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Review: Spin: A Novel by Robert Rave

spinTitle: Spin: A Novel

Author: Robert Rave

Genre/Pages: Fiction/352

Publication: St. Martin’s Press; August 18, 2009

Rating: 4 BOOKMARKS

An all-access pass behind the velvet ropes of New York’s trendiest hot-spots, Spin: A Novel, dishes on the frenetic and cut-throat world that is PR. 

With a little bit of fast thinking and a white lie or two, twenty-something Taylor Green finds himself on the right side of the velvet ropes at the opening of Domino, one of Manhattan’s hottest new restaurants. 

Kismet is smiling down on Taylor–not only does he manage to fast-talk his way past the ‘door dragon’, but also scores a career coup in the same night.  Just by being in the right place at the right time, he’s able to swoop in and snatch up a coveted Assistant position at Jennie Weinstein Public Relations (JWPR), the PR firm of the city.

With his new job comes new responsibilities and fabulous perks.  Coveted party invitations and oodles of swag come Taylor’s way, but he also finds himself at despotic Jennie’s beck and call.  Reminiscent of Lauren Weisberger’s Amanda Priestly (The Devil Wears Prada), Jennie Weinstein keeps Taylor hopping day and night with her imperious (and sometimes illegal!) demands and requests via calls, texts, and messages to his Blackberry.

As the novel progresses, a dramatic shift occurs: our provincial hero begins to assimilate to his boss’s nefarious ways.  Taylor’s family and friends don’t recognize him anymore; gone is the slightly bumbling, awww-shucks, guy.  In his place is a corporate assassin–he’s got some dirt on Jennie and isn’t afraid to wield the information, using it as leverage to secure himself better accounts and more responsibility within the firm.

Jennie Weinstein isn’t accustomed to people standing up to (or blackmailing) her, but just how far is she willing to go to shut Taylor Green down for good?  Will Taylor come to his senses and see that his new-found false values are only propelling him further from the people who care about him most? 

A gritty account of the not-so-nice aspects of the PR world, Spin: A Novel sheds light on how the industry (sometimes?!?!) works–journalists, gossip columnists, sales and marketing people, brand and restaurant owners, and PR firms enjoying their quid pro quo “moral” code.

So, is Spin: A Novel a Roman à clef?  Robert Rave did work for Lizzie Grubman, a well-know publicist who has been described by New York Magazine as, “…the most powerful girl (female publicist) of all.”  A few of Jennie’s more outlandish stunts seem to have been pulled from the headlines of the New York rags, but I’ll leave you to decide how much of Spin is based in reality and how much is spun from Rave’s imagination.

Thanks to Marnie at MB Public Relations for this review copy.

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