Reviewed by Kate Appleton
Scandal, excess and banking. The news continues to be dominated by corruption at the highest levels (FIFA and World Athletics just to mention a couple). Graduating from Michelle Miller's previous Gossip Girl inspired writing to a more adult Wolf of Wall Street/Belle de Jour story, we follow the life of Todd Kent. He draws the other characters into his world as he is tasked with his new high profile role – the dating app ringing true to those of Tinder and Happen – stereotypically charming, boyish and ruthless he disposes of women like the starched napkins from the latest hip restaurant. However, Miller presents him as a product of the system, never knowingly or wanting to be in a sense evil and greedy but someone who is simply playing the game.
Chapters are divided into the different central characters so you get the momentum of how fast things are moving in the business offering up the back stabbing and cut throat nature beautifully and keenly acerbic. There’s Tara whose ball busting and sassy, Neha slightly rough around the edges but brilliant and Beau the rich boy’s son. Each of the characters introduces a different aspect to the world that as an outsider always holds a sordid and slightly embarrassing fascination – reminiscent of when I scroll The Daily Mail’s side bar of shame.
Some of the aspects of the character’s lives and personalities were repetitious from previous books I have mentioned of the same genre and those that have offered blurbs to Miller’s The Underwriting – Devil Wears Prada etc… – but then that’s expected when their traits are prevalent and there’s nothing ‘new’ to bring to the table.
However, the fact that Miller started this off as short installments on her own website which was then picked up by a publisher is both another fascinating sign of the times that social media is having on the publishing world but also that the hunger for this type of book is still not satiated.
Entertaining, witty and with a dose of black comedy, The Underwriting will be a great addition to this year’s reading list.