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Book Review: Falling Star by Diana Dempsey

falling star diana dempsey Book Review: Falling Star by Diana Dempsey

If the news articles and widely shared anecdotes are anything to go by, ageism is alive and well in the entertainment industryparticularly if the individual in question is female. Where males are able to transition into middle age or later with labels such as distinguished, their female counterparts are simply, well, old.

In Diana Dempseys debut Falling Star,'forty-something prime time news anchor Natalie Daniels as she struggles to deal with exactly this issueand more beside. With her years of experience and solid qualifications, Natalie is a force to be reckoned with, but commands a fee that undermines the budgets of new station manager, who needs to cut costs and improve ratings if hes to see a cent of his bonus. And what better way to do so than oust Natalie and replace her with a young lass who will not only set the audiences pulses racing, but who will be happy with a salary a tenth of that of Natalie?

Of course, it doesnt take Natalie long to work out whats going on but, terrified by the idea of her apparently increasing irrelevance, she begins to make mistakes. Small things like line flubs at first, but then bigger mess ups, like being arrested for stalking an interview subject. The harder she tries, the faster her career seems to be circling the drain. And as she begins to fall from the public favour, her replacement, the callous and calculating Kelly, seems to be rising to new heights.

Add to this a scheming ex-husband who will stop at nothing to get his hands on Natalies money (including stealing their prenup and lying about his own income), a love interest with whom a romantic involvement will create some serious conflicts of interestand ethicsand Natalie has quite a bit on her mind.

'Falling Stars premise is an interesting one, and I was curious to see Dempseys treatment of the issue of ageism in the media. Unfortunately, everything in this novel is so very black and white that it lacks the emotional impact I expected: the baddies are money-grubbing misanthropes who eschew any sort of morality in favour of getting ahead, while Natalie herself feels less like a person and more like a vehicle to carry a theme. And goodness, stop deliberately undermining yourself, Natalie!

Its with the other characters, too, that I struggled: Natalies husband is so cruel and unbelievable as to be a caricature, and her competitor is the same. Though in her early twenties, she reads rather like a vacuous pre-teen, which conflicts with what we know of her background: shes an ambitious, university-educated woman who mentored under Daniels (although this last is for some reason omitted from the POV scenes of this woman). Then theres the love interest, who happily cheats on his fiance with Natalie and thinks nothing of itand Natalie, despite having been cheated on herself by her ex husband, happily goes along with it all.

The plot, though buoyed by some interesting tidbits about the reporting and tv journalism worlds, struggles under the weight of these various players and the heavy-handed way in which theyre all linked together. Kevin Bacon has fewer degrees of separation than these guys. But perhaps what stops the book from really working is the fact that Natalie'never really has a black moment. Sure, things begin to go downhill, but then everything starts to work out, but just sort of because. Natalie isnt the one working her way back up to the top; rather, everything else around her begins to fall into place so that this happens. Unfortunately, this makes for an anticlimactic ending in what is otherwise a reasonable read.

Rating: star Book Review: Falling Star by Diana Dempseystar Book Review: Falling Star by Diana Dempseyhalfstar Book Review: Falling Star by Diana Dempseyblankstar Book Review: Falling Star by Diana Dempseyblankstar Book Review: Falling Star by Diana Dempsey (not bad)

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Other books by Diana Dempsey:

too close to the sun diana dempsey Book Review: Falling Star by Diana Dempseycatch the moon diana dempsey Book Review: Falling Star by Diana Dempsey

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