I recently came across You Knew Me When on, of all places, Lauren Conrad’s Fall Reading List of 2013. I’d already read a handful of novels LC had included, most notably Where’d You Go, Bernadette, which I absolutely loved and of course To Kill a Mockingbird more than once. It’s an all-time favorite and one of my dog’s names is Harper Lee (her first foster mom named her, it naturally caught my eye on Pet Finder!) Anyhow, I’ll be truthful, the first few chapters of You Knew Me When had me rolling my eyes. Katherine Hill is a very cliché character: the 30-something high-powered NYC executive who has sacrificed life and love for her career. As the story what happened with her ex-best friend, Laney Hancock, unfolds, there is depth in the character development and you do get quite involved. It just isn’t a story with groundbreaking material and it’s rather predictable. I’m not saying it’s not entertaining, as it’s great chick lit, the perfect vacation read or what to pick up once you step off an emotional roller coaster like Labor Day. Or, you know, what to read at 1 a.m. when you’re freaking out over gray hair. Every reader gets something different out of each book he/she reads. All novels don’t have to be award winners or perfectly written to be enjoyable. You will hear more on my opinion of this later, I despise a book (or TV or movie) snob.
As a 10-year marketing veteran and geek though, this is where it gets fun. While Googling reviews of You Knew Me When, I came across this article on HuffPo Books from the release last fall. The book’s author, Emily Liebert, is a smart cookie. Since Katherine is an exec at a cosmetics company in the novel, Liebert teamed up with Zoya Nail Polish and both a fashion and jewelry designer to create products based on the main characters. Studios have been doing this with movies for years. Most recently for Skyfall, Hunger Games and let’s not forget the fashion and cosmetics empire Twilight built. There is already a plethora of, er, merchandise out there branded with 50 Shades of Grey, but it will only increase as August approaches. Make fun of me all you want, I’m not ashamed to say I CAN’T FRIGGIN’ WAIT. However, it’s quite unique and ambitious for a relatively unknown author and first-time novelist such as Liebert to step out and do it all herself for her initial major release. Gotta give her kudos for that.
On the Kindle now is Wild by Cheryl Strayed, which is an upcoming movie with a screenplay from Nick Hornby and starring Reese Witherspoon. Reese I could love again when she finally broke up with Jake Gyllenhaal. Clearly she realized he and I are soul mates…too bad he hasn’t yet. I figured it out 12 years ago; I’m getting impatient.