Author: Catherine McKenzie

Published: 2010

Genre: Fiction

About Spin: A woman goes to rehab to get a story on a celebrity and, maybe, land her dream job.

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Review of Spin

I wish I could say the decision was a difficult one, that the thought of going to rehab undercover to dig up dirt on a young woman in the middle of self-destructing gave me pause. I wish I could say I was indignant that Bob thought I'd agree to do it, or that I could convince anyone I needed to be in rehab. But that wouldn't be true, and the first step to recovery is admitting that I have a problem, right?

So, OK, I do.

I want to work at The Line so badly I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get into Bob's good books. And if spying on [The Girl Next Door] in a sober environment for a minimum of thirty days is going to get me there, well ... so be it.

...from page 37

The following is an edited transcript of a discussion between Lynn Bornath (interviewee) and KB, age 16, (interviewer) on 23 March 2010. Some additional comments on the book follow the interview.

What's the name of the book?
Spin by Catherine McKenzie.
What's it about?
A woman named Katie wants to get her dream job, which is writing for a music magazine. She gets an interview but she blows it because she shows up drunk. Then they call her back because a certain celebrity has gone into rehab. They want Katie to go undercover and get a story on this celebrity.
And if she gets the story?
It's for a gossip magazine, which is owned by the same people who own the music magazine. If she writes the article and impresses them, then she will get the job on the music magazine.
What made them call her back?
They thought she could convincingly pretend to be an alcoholic.
I wonder why. So is the majority of the book her trying to get the scoop on this celebrity?
For the majority of the book, she's in rehab.
Why is it called Spin? Is that the name of the music magazine? The gossip magazine?
No. Do you know what it means to put a spin on something?
Isn't that sorta like to make it more interesting?
It could go either way, a positive spin or a negative spin. It means to kind of twist something to make it sound like what you want it to sound like.
So it's taking something that's not that exciting and, without making it untrue, you make it more exciting?
Or more interesting or you can make it sound worse than it actually is. Better than it actually is or worse than it actually is.
Does all that happen in the book?
Sort of. The thing is, she becomes friends with this girl. But then she still has to write the article.
Her conscience is catching up with her?
Does she get the scoop?
Is it juicy?
They just wanted to know everything that was going on in rehab with this girl. Secrets and things that the public wouldn't see. It was supposed to be an insider-view kind of thing.
And her getting this story would be her big break in magazines. I want to know how it ends!
She is in a big dilemma at the end. She has all this information. Does she publish it, hurt this girl who's become her friend, and get her dream job? Or not publish it, maybe keep the friend, and face the wrath of the magazine people? There are going to be serious consequences either way.
Does she make a decision?
Did you agree with it?
Yes, she handled it well.
Did you like the book?
It was funny. I enjoyed it.
It was funny? It doesn't sound like the sort of book with a humorous angle to it.
Katie has a funny attitude on life, and some funny things happen.
Would you recommend it?
What kind of age group would you recommend it to?
Late teens and up.
Would I be too young?
No, but there's a fair bit of language in it.

I want to say a couple of things about this book that aren't covered in the interview.

Katie drinks a lot but usually for what she thinks are completely acceptable reasons. She drinks when she's celebrating, when she's sad, when she's partying with friends, when she's stressed. Although she goes to rehab to pretend to be an alcoholic, she begins to realize that maybe she actually is.

There are a lot of funny bits in this book and the moral dilemma that Katie faces is thought-provoking but I also think this book will make readers take a look at their own drinking habits. At what point does drinking go from a fun thing to a serious problem?

Also, my daughter (the one who interviewed me above) loved the cover of this book. Every time she saw it on my desk, she would comment on how comfortable the bed looked.

On a lighter (and more personal) note, bonus points to Ms. McKenzie for mentioning Steve Earle in her book!

Thanks to Diane Saarinen and HarperCollins Canada for the book. You can browse inside this book at the HarperCollins website.

Find this book at Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, AbeBooks.com

More Reviews

Darlene, Peeking Between the Pages, 11 January 2010
"a fresh and fun, yet serious debut novel"
Colleen McKie, Lavender Lines, 18 January 2010
"Damn, I loved this book!"
Jonita, The Book Chick, 21 January 2010
"chick-lit with a heart, and I absolutely loved it"
Luanne, A Bookworm's World, 25 January 2010
"an addicting read for me"


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Added 18 June 2010.
Updated 07 September 2013.