I am proud to admit I am a "Real Housewives of..." whatever city junky. I have never been one to sheepishly say I love my Housewives. Of course I have my favorite from each franchise such as Lisa Vanderpump from Beverly Hills, Caroline Manzo from New Jersey, and the lovely Phaedra Parks from Atlanta. The reality TV sites I peruse reported Sheree Whitfield is placing her hat in the wonderful world of marketing herself by writing a book.
Unlike some of the other Housewives turned authors (excluding Carole Radziwell), Sheree Whitfield did not do a cookbook, of provide information on how to live a fabulous life in or out of jail, but instead chose to go the way of an actual novel. I was more than excited to be given a review copy of Wives, Fiancees, and Side-Chicks of Hotlanta. Part of me just wanted to read this book only to rip it to shreds (simply because of the title... I mean c'mon) while the other half simply wanted to see an original Housewife do well and prove her literary chops. Now, I simply want to be honest and give my own, unbiased opinion of this novel and encourage those who don't agree to just...
Sheree Whitfield opens the book with a prelude to all the craziness that will ensue in Sasha Wellington's life in "Hotlanta". For those of us not so hip, that would be Atlanta, Ga. Sasha is a fish out of water after moving to Atlanta to pursue her dream of becoming a successful fashion designer. With her business and life plan in tow, she quickly learns that she may have bitten off more than she can chew. We are on Sasha's journey in learning life and herself.
Because I hate going too deep into any review with silly plot details I will begin to dissect this novel and rip it apart with my catty opinion and over the top shade.
Sheree Whitfield really does an awesome job at providing a character that is easy to love. Sasha is like so many of us women. She wants to appear tough, put together, and confident but really, she's just as vulnerable to self-doubt as the next woman. Many times I find the contradictory characteristics of other protagonists, Whitfield manages to make the moments when Sasha is doubtful of herself to be genuine and not simply a ploy for sympathy from the audience. These moments allow readers to be happy for her as she changes and grows (for good or bad) in "Hotlanta".
Nothing involving any Housewife is without drama so why should Wives, Fiancees, and Side-Chicks of Hotlanta. This novel is hard to put down due to the increasing drama in love, friendships, and life. Whitfield is very aware of her audience and keeps the story moving forward quickly. This device usually causes a lack of character development, and I won't lie, that happens here too. Outside of Sasha, I felt the supporting cast were all caricatures. I feel like everyone introduced was exactly like I remember them being on past Housewife episodes. Which leads me to my gripes...
Wives, Fiancees, Side-Chicks of Hotlanta relies to heavily on cliche and one liners. I fear that this book can become dated when "throwing shade", "THOT", or even "twerking" begins to fade in pop culture. These cliche terms are not only used by the characters in this novel, but by the narrator as well. It's almost like the "Hotlanta" took hold of the narrator and made them shady or a real-live hater. This approach also limits the audience potential for Whitfield. I know that a targeted audience is always great, but as a reviewer, I like when author's force me to be open to reading a new genre. This book might not appeal to anyone who isn't from Atlanta or an avid Housewife fan like myself.
Okay, okay. I see you Phaedra. In conclusion, I actually enjoyed Wives, Fiancees, and Side-Chicks of Hotlanta very much. It's just as messy and drama filled as most of the Housewives in this very successful franchise. Sheree Whitfield has my attention for sure. I hope she follows this one up with another great read. I won't say "Hotlanta" will be touted as a great literary read but it will encourage readers to recognize what they will and won't do for love, power, and respect. ***
Copy provided by Kensington Books via Netgalley