Sign in using your account with
Nicole Richie: Priceless
Priceless tells the story of Charlotte Williams, a pampered girl whose priorities in life include shopping for designer clothes and partying at posh nightclubs. Her supermodel mother passed away in a tragic accident when she was seven and her father believes that money is the answer to all life's problems, catering to Charlotte's every whim. But when her father is arrested for fraud, Charlotte is forced to face the world on her own without daddy's money.
As her father's material possessions disappear, so do her so-called friends. Everything in life seems to be ganging up on her. She finds herself surrounded by angry fraud victims and an even angrier press, so she flees to New Orleans to live with her beloved former nanny Millie, the closest thing she has had to a mother-daughter relationship. Millie's son Jackson isn't very fond of Charlotte for the snob that she used to be.
Away from all the fuss her dad left in his wake, Charlotte starts over. She meets hotshot fashionista Kat Karaby, who quickly becomes her best friend and encourages her to develop her singing talent. Charlotte soon joins Jackson's band and their relationship takes on a romantic twist.
But then the pace of the story abruptly changes when a stalker pops up out of nowhere, follows her around and threatens to kill her.Priceless is the story of your run-of-the-mill wealthy girl who learns about selflessness and giving back. Although the novel has a clichéd storyline used before in many novels and films, the author manages to keep the reader engaged. You know where the novel is going, but you can't stop reading nonetheless.
Although the fact that Richie is now an author took us by surprise, her second novel Priceless exceeded all of our expectations. Richie has significantly improved as an author and the development in her prose is tangible. Her writing is witty and light. The fact that the story can easily have been inspired by the author’s life as a Hollywood celebrity and socialite is not lost on the reader.
Richie sincerely captures the turmoil of emotions that Charlotte goes through. However, Charlotte develops too quickly in the novel. Although the author struggles with the suspenseful parts of the novel, the romance and humour make up for it.
A simple online search would give you a chronological account of the Egyptian revolution; accurate dates, death tolls and perhaps even the names of the martyrs. But it will not tell you how it made the Egyptian people feel. Statistics can't describe what the families of the martyrs went through and it cannot accurately express the weight placed on the hearts of millions of Egyptians during this time.
Soueif doesn't ignore the violence perpetrated by the regime against protestors; she also mentions those who have lost their lives. She has kept in mind that by the time readers received her book a lot would have changed, so she frequently refers to the fact that we – her readers – would know more about the current situation than she did while writing it.
As she walks down every street, she supplements her story with memories and anecdotes from her childhood and adolescence, adding an emotional and personal dimension to her book and making it easy for readers to imagine why she is still attached to Cairo despite her long years in London.
The book is a refreshing spin on a now-over-a-year-old revolution. It brings hope. Soueif's sharp senses have led her to assume that by the time the book hits bookshelves, hope would still be the number one motivation and that's how she writes; invoking hope and persistence in the hearts of her readers.
Born and raised in Texas, Gretchen McCullough's teaching career has taken her to Egypt, Turkey and Japan; currently, McCullough teaches writing in the Department of Rhetoric and Composition at the American University in Cairo.
Released earlier this year, her latest publication is titled ‘Shahrazad’s Tooth’; a compilation of short stories revolving around a host of eccentric individuals and their experiences in Cairo. A large bulk of the stories are driven by the thoughts rummaging through the characters minds and, more often than not, they transpire to be both charming and relatable.
‘Shahrazad’s Tooth’ has a colourful team of characters with strong presence, charisma and an air of familiarity. Digging deeper into their personal lives and problems, her writing style is distinct, bringing an American charm and non-linearity to her stories, which builds a pleasant intricacy.
With many of the characters connected by a single building in Garden City, McCullough allots the main characters in her stories as small cameos in others, spreading the characters' presence and allowing for further development.
In ‘A Little Honey and a Little Sunlight’, we are given insight into the raging nature of Professor Gary by his dying neighbour, Joe Pulaski - a poet - reminiscing his days spent living in Cairo. Many pages later in ‘Pure Water’, we find ourselves reading from the eyes of Dr Gary as he spends time with his bulky Greek friend, Kolombos, in a mental asylum before the uprising of January 25th. The title story, meanwhile, sees two main protagonists; journalist and teacher, Mary Beth Somers, and her dentist, Dr Samy. Far from sappy, the two fall into a love which avoids the overt romantic notions seen in cliched literature, despite ending on a melancholic note.
Aside from the characters, Cairo as a city is portrayed as an integral player in the stories. On regular occasions, vivid descriptions of popular places in the city are given, such as El Horreya, Windsor Bar, the Gezirah Club and Koshari Abou Tarek. Having visited all these places ourselves, it's obvious that McCullough has immersed herself in the city, and amongst its people, well beyond the point of a touristic escapade. She’s become a sort of semi-native, in touch with Cairene culture, but maintains enough outside insight to give a new perspective to those who’ve been living in the city for too long.
With its mix of emotions and interesting character troupe, ‘Shahrazad’s Tooth’ promises an entertaining, comforting read for both locals and foreigners alike.