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Because She Can [Hardcover]

Bridie Clark
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Feb. 5 2007



In a New York minute, Claire Truman lands both a plum position at a top publishing house and the man she's wanted for ten years...then reality intervenes. Her new boss is Vivian Grant, a notoriously ruthless tyrant known for her tirades, traumatized assistants, and tabloid-inspired bestsellers. Soon Claire's job is stealing more and more of her time and her relationship with her fiancé begins to feel the strain. It doesn't help that she's working late nights with a brilliant-and handsome-first-time author. As Vivian's outrageous demands continue to escalate, Claire wonders if she likes where the fast track is taking her-and worries about what she might turn into...


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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The not–Anna Wintour character in this much-hyped my-boss-is-famously-unpleasant roman à clef is not–Judith Regan—or, to be positive, is Vivian Grant of Grant Books, "the most hotheaded, ruthless woman" in publishing. She physically and verbally abuses her staff, is having an affair with a married New York City official (who dresses in drag) and has made a "fortune by producing tabloid-inspired blockbusters." And though up-and-coming literary fiction editor Claire Truman has heard all the gossip, she takes a job as an editor at Grant Books and quickly discovers Vivian lives up to her reputation as a foul-mouthed, über-demanding, tantrum-throwing tyrant. Claire tries to maintain some semblance of a life (she's engaged to dreamboat Randall Cox, who went from big man on campus to big man at Goldman Sachs, even though she's really in love with Luke Mayville, a sensitive writer/unrecognized genius), but vicious Vivian keeps her within spitting (and swearing) distance 27 hours a day. Clark, who worked at Regan Books, nails the dark side of the vulgar, spiteful boss archetype, and though the plot is as shopworn as the characters, those in the Page Six and Lloyd Grove set will appreciate this devilish read. (Feb. 12)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Clark, who once worked for publishing mogul Judith Regan, makes her debut in a devilishly funny companion piece to Lauren Weisberger's Devil Wears Prada (2003), substituting the book business for the fashion industry. Claire Truman, who works for a top-tier New York publisher, is about to lose her beloved mentor to retirement. Then she runs into her old college crush, wealthy Randall Cox, who begins squiring her to all the trendiest restaurants in town and lands her a job interview with Vivian Grant, a highly successful publisher known for churning out best-sellers on porn, pulp, and politics. Things start promisingly, especially when Claire is given the go-ahead to sign up talented first novelist Luke Mayville, but Claire soon starts receiving midnight phone calls full of impossible demands from her imperious new boss. Faced with a soul-crushing workload and a marriage proposal from her too-good-to-be-true boyfriend, an overwhelmed Claire must suddenly make some life-altering decisions. This entertaining novel rises above its predictable plot and sometimes-flat characters on the strength of its humor--Vivian's vitriolic tantrums are laugh-out-loud funny. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
If you couldn't put down "The Devil Wears Prada," you'll thoroughly enjoy "Because She Can." Once again we meet a talented, hard working young girl in New York City, Claire Truman, who has the misfortune to land a job working for a wicked witch boss. Vivian Grant is the boss, and she's a shrew who can't be tamed, given to shouting diatribes, manipulation, and all manner of underling humiliation.

Author Bridie Clark was formerly an editor for ReganBooks so it's not a stretch of the imagination to realize from whence her inspiration came. Judith Regan, once in high cotton at Harper Collins, was fired after the O. J. Simpson book debacle (remember, she was going to publish a book by Simpson that contained an interview about his wife's murder). All of this is to say that Clark knows of what she writes and she pens it very, very well.

Our heroine finds herself perplexed by her feelings for Randall Cox, a terrific looking, successful guy and her attraction to Luke Mayville who has just finished his first novel. She loves the book and touts it to Vivian despite the harridan's motto "Smut sells."

What to do? Claire is involved with two attractive men. Which one is for her? That is, if there's anything left of her after suffering the slings of Vivian. She is getting three times her previous salary but is it worth it?

