The Basics: A Model Summer, Paulina Porizkova, 2007, 324 pages, hardcover
How I found it: As regular readers of this blog may know, one of my guilty pleasures is the crap-tastic America's Next Top Model. This season 80s supermodel Paulina Porizkova is a judge. She has recently written a novel about being a teenage model in the 80s, and it sounded intriguing.
What's it about?: This novel is about 15 year old Jirina, a Swede of Czech origin (like Paulina) who travels to Paris for the summer following the lure of a modeling career. She has to grow up fast and overcome her naivete as she is faced with issues she has never dealt with before, including abortion, drugs, and sex. Of course, she also deals with the everyday aspects of modeling, such as go-sees (auditions/castings), photo shoots, and squabbles with other models.
Did I like it?: Like Top Model, this book is a guilty pleasure. The writing isn't spectacular, but it is capable. From what I know of the modeling industry, Jirina's experience is fairly typical. The plot was fairly predictable, but for me, that didn't make it any less enjoyable.
Will you like it?: I would recommend this book as a beach book or vacation book, or some other light reading. However, I don't know if I would advise spending money on it - borrow it from the library then try not to drop it in the pool.
But don't take my word for it: The usual publishers blurbs from Amazon, a review from the blog Memphis Reads, one from the New York Times, and another from the blog Impatient Reader.