Book Review: Spin by Catherine McKenzie

Synopsis: It is the day before Kate’s thirtieth birthday when she is asked to celebrate; the only problem is that she has an interview with her dream job the following morning. Katie manages to make the meeting fifteen minutes late and still a bit drunk… Needless to say, she didn’t get the job. Katie is given a second chance when the company’s “sister” magazine offers her an undercover position to write expose on the latest celebrity ‘It Girl’ Amber who was just admitted into rehab.  If she gets through thirty days without drinking and completes the article, Kate will get her dream job. But what happens when Katie makes friends with Amber, starts to fall for a certain celeb’s manager, and begins to admit she really does have a problem with drinking?

Author: Catherine McKenzie is Canadian; born, raised, and currently living in Montreal. This is her debut novel, published by HarperCollins Canada, and has become a national best-selling book. French and German translations will be available sometime this year.

Plot: An alcoholic who refuses to admit she has a problem with drinking agrees to go to rehab so she can write an expose on a celebrity who is also in rehab. Throw in a few ex-boyfriends, an angry best friend, a disgruntled roommate, and a potential love-interest and you have gold.

Theme: I’m sure there is a theme to this book -it deals with so many issues like addictions, friendship, love, honesty, family, responsibilities, etc- but for the life of me I can’t seem to get philosophical enough to figure it out just yet. It’s one of those books that you just need to let simmer in the back of your mind.

Point of View: I ordinarily have a bit of trouble reading narratives written in the first person. I don’t know what it is exactly, perhaps not having that omniscient view on everything that is happening outside of the main character’s head? But I don’t think this book would have worked as well in third-person, and I very much enjoyed seeing things from Kate’s perspective as being in her head can be really quite amusing.

Romance: There are a few love stories in this book: Katie’s ex-boyfriend and current possible love interest, plus Amber’s on- and off-again relationship with celeb Conner. Put them all together in one place and what have you got?

Unfulfilled Promise: There is a hint of question when it comes to Henry because, towards the beginning, he implies that he knows all about addictions and recovery so that you wonder if it is from his own personal experience or just his association with someone who does have an addiction. Not to mention Katie and her sister who used to be close, but haven’t been for years, and you really want them to make up their differences… perhaps that is left for another book?

DiY: If there is one thing this book encourages you to do it’s to drink. No, not really. It makes you really want to take up running, actually. If you’re anything like Katie –which I am- you start off slow. Do some gentle stretches to limber up and then walk for a few minutes to warm up your muscles. After that jog for five minutes and then walk home. The next time you go out, add one or two minutes to your jogging time and then, eventually, you’ll be well on your way to being healthier.

Quote: I clutch my aching side. I can’t believe anything outside of childbirth hurts this much. “How long have we been running?” I pant. She looks at her watch. “About five minutes.”

The Verdict: I really enjoyed this book. At first I thought I just wanted to read Catherine’s other novel, yet not only was the library wait for it longer, but a classmate highly recommended this one. Turns out, I loved it!

Would you get drunk the night before an interview? Would you do anything to get your dream job? 

Previous Reviews: CalhounInto the NightSheer DelightsMr Cavendish I Presume

Waiting on Wednesday (Feb-2)

Yes, I know these two books are already published, but I am waiting for them to become available at the library! The novels are Catherine McKenzie’s “Spin”, and more recently published, “Arranged”.


Katie Sandford has finally gotten an interview at The Line, her favourite music magazine. Only she shows up to the interview drunk, because she went out to celebrate the night prior. The Line gives her an assignment for its sister magazine of celebrity gossip: following a alcoholic socialite into rehab. Kate just needs to last the thirty days required, but things get complicated when she starts making friends… especially with Henry, the cute celebrity handler.


Anne Blythe is always a bridesmaid, but never a bride. When her best friend announces her engagement, Anne is desperate enough to call a dating service she happened to see advertised… Except she didn’t noticed it was actually one that arranged marriages instead! A few months later, Anne finds herself on her way to Mexico to meet her “fiance” and discovers neither Jack nor the company are as they seem.




Previous Waiting on Wednesday: Feb-1