Shizzle Inc. (Isabella Maxwell Escapades #1)
(Humor / Satire)
By Ana Spoke
Isabella’s life long dream has been to get discovered, you know, be famous. Unfortunately, after her boyfriend breaks up with her and she has little left in prospects or skills, she decides to try out for a new job at the local billionaire’s company, Shizzle Inc. Obviously, her life changes after that.
There are many interesting things about this book, but I’d have to say it is the writer’s style that is the most grabbing. One of the hardest things to do is capture a voice—especially a first person voice—and keep it consistent without making it too catchy. Isabella is the perfect mix of this, which is even more difficult as the story is clearly a satirical take on everything American, if not the look-at-me mindset of the world at large. Here’s an example:
“What’s with the vest?” [Isabella]
“Cool, huh? Got it from my dad.” Harden got a lot of things from his dad, including his fat genes. The two of them haven’t been able to hug properly since Harden was a little kid.
The whole story is filled with pleasant little bits like that. Isabella’s sarcastic, sometimes biting take on the world is very unique and interesting. Again, it is one of the most enjoyable parts of the book and what made it an easy read.
The book is ramped up with characters, but the author knows how to balance it well and make each character seem fully realized. Isabella is ditzy beyond belief—to the point where you may even be yelling at her horror movie style from your seat at home, hoping that she gets a hint. But, again, it’s never detracting.
Her boss, Mr. Hue—an amalgam of Richard Branson and Christian Grey, among others—is played off perfectly, going so far as to even tease the inherited wealth ideology of certain less than desirable American entrepreneurs.
My most beloved character would have to be her father—a man who is bitter about the world and constantly recounts his key life events over and over, believing firmly that knowing history will stop it from happening again.
All in all, this band of self-indulgent misfits are wonderfully fresh and even makes me somewhat recall O’Toole’s ‘Confederacy of Dunces’ with all their ridiculous antics.
If this book had any flaws, here’s where it lies, and it may not seem so at first. I went into the book hoping for good things. I’ve read the author’s blog many times. She is a workhorse. I’ve never seen any other self-published author work so hard. She has things down to a science and is worlds apart from her protagonist.
However, immediately upon reading, it was hard not to draw connections from the book’s plot to Legally Blonde—not only because the lead is a blonde but also because the impetus for the whole story is her gigantic loss of her boyfriend—and Shades of Grey with the introduction of a slightly indulgent, sadistic boss. Though it must be noted, this book never veers off into questionable sexual behavior.
After the first chapter, this book really launches into its own. Isabella’s half-baked ideas and horrible personality send her all over the place, succeeding where she shouldn’t until finally she ends up with what she has always wanted, which she loses just as quickly as well. The ride is fun, for the most part, but I’d have to say by the end, the non-stop jostling and questioning as to how everything fits together gets wearisome, and I’m left with a less than high feeling by the final page. The author is clearly setting it up for the next installment when she could have just ended it nicely in success or disaster and have everything start over again in the next book. As is, I felt like someone stopped off mid-story. And that’s were my lower rating comes from.
In the end, it was a fun read with amazingly distinct characters. On top of this, it is a biting portrayal of American life and culture, even though at points I could see that it was written by an outsider as certain key elements were off, if not presented with another country’s indigenous facts that an American would never possess or at least the American that Isabella appears to be. I hope whatever comes of the next book, the story is ramped up and ends in a tighter fashion. As for this one, I would’ve been happier with a bit more finality than I was given.
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