Saturday, 4 October 2014

Review: Belle de Neige

There's a blog too!
I got sent a book to review recently, but I haven't got so far as opening it yet, as I was too busy reading Belle de Neige's book.

Enthused as I am to read things by fellow bloggers (such as, er, blogs) I was keen on a copy of this one because I've long been a fan of her blog (and it's in paperback; I don't own any version of an e-reader so that's a major factor in choosing something to pick up and read). Perhaps a strange choice of reading material, because I've never been skiing and have absolutely no desire to go.

Why read this, then? Well, it's not so much a book about skiing as it is about the people running the piste, and even then, it's more about the people than what they do. In a style clearly derived from writing a pseudonymous blog, Belle exploits the foibles of those around her in a familiar, yet slightly scathing, way. The chapters are short and so the book skips through at a fast pace, like a series of blog posts presented as vignettes exposing various tribulations in the life of a Chalet Bitch.

It's put me off skiing for life.

What I like most about this book, subject matter aside, is the fact that there are zero holds barred, especially with the language. This book is completely uncensored, with more "fuck"s than the South Park movie and a "cunt" thrown in every now and again - often in the dialogue. Again, the blogger head is reared a little here; one of the things I like about blogging is how explicit you can be, and this transfers really well to the page, whether Belle is talking about drink (there's a lot of that), drugs (there's a lot of that), snow (there's a lot of that) or sex (there's a lot more of that than you'd think). There's practically nothing that's left out - and that is wonderfully catastrophic.

The only thing that I can find fault with, really, is that it reads a little like an uncorrected proof. There are noticeable grammatical mistakes at times, and quite a lot of missing punctuation - there's even one chapter that starts on the same page as a previous one finishes without so much as a line break - which, although bearable, does sometimes overshadow exactly what you're reading. I'm aware that, from an English graduate's point of view, SPAG seems a little more important than it may be to the less pedantic, but I noticed it.

Although, having said that, this has since been released with a variant cover - so it may well have been improved since then.

However, that shouldn't put anyone off reading this - whether or not you ski - especially if you're a fellow blogger and like to see how the style translates to paper. I really liked this, it made me laugh out loud a lot, and was an incredibly pleasing diversion to whatever it is I was meant to be doing these past few days.

Belle de Neige's book is available from Amazon - there's an eBook available too.

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