Retail Hell

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Retail Hell by Freeman Hall

“‘I think you left these behind,’ I said, handing them to her. This happens all the time when women try to return bags they’ve used. Tampons, lipstick, coins, Tic Tacs, and condoms are the top treasures found.

Greasy let out a sigh, as if I were the problem. ‘I was just trying my things in it. I really don’t see what the problem is here. It’s none of your business what I keep in my handbag.’

It is when my commission is at stake! I’m not your Designer Handbag Rental Service! My name is not!

Enter Freeman Hall, an aspiring screenwriter who sets out to realize his Hollywood dream, but instead plunges into the seventh circle of Retail Hell when the rent comes due, selling animal-hide Hobos and overpriced clutches to Lookie-Loos and Picky Bitches-but always with a sunshiny smile.

Freeman toils in the handbag (that’s handbag, NOT purse) department of the Big Fancy department store, where he sees, hears, smells (and unfortunately, feels) it all! Here, he provides a true-and truly shocking-account of life from the other side of the handbag display. From early-morning RA-RA RALLIES to the craziest crazy-lady customers, Freeman’s horrific and hilarious workday tales redefine Juicy Couture.

As Freeman begins to plots his escape, he realizes that despite the Big Fancy’s lax return policy, for him, there really may be no returns . . . no exchanges . . . no way out.”

Personally, I think anyone who has ever worked retail will love this book. Having been in retail for a lot of years now, I can completely sympathize with Hall. I even have many similar stories. Customers who use employees as their personal shopper for hours on end only to leave the store without making a purchase. Customers who want to return the pair of shoes they bought 3 years ago and wore until they fell apart. And of course, the customer who mistakes the fitting room for the bathroom. *sigh*

You may think that Hall’s stories are fabrications, figments of his own imagination. But I can assure you, these stories, while they may have been embellished here and there, are hilariously, and a little sadly, 100% true.

4 stars

Secret Lives of Great Artists

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Secret Lives of Great Artists by Elizabeth Lunday

“In the tradition of our best-selling Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents (120 000 copies in print) here are outrageous and uncensored profiles of the world’s greatest artists complete with hundreds of little-known politically incorrect and downright bizarre facts. Consider:

* Michelangelo had such repellant body odor that his assistants couldn’t stand working for him.
* Pablo Picasso did jail time for ripping off several statues from the Louvre.
* Gabriel Dante Rossetti’s favorite pet was a wombat that slept on his dining room table.
* Vincent van Gogh sometimes ate paint directly from the tube.
* Georgia O’Keeffe liked to paint in the nude.
* Salvador DalÌ concocted a perfume from dung to attract the attention of his future wife.

With outrageous anecdotes about everyone from Leonardo (accused sodomist) to Caravaggio (convicted murderer) to Edward Hopper (alleged wife beater) Secret Lives of Great Artists is an art history lesson you’ll never forget!”

I read Secret Lives of Great Authors a few years ago and loved it. Secret Lives of Great Artists did not disappoint. Reading it made me get online and look up all of the paintings and sculptures that the author was telling me about. I like the trivial details and the fact that it increased my interest in the subject matter. It was also a very fast read because I found it so interesting.

288 pages
Published October 15th 2008 by Quirk Books
ISBN13: 9781594742576

4 stars

New Moan: The Twishite Saga (A Parody)

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New Moan: The Twishite Saga (A Parody) by Stephfordy Mayo

“Heffa Lump is just a typical pale 17-year-old who doubts that anyone will ever see her true beauty and needs to grow up and get a life. Fortunately, the Spatula Academy of Fictional Excellence specializes in helping characters from kids’ books cross over into adult fiction. Unfortunately, she’s distracted from her attempts to leave adolescence behind when she meets Teddy Kelledy, an impossibly gorgeous boy who eats rare meat, is super-strong, and never goes out in daylight. Could he just maybe be a vampire? (Hint: totally.) Soon, Heffa finds herself harassed by supernatural forces on all sides: Will she be able to narrate herself out of danger? Will Teddy learn that being with a girl doesn’t always have to be about biting? And what will happen when the New Moan rises? A tale of first love, painful longing, and even more painful pointy teeth, New Moan is a hilarious parody of the phenomenon that is Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga.”

The book reminded me a teensy little bit of the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde. It wasn’t as good as I had hoped it would be but it was kind of funny. I preferred to read the book in small doses rather than reading long sections at one time because I got bored with it if I read it for too long. It made me laugh but not as much as I was hoping it would; and not as much as the reviews I had read indicated that it would. In the end, I ended up defending Twilight in my head while reading the book, even though I roll my eyes so much whenever I read Twilight that I end up with a migraine. It’s funny but not worth buying/owning in my opinion. It’s definitely in my to-be-donated box.

272 pages
Published June 24th 2010 by Michael O’Mara Books Ltd (first published 2009)
ISBN13: 9781843174844

2 stars