Book Review: Snapped by Pamela Klaffke plus Author Interview

Fasion forward or plain fugly- can Sara still tell them apart?
Style guru Sara B has had the job- and joy- for the past fifteen years of eviscerating fashion victims in her legendary DOs and DON'Ts magazine feature. But now on the edge of forty, with ambitious hipster kids reinventing the style world, Sara's being spat out like an old polaroid picture.
Fuelled by alcohol, nicotine and self-loathing, Sara launches into cringe worthy series of blowups- personal, professional and private. She seems bent on destroying everything she's worked for. Can the faltering fashionista find her way back to the cutting edge?
Snapped concentrates on Sara who appears to be in the middle of some kind of mid-life crisis. She is very successful, she and business partner Ted run Snapped, a magazine that let's the readers know what is fashionable and what is not. However, Sara seems to have hit the self-destruct button. She photographs a young girl's outfit and declares it to be uncool, a rival publication features the same girl and argues that her look is cutting edge. This knock of confidence seems to send Sara spiralling out of control. She questions her work abilities, her personal life and begins to look more at the lives of those around her. Sara and Jack have been together for a long time but they don't live together and have an open relationship where they can have sex with others. Sara had been happy with this situation but she begins to question whether she is really happy, should she be expecting more at this stage of her life?
I did not like Sara at all during the first part of the book; I found her to be incredibly selfish and bitter. But as the book progressed and I realised that Sara's behaviour is down to her insecurities, I did like her more and wanted her to find some way to be comfortable with herself and the life she has created.
Sara's crisis of the confidence is the dominant part of the book but Pamela Klaffke also questions the idea of who decides what is cool and what isn't. We all pass comments on people's outfits etc but really, who are we to pass judgement? And are our judgements objective or do our personal feelings give our opinions some sway?
Snapped is a slightly uncomfortable read in parts, especially when Sara seems determined to hurt and upset everybody close to her. I did enjoy Pamela Klaffke's honest portrayal of the situation though and I think that many readers will identify with how Sara is feeling at this point in her life.

After reading Snapped I was able to ask the author Pamela Klaffke some questions, so here we go:

1. This is your first fictional book, was there anything in particular that inspired you to write it?
I had recently left my job as the literary editor at a daily newspaper and wanted to try something new, so fiction seemed an obvious choice. That's also when I took up photography. As for inspiration, I had worked as a lifestyle journalist for many years and had grown so fatigued of the hipster- what's cool- what's not brand of writing, that I felt it was ripe for satire.

2. Sara's job is to decide what's cool and what isn't and present her choices in a magazine article. Magazines are full of this type of feature, what are your thoughts on them?
Those pieces are so common now that I think they have lost any meaning. There are very few media outlets that have any influence in this manner. I tend to see the do's and don'ts as filler at this point.

3. Photography is obviously a huge part of your life. Writing is a very different way of expressing yourself, is it something you had always wanted to do?
I had always worked with photographers- as a stylist when I was younger,  then producing fashion shoots as a magazine and newspaper editor- so it has been part of my life for a long time. I didn't have much interest in taking the photos myself until I picked up a plastic toy camera (a Holga) in Spring 2007, around the same time I was writing Snapped. It's a huge part of my life now, and it's a great balance to the writing, I think, having to use a totally different part of my brain.

4. If you could have any actress play Sara in a film of your book, who would you choose?
Hmmm, probably Parker Posey. She's funny and I think she'd do a great job with the satirical elements of the story. 


Jules (The Great, The Good and The Bad) said...

I quite fancy reading this after reading your review, I think that it might be something that I would enjoy.

Nice interview.


Dot said...

Jules- Thank you, it was quite different from what I usually read!

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