As Seen on TV
Sarah Mlynowski
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As Seen on TV

Sarah Mlynowski
Red Dress Ink
384 pages
October 2003
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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With the current craze for reality television flooding the airwaves, it was just a matter of time before a book picked up on the trend, and chick-lit seems like the perfect genre to feature the concept. Luckily, the reality-TV theme was chosen by an incredibly gifted and funny storyteller in the chick-lit genre, Sarah Mlynowski. Mlynowski is the critically acclaimed author of Milkrun and Fishbowl, and she certainly does not disappoint in her newest novel, As Seen on TV.

Sunny Langstein is a recent college graduate who has been dividing her time between her aspiring career in soft drink PR in Florida and spending time with her boyfriend, Steve, in New York City. Sunny knows it’s time to make a change when Steve asks her to move in with him. After securing a job in Manhattan, Sunny quits her job in Florida and prepares to move. Unfortunately, mere days before her scheduled transplant to the big apple, she’s told that her new job has been given to someone else. Suddenly Sunny has no job and no place to live since she has already given up her Florida apartment. Frantic, she calls upon her father’s young girlfriend who works in television and begs for a job. Although she was expecting to become an intern, she’s instead offered a part on television’s newest reality series, Party Girls!. The only catch is that she’s supposed to be a single girl. Will Steve understand? And how will the glitzy world of television change the down-to-earth and practical Sunny?

Chick-lit books often have plots that are either strong or weak, depending on how the author handles them and creates the characters. As Seen on TV falls into this same category. What could have easily fallen into the ridiculous, silly and pointless turns out to be hilarious, insightful and a whole lot of fun—all due to the writing prowess of Sarah Mlynowski. The character of Sunny is extremely funny and self-assured, a welcome change from the neurotic characters suffering from low self esteem often seen in chick-lit. On the whole, Mlynowski’s writing moves at a fast pace with a laugh on nearly every page. She also achieves the most important goal of an author: she makes the reader care about the main character.

As far as chick-lit goes, As Seen on TV is about as good as it gets. As far as reality television goes, you would be much better off reading this book than tuning in to anything your TV has to offer.

© 2004 by Angela McQuay for Curled Up With a Good Book.

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