Beyond the Blonde

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 October, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 October, 2005, 12:00am

Beyond the Blonde

by Kathleen Flynn-Hui

Penguin, $101

This roman-a-clef by Kathleen Flynn-Hui attempts to make a book of gossip-magazine trivia - and fails. Beyond the Blonde centres on the head-turning skills of Georgia, a miracle worker to the stars at one of New York's most exclusive salons. Highlights may be her thing, but unfortunately there are none to speak of in this work. Neither is there a story, really. The plot is simply the ascent of a small-town girl to top colourist in a big, bitchy city. Of course, there are incidents and episodes along the way, but these are inserted into the narrative with such lack of finesse one imagines the author's editor instructing her to 'place anecdote here', or 'introduce literary device there'. Those into retail therapy may appreciate the nod given to certain companies. But this gives rise to another problem: brands assuming the role of adjectives. One of the few moments I enjoyed was Georgia's observation that names of salons outside big cities curiously favour puns (The Mane Event, Dis-tressed, Shear Genius). An obvious one to describe this book would be hair today, gone tomorrow.