Page turners: 'Because She Can'

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Shelve this one next to "The Devil Wears Prada." In the latest example of "assistant lit," Bridie Clark follows Lauren Weisberger's lead ("The Devil Wears Prada") and takes on another villainous boss character. But it works a little better for Clark. After all, the woman she satirizes – her former real-life boss and fallen publisher Judith Regan (of aborted O.J. book fame) – cultivated an ignominious reputation that left little room for the admiration commanded by Weisberger's onetime employer, legendary Vogue editor Anna Wintour. "Because She Can" traffics a little too earnestly in the clichés that mark in-the-know New Yorkers of a certain social set. (Ivy League degrees abound, and investment banking is a typical job.) The plot follows the predictable "chick lit" trajectory to a fairy tale ending. But along the way, Clark's protagonist, young book editor Claire Truman, comes off as genuinely sympathetic. And there are some fresh and incredibly funny lines (Clark writes that Claire's boyfriend and his family "treat WASPiness like an extreme sport").

For a waft of beach reading to warm that winter chill, you can't go wrong with this breezy debut novel. Grade: B+

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