Because She Can by Bridie Clark

Because She Can by Bridie Clark

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Hardcover, 275 pages, 2007

Rating: 7/10

Reason for Reading: I liked the idea, but not the execution, of Lauren Weisberger’s The Devil Wears Prada, so I was hoping Clark would have better luck with the boss-from-hell story.

Synopsis: After years of ups and downs, Claire Truman has nailed it: she has the perfect job at a major publishing house, and a gorgeous, successful (and nice) guy that wants to marry her. But very quickly, she starts to wonder if her boss, the notorious publisher Vivian Grant, isn’t merely ‘ambitious’ and ‘creative’…Maybe she’s crazy, in a spirit-crushing, marriage-wrecking, flat-out vicious sort of way. With everything tumbling down on her, Claire is about to find out – the hard way – what really matters to her.

Why you should read this book: If you can’t stand your boss, you’ll find plenty to commiserate with in Because She Can. You’ll likely notice a similarity between this one and The Devil Wears Prada, though Claire works in book publishing instead of within the world of fashion magazines, but the biggest difference between the two novels is that Claire is actually a likeable character – she believes her hard work is worth something, especially to the authors she deals with, so it’s a lot easier to root for her. Because She Can also works as a great look at the divide between what we’re expected to want and what we actually may want. The next time your boss has you ready to tear out your hair, try this book as a worthy (and probably wiser) solution to the job-from-hell.

Why you should avoid this book: Vivian Grant simply doesn’t ‘pop’ as a supposed boss from hell, which doesn’t give a lot of validity to the rest of the story. Other than the opening scene, she just doesn’t seem especially mean, or over-the-top, or even particularly funny. It’s hard to root for Claire when you just don’t think she has much to worry about in contrast to her everyday life – Clark could have gone far, far bigger with Vivian, especially because a real tyrant would have made the wedding issues more believable.

Opening paragraph:

It’s my wedding day. T minus two hours until I’m supposed to be walking down the aisle.

Fabulous quotes:

‘Fine,’ she relented impatiently. ‘It’s way too much money, especially for someone with your limited experience, but I really don’t have time to argue about it. I need someone here now. So when can you start? How’s Friday?’
This Friday? As in four days from now? I’d assumed I’d be able to give the standard two weeks’ notice at P and P, adequate time to make sure that all of my projects – and Jackson’s – were handed off properly. I told Vivian this, hoping she’d appreciate that I wasn’t the kind of employee who would irresponsibly leave her employer in the lurch.
Turns out she didn’t.

‘I’m glad.’ He kissed my nose. ‘I hate seeing you so upset. I wish I didn’t have to go back to the office’ – Randall frowned, checking his watch – ‘but if I don’t get this memo done tonight, I’ll have to deal with it tomorrow.’
‘No, I promise I’m good,’ I assured him. Secretly, though, my heart ached at the prospect of heading back to my apartment alone. I didn’t feel like hearing my own thoughts tonight…or worse, the echo of Vivian’s. I could go back to Randall’s and wait for him – but who knew how long he’d be stuck at the office, and I always felt uncomfortable being alone in the apartment with Svetlana.

Also recommended: Miss Understanding by Stephanie Lessing; The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus; The Continuity Girl by Leah McLaren.

Also by this author: Because She Can is Clark’s first novel.

Author’s website:

Fun tidbit: Clark is a co-founder of Blue State Coffee.

Would I read more by this author? Only if I heard raves about any future books.

© Lisa Yanaky 2003-2007

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