Wednesday, June 27, 2007


When Sarah Bradford, an expert on Princess Diana, was asked to review Tina Brown's new book on the princess for the Spectator, they refused to print it. The Guardian, however, were delighted to.

I've heard Tina Brown (pictured here) in innumerable interview over the last couple of weeks and in each one she dwells on the Princess's addiction to the novels of her step-grandmother, Barbara Cartland. Brain-rot fiction, are the words she uses. Well, Tina can do fine "brain rot" herself. In fact she writes the kind of purple prose that would make a Mills & Boon editor blush. Here's a taste from Sarah Bradford's review: --

"Tina Brown's uncertainty about her project is highlighted by her writing, which slides between self-consciously pacey modern schlock and sentimental drivel. Diana's mother, Frances, "looks flawlessly put together and crisp in her coiffed blond ripples. She wears a pale blue suit and hat, a string of fat, creamy pearls and gazes down with a proud smile into the big blue eyes of the gurgling baby Diana." Cut to Diana's pretty nannies. In America, Brown comments irrelevantly, "a Kennedy would be sleeping with help that looked as good as this". Eighteenth-century Spencer ladies used the picture gallery at Althorp for "morning power walks". You can take the girl out of the magazine, but you can't take the magazine out of the girl."

Read more here


Kate Hardy said...

Blimey, talk about adjective overload.

Wouldn't get away with that in M&B. (Or in any serious nonfiction. Or in any decent magazine or newspaper.)

From that, I'd say:
a) the book was delivered late and barely met the wordcount

b) the copyeditor wanted to take out most of the adjectives to make it tighter, but that would've meant the book didn't meet the page extent and there wasn't time to rewrite so the commissioning editor stetted everything

c) dear, dear Tina thought writing romantic fiction was easy but didn't do any research (i.e. hasn't read any recent ones) and her romantic novel was rejected for over-descriptive writing and lack of emotional punch. And the only way to make herself feel better about her failure is to be snide about romance.

What a pity she uses outdated and inaccurate cliches to get her point across.

Good on Sarah Bradford for showing this. The biter bit. Poetic justice. :o)

Donna Alward said...

I just have to say...OUCH. And ICK.

There's something to be said about starting romantic fiction from the bottom...that time when you're sure you'll be brilliant is met with rejection and you have that time to be humbled and learn. Starting from a position of status (such as a career in journalism) already means that misguided fledgling attempts make it to print. Oops! I wonder if she wishes she could take it back now.

Of course, all the negative publicity will help her sales. :-)