erasing clouds

Book Review: Emma Forrest's Cherries in the Snow

by anna battista

Third novel for bestselling writer, journalist, screenwriter and friend of the stars Emma Forrest. Having left behind the world of Thin Skin, her previous novel and of its main character Ruby, a movie starlet with too many psychological problems, Forrest explores in Cherries in the Snow the life of Sadie Steinberg, a Brit in New York and a wannabe writer with a make-up obsession who works in a hip cosmetics company, Grrrl. Sadie’s job is creating catchy names for obnoxious shades of make-up, such as ‘Ass-Slapping Pink’, ‘Junkie’, ‘Jet Lag’ or ‘Jaundice’. The job is fine, the names keep on coming and Sadie seems to cope rather well working with her friends Holly and Ivy, the co-owners of the company, and trying hard to get along with colleague Vicky, who’s got an appalling dress sense and generally sports the look of a seven-year-old girl. Yet, there’s something missing in Sadie’s life and that’s love.

After various relationships with older men, things change for Sadie when she meets Marley, a graffiti artist with whom she falls madly in love. Everything would be fine if Marley wasn’t already committed to another woman, though, his eight-year-old daughter Montana, with whom Sadie automatically starts competing for Marley’s affection. As the story develops, Sadie and Marley fall out and make up hundreds of times, in the same way as Sadie and Montana fall out and start tantrums over food, Marley’s affection and, well, tutus.

Cherries in the Snow – its title is taken from a lipstick by Revlon – falls into the category “commercial books by women for women”, it is the sort of book you’d like to read on a beach or in an airport, while waiting for the next plane to take you to your holiday destination. The plot is rather weak, yet Forrest’s style is entertaining, sharp (even though she seems to use the same metaphor throughout the whole book…), funny and at times very sad.

Forrest is considered one of the wittiest and coolest writers around: she began her career as a journalist when she was only 16 years old. Her first job was pop culture columnist for The Sunday London Times, and since then she has written for various publications. At present she is busy working on a screenplay (for Brad Pitt) about the late singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley, and writing her next novel, Kooks, named after a David Bowie song.

Her previous experiences and her passion for writing are the proof that Forrest might go on to write novels of greater weight in future, but for the time being Cherries in the Snow will have to do.


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