A Little Trouble with the Facts (Review)

July 18, 2010

Book cover for "A Little Trouble with the Facts" by Nina Siegal.Title: A Little Trouble with the Facts

Author: Nina Siegal

Publication Year: 2008

Pages: 304

Genre: Fiction

Source: Purchased from Chapters

From the cover:

Valerie Vane was an up-and-coming lifestyle reporter at a prominent New York City daily. Then she stumbled, rather publicly, and lost it all – her column, her fiance, her access behind the city’s velvet ropes. Now she’s on the obituary desk writing death notices, and it feels like a dead end.

However, when she writes about a recently deceased once-famous graffiti artist, the phone calls start. A mysterious voice on the other end of the line tells her the artist’s death was a murder – and if she was a real reporter, she’d investigate.

But can Valerie trade her stilettos for gumshoes?

I picked this book up as a beach reading book for my vacation to the Dominican Republic way back in March. I never got around to reading it, and so it’s been sitting on the window ledge beside my bed since then. Over the past few days, I finally got around to it, and now you get to hear my thoughts!

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from this book to begin with. It looked like it could be a little cute, a little funny, and maybe a little thought-provoking, in the “whodunnit” kind of way, but I wasn’t expecting much more than frivolous chick-lit … and that’s pretty much what I got.

For most of A Little Trouble With the Facts, the main character is a completely self-absorbed newcomer to New York CIty who lucked out and found herself with a writing job at a glossy, followed by an even better writing job at “The Paper”, and now has gotten herself relegated to Obits. You can’t really feel all that sorry for her, though, especially as you find out what happened to get her there – it takes a while to get the whole story – because it turns out that it was pretty much all. her. fault.

I mean, really. Yes, the catalyst was something that her ex-fiance did, but it could easily have been avoided, in some very major ways. I spent a lot of time throughout this book shaking my head or my fist at her and wondering what on earth she was thinking, and why she couldn’t see that she was the cause of her own problems.

After that, the story gets somewhat more interesting, particularly once Valerie (whose real name, by the way, is “Sunburst Rhapsody”) starts investigating the death of Stain, the once-famous graffiti artist. It continues in this fashion for most of the book, and then there’s a “surprise” in the last 20 or so pages. However, if you’re an attentive reader at all, you could have seen at least some of that surprise coming from miles away. It wasn’t exactly subtle.

Siegal’s writing was witty at times, but she also tried much too hard in some a lot of places. Not just with the jokes, either; character descriptions, internal monologues and imaginings, and even descriptions of actual events were often completely over-the-top as well. Here’s a fairly mundane example:

Buzz Phipps has a face like a new BMW sports car: sleek aerodynamic curves and a buffed, hot-waxed patina, tested for maximum performance on scenic mountain roads, seen idling in French hamlets before quaint patisseries. Around town, I knew, Buzz kept a harem of hair-care specialists, massage therapists, manicure-pedicurists, personal trainers, wardrobe consultants, eyebrow experts, ear-and-nose-hair pluckers. And there were fashion designers and boutique managers throughout Manhattan who’d rescheduled a Rothschild to offer Buzz a fitting.

I really do wish that I was kidding.

Anyways … I did finish the book, and it did sort of entertain me, just not in any way that really required me to think. So I’m giving it a conditional recommendation – this is a good book if you want something mindless to read quickly, like on a plane or a beach … but otherwise, skip it.

Rating:

8 Comments

  • Iris July 19, 2010 at 4:41 am

    In my experience it is so hard to find chick-lit that it worthwhile. This sounds like another book that doesn’t make the cut.

    • Carina July 19, 2010 at 12:53 pm

      Yeah, definitely. I’m not usually a chick-lit kinda gal, but I picked this one up because I was going to be on the beach for a week.

  • Amy July 19, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Hmm… I might skip this one!

  • Niranjana (Brown Paper) July 19, 2010 at 11:12 am

    I want to throw a Strunk and White at that excerpt!

    • Carina July 19, 2010 at 12:54 pm

      Indeed! I swear there were worse ones, but I should’ve marked them as I went, because I had a hard time finding a good example when I went back to write my review.

  • Ash July 19, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    I agree with Iris, it is very difficult to find chick lit that is worthwhile and I generally go into the books with the same expectations you had for this one. Maybe it’ll be a little funny, a little cute, and kind of get my intrigued. Most of the time this doesn’t really happen, but every once in awhile you find a gem. Maybe that is what keeps me coming back to attempting chick lit, knowing that sometimes I do find something I really enjoy.

  • zibilee July 19, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    This sounds like one I will probably skip. I am not that into chick-lit as it is, and if I do read chick-lit, it has to be really good, which it sounds like this one is not. Thanks for helping me decide on this book!

  • erisian23 July 19, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    skip it? i think i will..
    the snippet above is fantastic!! but i doubt i could take a whole book full of it.

    perhaps if the author wrote newspaper columns, i could get into those instead, short would be bearable.

    thanks for the heads up, this is one i would have added to my mindless pile as well, but now do not have to.

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