Friday, September 18, 2015

The Balance Project by Susie Orman Schnall Review

"Katherine Whitney has it all. She’s married, has two daughters, is the COO of Green Goddess & Co., a multi-billion dollar health and wellness lifestyle company, and with the release of her book on work-life balance, she is not only a media darling but she is a hero to working moms everywhere. In reality, though, Katherine’s life is starting to fall apart, and her loyal assistant Lucy Cooper is the one holding most things together. But when Katherine does something unthinkable to Lucy, Lucy is faced with a difficult decision. Will she choose to change Katherine’s life forever or continue being her main champion. Her decision could change the trajectory of both of their lives. The Balance Project is a story of loyalty, choices, and most of all balance as it explores the hot-button issue that all women struggle with."

I won a copy from Goodreads First Reads. 

How similar is this book to The Devil Wears Prada? Well, the beginning really falls in line with that fashion story with only one exception. Katherine Whitney (Miranda Priestly's counterpart) is not a... fiery demon with a taste for chaos. There is also another point of similarity. Both books have a character named Nigel. The Balance Project's Nigel is demanding and most definitely rude while the other Nigel is wonderful, nice, gay (if my memory is correct). 

Lucy, the main character, is like Andy. Except she doesn't curse as much (probably because Katherine isn't Miranda). She is dedicated to her job to the point of alienating her boyfriend (now, where have I heard of that?). Most important of all is that I can barely muster any empathy for her. Maybe it is because I already read The Devil Wears Prada. Maybe it is because I'm finding these books to be too similar with each other. Maybe that.  

Katherine, Katherine, Katherine. Oh, my gosh. Lucy might as well be in love with Katherine. Everything, and by that, I mean, everything, has to do with Katherine. Lucy's whole life spins around Katherine's, and I sympathize with Lucy. (Though I don't approve of Lucy's character and actions. I do like her character development, however.) 

The book is about the same size as my paperback copy of The Devil Wears Prada. (If the book is trying to be that book, then it may have succeed in one area. 

The story goes by thankfully fast (even though I'm half-awake, half-sleeping while fumbling through its pages). The book is short enough to read in a single night, and the story does not get boring for one second. But I find it lacking in some areas (e.g. Lucy's relationship with Nick, Lucy's relationship with Theo). 

The ending absolutely ruins Lucy's character development. I really want Lucy to be separate from Katherine and find the job she really wants (without Katherine ever being in her life again). But no... I get Lucy's loyalty, but I think it is misguided. Yes, Katherine is a darling at some points, but I see too much potential for her to become Miranda Priestly. 

The Devil Wears Prada or The Balance Project? Well, the former has long, annoying, descriptive paragraphs. The latter reads more like a copycat, especially in the beginning (but it moves down a different path). Honestly, these two are too similar. But I think I like The Devil Wears Prada more. 

Overall, The Balance Project, though it does have its share of moments, is not a favorite of mine. Never boring, I must add. 

Rating: Two out of Five

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