Miss Understanding Review
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As a little girl who never really fit in, Zoe Rose began her study of girls—why they’re so mean and back-stabbing, why they betray their own friends to get ahead, why they ostracize the other girls who don’t wear the right clothes, or (like Zoe) happen to have naturally curly red hair that makes them look an awful lot like Annie.

Now, Zoe finally has a chance to use her years of careful study for good. She’s been hired as the new deputy editor of Issues, a women’s magazine that once focused on hair and makeup and shoes. But now, Zoe’s sister’s new husband, Dan, is giving her a chance to give the magazine a new twist—and Zoe sees it as her opportunity to reach out to all those mean girls who once picked on her in kindergarten.

It doesn’t take long, however, for Zoe to realize that her new job isn’t going to be as easy and rewarding as she’d hoped—and the issues she’s writing about for the magazine are hitting pretty close to home. In typical girl fashion, the women at the magazine start sharpening their claws as soon as Zoe walks in the door. And instead of working together to make the magazine a success, they do everything they can to stab Zoe in the back and sabotage her every move. If Zoe’s going to change the world, she’s going to have to start by changing the women in her office. And while her sister, Chloe, refuses to back her up, Zoe is reunited with the one best friend she ever had—and the two of them decide to fight back.

Miss Understanding was written for any woman who’s ever felt like she didn’t quite fit in—anyone who’s ever felt snubbed or ostracized or back-stabbed by other women. My guess is that’s pretty much all of us. The beginning of the book is so dead-on that it’ll make you laugh out loud. You’ll instantly be able to identify many of the characters—the shallow, gorgeous snobs, the backstabbing coworkers, the clueless blonde, the smart girl who can’t dress herself. As the story continues, though, the humor fades and the story falls apart. It takes to pages full of long speeches and unrealistic dialogue. And Zoe crawls so far into herself and her personal mission and her obsession with her hair and her fear of pregnancy (which really has nothing to do with the whole magazine plot) that you’ll start to lose sight of the story—and its point.

Ms. Lessing was really on to something in the beginning of her story—and it had great potential. It’s too bad that she didn’t keep going in the same direction, though—because Miss Understanding ends up being jumbled and confusing and even a bit dull in the end.

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