The Knockoff: A Novel by Lucy Sykes & Jo Piazza
Behind the scenes at a top-rated fashion magazine with all of the intrigue, backstabbing and jostling for power is the premise of rhis book from by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza. A curious mix of the feel of both All About Eve and The Devil Wears Prada, this often over the top satirical expose of a fictional setting was an engaging read.
Imogen is the Editor in Chief of Glossy, the leading fashion magazine in the US. A bit of a technology ignorer, her unfamiliarity with the digital explosion and the magazine’s non-appearance in social media circles with twitter, apps, etc is a rarity, and marks her as a dinosaur. At only 42, Imogen’s utter ignorance of things tech, combined with the fact she is a parent of a pre-teen made this part of her backstory feel far too over the top and exaggerated. But, this story carries the feel of a satirical send-up set to tell a story of the generation gap and learning to move forward from positions that are perhaps too comfortable, so it does set Imogen up for a tremendous learning curve.
Soon, the story picked up as the very real differences in style, approach and attitude toward work between Millenials and the GenXers started to appear. With a belief that the new younger hires and interns at the magazine viewed her as little more than a dinosaur, it was pleasant to see the true respect that many had, and the lengths to which they would work to help her navigate her own learning and questions about tech. Well, most were welcoming and helpful, if you don’t count Eve among them.
Once Imogen’s beloved and trusted assistant, Eve went away to Harvard B School, and while she may have learned business management and skills, the most striking element that she incorporated into her personality was the B. And she was a horrid person, evil in heels and the latest fashion, and she wants Imogen’s job.
This was a battle of styles and knowledge, where the limits of what you will do to get ahead always at the forefront. And, I have to say that Imogen could have come out the loser: her personality is loyal and kind, with a spine of steel and both the willingness and ability to give people second and third chances until they prove themselves unfit. She was strong enough to ask for help where she needed it, and willing to keep moving forward to drag herself and Glossy into the digital age. On the other side of the battle is Eve: a ‘my way at all costs’ sort of person who used intimidation and bullying with a strong dose of dirty bitch to get people to tow her line: she doesn’t care about the people around her and only sees her own agenda. There wasn’t a great development of her character or person, she was a villain and clearly comfortable as simply that.
There is an old quote from Santayana “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” and in this good versus evil battle over the stewardship of a fashion magazine, the history and the goodwill, experience and history of Glossy all skew to Imogen’s favor, and the ride to the finish is a fun one.
Title: The Knockoff: A Novel
Author: Jo Piazza, Lucy Sykes
Genre: Literary Fiction
Published by: Doubleday
Published on: 19 May, 2015
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 12 Hours: 20 minutes
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About the Book:
An outrageously stylish, wickedly funny novel of fashion in the digital age, The Knockoff is the story of Imogen Tate, editor in chief of Glossy magazine, who finds her twentysomething former assistant Eve Morton plotting to knock Imogen off her pedestal, take over her job, and reduce the magazine, famous for its lavish 768-page September issue, into an app.
When Imogen returns to work at Glossy after six months away, she can barely recognize her own magazine. Eve, fresh out of Harvard Business School, has fired “the gray hairs,” put the managing editor in a supply closet, stopped using the landlines, and hired a bevy of manicured and questionably attired underlings who text and tweet their way through meetings. Imogen, darling of the fashion world, may have Alexander Wang and Diane von Furstenberg on speed dial, but she can’t tell Facebook from Foursquare and once got her iPhone stuck in Japanese for two days. Under Eve’s reign, Glossy is rapidly becoming a digital sweatshop—hackathons rage all night, girls who sleep get fired, and “fun” means mandatory, company-wide coordinated dances to Beyoncé. Wildly out of her depth, Imogen faces a choice—pack up her Smythson notebooks and quit, or channel her inner geek and take on Eve to save both the magazine and her career. A glittering, uproarious, sharply drawn story filled with thinly veiled fashion personalities, The Knockoff is an insider’s look at the ever-changing world of fashion and a fabulous romp for our Internet-addicted age.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.