Little Pink Slips by Sally Koslow

When her magazine is taken over by a bullheaded celebrity, editor-in-chief Magnolia Gold tries to go along to get along–until she gets handed a pink slip.

I am not ashamed to admit that I love a good ‘n’ dishy roman a clef. But Little Pink Slips was a HUGE disappointment. I felt like author Sally Koslow was simply recycling material from other, better books, and none of her satire was particularly fresh. Her worse sin of all? Squandering her source material.

Koslow was the former editor-in-chief of “McCall’s,” a venerable women’s magazine that went poof after a well-publicized dust-up with Rosie O’Donnell, who was brought in by the publishers to revamp the brand. That’s the reason I picked up this book, for some scantily fictionalized behind-the-scenes dish, but Koslow makes the Rosie characters such an outsized nightmare that it’s hard to imagine any of this being based in reality. It reads all reads like (bad) fiction.

The book isn’t helped by the intermittently sloppy prose or phoned-in romantic subplots, one of which feels directly lifted from the Coen Brothers’ Fargo. Of course, these love stories are generally the weakest part of these kinds of stories, but here they’re derivative and inconsequential.

I think the biggest problem comes in Koslow’s characterization of her alter ego, the goofily named Magnolia Gold (nee Goldfarb). Koslow casts her in the classic chick lit mold: low self esteem, unlucky in love, clumsy, and prone to being flustered in uncomfortable situation. However, it’s really hard to imagine how such an ugly duckling could have achieved the kind of professional success Magnolia has without shedding any of her insecurities. This book would’ve been far more interesting if Koslow had patterned Magnolia after Miranda Priestly, not the hapless Andrea of the beginning of The Devil Wears Prada. I would have much rather watched a shark wrestle with “Rosie,” as opposed to a duck.

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