Release Date: September 28, 2012
Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBookstore | Kobo
When Veronica graduated with an MBA and dreams of saving the world, she never knew she would end up a corporate slave to the lipstick gods, in love with her playboy boss and in need of a gay best friend to make her feel fabulous. Straight out of school, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, Veronica has her heart set on an honourable job, such as saving starving children. Instead, she accepts a job at Gisele, a global cosmetic empire that seems to mock her every value. Veronica struggles to fit in until she meets Stevie, a gay co-worker, who immediately assumes the role of fashion counsellor and fabulousness.
Under Stevie’s mentorship, Veronica flourishes as a vixen and marketing peon. But for Veronica to truly succeed at Gisele and seduce her boss, she must bequeath her soul to the makeup gods and sacrifice her friends in a ritual known as corporate brainwash. How far does Veronica go before she realizes she is losing everything she once valued, including herself?
Reminiscent of The Devil Wears Prada, WHY I LOVE MY GAY BOYFRIEND by Sabrina Zollo is a character driven story about personal growth, priorities and friendship. Veronica's interim gig at popular cosmetic company, Giselle, is a fish-out-of-water story. She's more scholarly than fashionista and a follower rather than a Queen B. Until her gay co-worker, Stevie, became her fairy godmother and turned the ugly duckling into a swan. Armed with Stevie's workplace coaching and fashion know-how, Veronica finds herself fitting more into the superficial world of cosmetic marketing but as her star rises in the workplace, her friendships started to suffer.
Although the book wasn't screaming original and unique for me because of its parallelism to The Devil Wears Prada, I still found myself enjoying WHY I LOVE MY GAY BOYFRIEND for the most part. It's fun and light for a weekend read and Veronica's personal observation about her co-workers' vanity and self-importance are funny. Veronica as a character is typical, you can tell that this job may be good for her in some ways but one can see that her character growth is moving in the wrong direction. She started as a very grounded person, albeit ideal, with hopes in becoming a human rights ambassador. I have to give her props for finding opportunities in a very unlikely situation but as the story progress, she's not immune to the glitz and pretentiousness of her field. Slowly she turned into a self-centered, vain and selfish person like her co-workers at the expense of her friendships, Stevie included.
Veronica's friendship with Stevie is very Will & Grace, it's very platonic and Stevie is a great friend to have. I find it a little weird why SZollo would make their friendship out of the ordinary. Every time Veronica tells people about Stevie and her "gay boyfriend", it turns into an awkward explanation as to Stevie not being her boyfriend but a guy friend who is gay. In spite of this, Veronica and Stevie's friendship is something I can relate to and every woman for that matter. Stevie is a great person to have in your corner unfortunately Veronica didn't handle the changes in her life gracefully.
The reason why WHY I LOVE MY GAY BOYFRIEND got a 2-cauldron rating is because of the lack of resolution. I checked SZollo's website to see if there's a follow up novella or something but there isn't any mention of it so I may be wrong and for all I know, she might be writing the sequel right this moment. I can appreciate an open-ended conclusion but as far as this is concerned, the gates are gaping, the flags are raised and the trumpeteers are still blowing the "welcome" theme. After Veronica and Stevie broke-up, Stevie's character turned dark but it was presented in a word-of-mouth manner. Another missed opportunity for Veronica to repair their friendship and she didn't really make too much effort to come to him. With this, Stevie and Veronica never got to hash-out their differences and the ending left it at that. Stevie in his own world while Veronica's apologies left unanswered. I know this happens in real life but as this is a stand-alone story and a fictional one at that, I was hoping for a more definitive ending at least.
WHY I LOVE MY GAY BOYFRIEND would've been a cool chick-lit, the conflict was a good launching pad for a great drawn out resolution but SZollo not only gave Veronica an easy way out, she also rushed the ending and didn't give any solid closure to the story. At least give us an epilogue!