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Title: Smile and Look Pretty
Author: Amanda Pellegrino
Publisher: Park Row
Publication Date: March 8, 2022
Page Count: 349
My rating: 3 1/2 stars
About the book:
What happens when four assistants risk everything to say enough is enough?
Best friends Cate, Lauren, Olivia and Max are overworked and underpaid assistants to some of the most powerful people in the entertainment industries. Like the assistants who came before them, the women know they have to pay their dues and abide the demeaning tasks and verbal abuse from their bosses in order to climb the ladders to their dream jobs.
But as they are passed over for promotions and the toxic office environments reach a breaking point, the women secretly start an anonymous blog detailing their experiences, which snowballs into hundreds of others coming forward with stories of their own. Confronted with newfound viral fame and the possibility of their identities being revealed, the assistants have to contend with the life-changing consequences of speaking out against those who refuse to share the power.
Smile and Look Pretty by Amanda Pellegrino is a fictional contemporary story that dives into the #metoo movement. This one is described as a version of 9-5 for this generation and that description does fit. The story in Smile and Look Pretty is one that is told by changing the point of view between the various characters to give all sides.
Cate, Lauren, Olivia and Max are all good friends that have one thing in common, they all have complaints about their various assistant jobs. Meeting once a week to air all their grievances feels like it’s just not enough anymore so they begin a website to anonymously post all the dirty laundry and allow others to post their stories as well. Before they know it the site takes on a life of it’s own.
Honesty I went into Smile and Look Pretty by Amanda Pellegrino thinking that it was a thriller novel and some do have it tagged as just that so I was a little let down in that regard. The story in this one is one that has been being told in the media in the last few years with these particular women being a fictional take on that movement and it was interesting to read but I was left wanting a bit more probably due to my early expectations. Overall I rated this one at three and a half stars and felt it was solidly written so perhaps I would try the author again after reading this debut novel.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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About the author:
Amanda Pellegrino is a TV screenwriter and novelist living in New York City whose writing has appeared in Refinery29 and Bustle. Smile and Look Pretty is her debut novel.