Tales From The Back Row by Amy Odell
Pages: 240 Pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, September 2015
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Overall Rating: 4/5
*Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book for review!*
Funny and fearless, Tales from the Back Row is a keenly observed collection of personal essays about what it’s really like to be a young woman working in the fashion industry.
In Tales from the Back Row, Cosmopolitan.com editor Amy Odell takes readers behind the stage of New York’s hottest fashion shows to meet the world’s most influential models, designers, celebrities, editors, and photographers.
But first, she has to push her way through the crowds outside, where we see the lengths people go to be noticed by the lurking paparazzi, and weave her way through the packed venue, from the very back row to the front. And as Amy climbs the ladder (with tips about how you can, too), she introduces an industry powered by larger-than-life characters: she meets the intimidating Anna Wintour and the surprisingly gracious Rachel Zoe, not to mention the hilarious Chelsea Handler, and more.
As she describes the allure of Alexander Wang’s ripped tights and Marchesa’s Oscar-worthy dresses, Amy artfully layers in something else: ultimately this book is about how the fashion industry is an exaggerated mirror of human fallibility—reflecting our desperate desire to belong, to make a mark, to be included. For Amy is the first to admit that as much as she is embarrassed by the thrill she gets when she receives an invitation to an exclusive after-party, she can’t help but RSVP “yes.”
I love how Amy Odell’s voice shone through this book. When reading non-fiction, I find that it’s very easy for the readers to be disengage if the narrator’s personality cannot be portrayed through the writing. Although I am not familiar with Odell, I quickly found myself really enjoying her narrative style. It was hilarious and quirky. I loved how she voiced through the “behind-the-scene” of the fashion world and her struggle to make it. Although I am not one who is involved in this world, I always love to watch shows like Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model, so I found that the subject of the matter was really interesting. I really liked how each chapter served as its own short story, this made it more interesting than if Odell was to write one “continuous” story.
I realized that if you are at all interested in the fashion world, this book will probably be enjoyable for you. If not, however, it probably won’t engage you as well. I wish that Odell told more stories from her transition to working with Buzzfeed and getting her job at cosmopolitan.com. I just felt like that bit of her story was lacking.
Writing Style: 4/5
I don’t read a lot of non-fiction because I honestly find that a lot of non-fiction books are a little dull/lacking personality. However, I found that Tales From The Back Row was really humorous. I really loved Odell’s voice as she told her stories that gave us glimpses into working in the fashion world. I enjoyed the formatting of the book as well, it was easy to pick up and put down at my convenience because of the chapter I found that the excerpt about the Victoria Secret fashion show was especially funny. I think this book would be great in audiobook form as well.
Although this book is not for everyone, if you are at all interested in the fashion world, I would definitely suggest you picking up a copy when it comes out on September 1st for a quick, hilarious read.
Thank you for joining me today and I hope you enjoyed my review!