Books · Contemporary

Falling Out of Fashion by Karen Yampolsky

I started this book expecting nothing but a light read. I thought there’d be all that girl in a glamorous job thing going on, with romance, you know. All the chick lit works. But I got a good story instead. Jill White, the protagonist, is really interesting and sympathetic as a character, and this story follows her life from a horrible prep school experience, to an exciting college one, to her transition from a starter job to being an editor of what seems like an awesome magazine. And then there’s the downfall. Her magazine, Jill, is owned by a new company that tries to make it more mainstream. The whole time I was reading this I thought, this story is so familiar. And it’s not because Ellen and Liz remind me of my manager(s). It reminded me of Sassy. You see, Sassy was this cool magazine for teenage girls back in the nineties. I remember that the articles in it were actually interesting and useful, and that it never included stuff like dieting tips. It didn’t have anorexic looking girls as its models, either. It was like a mass produced ‘zine, rather than a magazine. When Sassy folded, the editor Jane Pratt went on to found Jane, which Sassy readers looked forward to. I remember this well because I was really into the Witchbaby subculture back then, and everyone in the mailinglist seemed excited about Jane. But it turned out to be something completely different, something more like Seventeen or Cosmo than like Sassy.


Anyway, I kept being reminded of Sassy and Jane while reading about Cheeky and Jill, and even wondered, did this writer actually have Sassy in mind while writing this? So I turned to the author page to see if she’s someone who would be into Sassy, and guess what? She used to be Jane Pratt’s right-hand woman! Huh. That explains a lot. The people in this story (the ones working for Jill, anyway) are exactly the kind of people I’d like to meet more often in real life, and the villains seem exactly like my current real-life villains, which makes this story very easy to get into. By the end of the story I was going like this: “Nooooo! Give me more Jill White!!!”

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