Voice performer Mary Birdsong has a flair for comedy (Deputy Kimball in Comedy Central's Reno 911! )and she brings this to her stunning reading of "Because She Can." She ably conveys Claire's innocence and struggles.

- Gail Cooke
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  40 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book Review: Because She Can by Bridie Clark Sept. 9 2007
By D. M. Papuga - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
What would you endure to have everything you've ever dreamed of? In her first novel, Because She Can, Bridie Clark tackles the classic "overcoming adversity and cruel boss" trope, only she does it with tasteful flair and laugh-out-loud humor. Claire Truman's job is in jeopardy, her latest love interest turned out to be as much of a loser as the rest, and her best friend wants to drag her to a high society function when she'd rather sit on her couch and indulge in the deliciously cliché week-long obligatory break-up mope. After playing the socialite at the opening of an art gallery, Claire's life changes almost over night: she starts dating the very eligible bachelor Randall Cox (her college crush and previously dubbed "Pabst Blue Ribbon" by the friends) who sweeps her into the upper crust, and she takes a job with the a big name publishing house as an editor for the infamous Vivian Grant, rumored to be the most dangerous woman in publishing. After warnings from her mentor, family, friends, and colleagues, Claire weighs the potential benefits of doing her time at Grant Books and decides that career advancement in the competitive world of publishing is worth whatever Grant can throw at her. In the mean time, Claire's romance with Randall Cox moves on fast forward toward happily ever after--or so everyone thinks.

Because She Can certainly sets itself apart among the recently repopularized "boss is evil" genre, but this novel is not about glorifying the cruelty of an employer so much as it is about the strength, intelligence, and internal resilience of a woman able to capitalize on any opportunity presented to her--no matter how overwhelming. Whatever you do, don't let "Villainous Boss Malaise" keep you from this novel; if you do, you'll miss the differences that make this novel stand out so successfully--in fact, you'll miss the entire point. The heroine, Claire Truman, is not a naive greenhorn suddenly thrust into the scary world of executive business with a boss who Torquemada would applaud--she's an smart professional who accepts a job with a rumored tyrant with open eyes, and knowingly prepares herself for exactly twelve months of exhaustion, late hours, and psychological abuse all with the knowledge that regardless of the questionable stability of her boss, her term with Grant Books will further her career in ways that a lateral move in the field never could. Vivian Grant and her eccentrically cruel behavior are catalysts for story progression, true, but Claire's careful navigation through her balancing act between advancing in a career and thriving relationship is what makes this story and these characters so addictive. Claire dives in and learns everything she possibly can--good and bad--from Vivian Grant and her colleagues at Grant Books, while other heroines in this genre spend the length of a novel overcoming self esteem issues in regards to their career, body image, and personal worth. Clark's heroine recognizes her own potential before she accepts the position and even squares off with her future boss over her initial contract offer (much higher than Grant actually expected to pay out). Because She Can isn't a how-to guide on how to weather abuse for the good of your career--it's a treatise on knowing when enough is enough, in both the career and social worlds, and acting on it.

Bridie Clark gives us a novel that is as much about deftly handling potentially explosive female working relationships as it is about translating those skills in a personal setting. Not only refreshing in its approach, Because She Can is genuinely funny and inspirational. Clark's Characters are memorable and carefully written to project their distinct personalities, and yet are so recognizable that it becomes difficult for readers not to see their own coworkers and friends in these roles. Each character--even odious Vivian Grant--is accessible. Because She Can manages to convey an uplifting message of self confidence and risk taking without bludgeoning the audience over the head--not an easy task in today's sound bite culture.
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars As unoriginal as you can get April 28 2008
By Melissa Niksic - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"Because She Can" is a fun, entertaining little book, but I can't give it a higher rating than two stars because author Bridie Clark basically stole the entire outline for her novel from "The Devil Wears Prada."

