s horrid ways and to her crush’s attention to her. She, out of everyone in the book, seemed the most realistic to me.
I also found it fun to read about the publishing industry and how cutthroat it can be. I don’t know how realistic some of what happened in this book is, but it was fascinating to read how some books become bestsellers and others get no publicity and languish on the shelves unpurchased for a long time. Turns out, at least according to The Accidental Bestseller, that it has next to nothing to do with how good the books actually are. I also enjoyed how the plot in the book unfolded pretty slowly (it’s a longish book). Wendy Wax really gave the reader a nice opportunity to get to know the characters before getting going with the major plot twists. While there were a lot of scenes I loved, the scene at the talk show (those who have read this will definitely know what I’m talking about) near the end was by far my favorite part of the book. I was cracking up while reading this scene – it was absolutely hysterical! And so sweet, too, the way the four of them were protecting each other.
I enjoyed The Accidental Bestseller and would recommend it for women’s fiction fans like myself. It wasn’t my favorite book ever, but I did get lost in the story and the interesting tidbits about the publishing industry were definitely an added bonus!
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