Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Book Review: Southern Fried Makeover

A Fair Trade Book

Title: Southern Fried Makeover

Author: Carla Jablonski

Date: 1999

Publisher: Archway / Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 0-671-03437-5

Length: 148 pages

Quote: “Maybe it was like those whistles only dogs can hear. Gigi operated on a boys-only frequency.”

Who’s Gigi? Not one of the familiar TV stars lined up on the front cover of this book—that’d be, from left to right, Amber, Sean, Cher, Murray, and Dionne (or De; played by Stacey Dash). Gigi Rabinowitz, played by a guest actress, claims Atlanta as home. But whatever happened to Southern charm? Charmless Gigi sets out on the wrong foot, during her short visit to Bronson Alcott High, with resolutions to upstage Cher in a musical video (No way!) and upstage De with Murray (As if!).

In the weird little world of Clueless De and Murray, who were after all based on the full-grown married friends of the young girls in Emma, are supposed to be not only the brightest Betty (girl) and Baldwin (boy) in the school, but also a solidly established couple. They keep their relationship age-appropriate by bantering, bickering, and staging lovers’ quarrels every week or two. Still, woe betide anyone who tries to come between them. Gigi is cruising for a serious ego bruising, here.

Neither Cher Horowitz nor Gigi Rabinowitz is noticeably religious so it might seem reasonable for them to let their nice-girl social personalities be overcome by evil, rather than overcoming evil with good. They struggle, in this story. For a Clueless sequel this one borders on having actual character development. The list of classic novels suitable for remakes as Clueless episodes was shrinking. The series was winding down to its end…

I didn’t laugh out loud as often as I did while reading the volumes in the Clueless saga that were written by H.B. Gilmour, the author who really created Cher Horowitz’s unique narrative voice. Gilmour was the genius; Jablonski is a substitute. Nevertheless, fewer laughs than Gilmour provided per volume still means lots of laughs. This is still a book that I, personally, would not try to read on a slow day at a bank, or even on a crowded train.

“If I was this on alert, I could imagine how De was feeling. Double sessions with our masseuses immediately hit my mental to-do list.”

“Hello, it’s a shoo-in that Cher and I would win. But if elected, how can I serve? My future is as a doctor.”

“She actually laughed in my face! I thought I was having an out-of-body experience.”

Hello, Cher? Try out-of-Beverly-Hills, where everybody's laughed at you ever since Gilmour and Reisfeld invented you? Whatever. Everybody with a sense of humor loves Cher’s grotesque mix of Valspeak, S.A.T. vocabulary words, and upscale-store ad lingo,  anyway.

Although H.B. Gilmour no longer has any use for a dollar, or for publicity, Carla Jablonski is still actively writing, according to her web site. It looks as if more attention to her comedy writing skills wouldn't hurt anything either. So Southern Fried Makeover is a Fair Trade Book. Buy it here, by sending $5 per book + $5 per package to either address at the very bottom of the screen (down below the blog feed), and Jablonski or a charity of her choice receives $1 per book. By "$5 per package" I mean that you can browse around and add a few other books to the package for the same $5 shipping charge. Any and all Clueless books could be added to the package; so could other vintage books, for adults or children, that you may or may not have seen on this web site. (Btw, when you buy a book from this web site, you earn the perk of posting a guest review of any new or used book you want to add.)

What's Stacey Dash doing now? Her new book is so new that, although Amazon pays a commission when you click on book links and Regnery hasn't arranged for that yet, I'm steering you directly to her publisher. Some readers will want to buy this book new to show respect.