In this story, Claire Truman is an assistant editor in New York City looking to jump-start her career. When her new boyfriend, the oh-so-perfect Randall Cox, lands Claire a meeting with hot-shot publisher Vivian Grant, it seems like a dream come true. Before she can bat an eyelash, Claire has a new job and a huge salary at Vivian's publishing company. Unfortunately, it soon becomes very obvious that this new job isn't all it's cracked up to be. Vivian is much more then a terrible boss: She's a full-fledged psychopath, and she makes Miranda Priestly from "The Devil Wears Prada" look like an angel in comparison! Claire is determined to stick it through and remain with the company for at least a year (sound familiar, "Prada" fans?). Eventually, though, Claire's job takes a major toll on her physical and emotional health. She's at the office almost 24 hours a day, neglects her relationships with her mother and best friend, and is lucky to see Randall (who is also super-busy with work) a few hours per week. Predictably, Claire finally decides that she needs to make some major changes in her personal and professional life in order to be truly happy.

Believe it or not, I enjoyed reading this book. Clark is a good writer, and the story is humorous and fun. However, I was incredibly disappointed at what an obvious "Prada" rip-off it is. Everything about "Because She Can" was completely predictable, and I felt like I'd read the entire book before...probably because I practically have, except for the fact that Lauren Weisberger's name was on the cover! Also, the end of the book seemed very rushed to me, especially Claire's final scenes with Randall and Vivian. I just expected more.

Hopefully Clark manages to come up with some original ideas for her next book, because she definitely has potential as a writer. Sadly, though, "Because She Can" indicates that Clark just CAN'T come up with anything on her own. It's a real shame.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars PITCH (AND WHAT RHYMES WITH IT) PERFECT VOICE PERFORMANCE Feb. 21 2007
By Gail Cooke - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
If you couldn't put down "The Devil Wears Prada," you'll thoroughly enjoy "Because She Can." Once again we meet a talented, hard working young girl in New York City, Claire Truman, who has the misfortune to land a job working for a wicked witch boss. Vivian Grant is the boss, and she's a shrew who can't be tamed, given to shouting diatribes, manipulation, and all manner of underling humiliation.

Author Bridie Clark was formerly an editor for ReganBooks so it's not a stretch of the imagination to realize from whence her inspiration came. Judith Regan, once in high cotton at Harper Collins, was fired after the O. J. Simpson book debacle (remember, she was going to publish a book by Simpson that contained an interview about his wife's murder). All of this is to say that Clark knows of what she writes and she pens it very, very well.

Our heroine finds herself perplexed by her feelings for Randall Cox, a terrific looking, successful guy and her attraction to Luke Mayville who has just finished his first novel. She loves the book and touts it to Vivian despite the harridan's motto "Smut sells."

What to do? Claire is involved with two attractive men. Which one is for her? That is, if there's anything left of her after suffering the slings of Vivian. She is getting three times her previous salary but is it worth it?

Voice performer Mary Birdsong has a flair for comedy (Deputy Kimball in Comedy Central's Reno 911! )and she brings this to her stunning reading of "Because She Can." She ably conveys Claire's innocence and struggles.

- Gail Cooke
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Nov. 20 2009
By A. P. Navarre - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Well, I haven't read The Devil Wears Prada but after the reviews for Because She Can, I think I will read that next. Because she can is an enjoyable book and easy to read. If you are seeing a book that's really for pure entertainment, then this is it. The main character's thought process are somewhat realistic. But I have to admit that I don't know what I should feel for her. I just didn't like those people who wait to the last minute, then bam! its a decision you don't expect. But given this is a chick lit book... and that's the reason for the 4-star. Again, if you are looking to be entertain, this book will fit the bill.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great 1st Novel! Nov. 26 2008
By Tenaya Jacob (Bolin-Devore) - Published on Amazon.com
Bridie Clark provides us with an inside look at the world of publishing from an editor's point of view. Clair, an up and coming young editor, lands her dream job with a top publishing company. With a successful boyfriend and a new job her life seems perfect until she finds out her new boss is the tyrant everyone says she is. Will Clair survive her overbearing boss? Find out in "Because She Can."

-Tenaya Jacob, author of "Seasonings of the Soul."
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