Monday, 2 August 2010

Blind Review: Paradise by Katie Price

I can't work this one out, really, I can't. I think in its attempts to be brilliant it is unintentionally so. Let me explain.

Paradise is kind of a companion piece to Yasutaka Tsutsui's Hell, although I don't for a second think Katie Price or her ghost writer have ever heard of him, let alone been near a copy of Hell. In Tsutsui's book when people die and go to hell it is not so dissimilar from the life they led while alive. Paradise explores the notion of celebrity, and the celebrity scale (A-list, B-list etc.) as heaven.

Think of Dante's circles of hell, but upwards.

The protagonist is a girl called Angel. A name that must have taken all of a second to come up with. I will grudgingly admit though, it is a name which is appropriate to the books intent as a fable for our times. It is demonstrative of the character, and the celebrity world she inhabits.

For me though, Katie Price's vision is all of the tedium of celebrity laid bare. The gossip, the intrusion, the expectations (the shopping) all dressed up to seem desirable. Not unlike celebrities themselves, then.

And so it displays a fine (if unintentional) irony. Angel is in her heaven, but I don't think it's so far from hell for some people. Appearance, social prowess and inanity rule the day, and Angel is possessed of all these assets. She seems blithely ignorant that all around her the other characters are suffering for her rise to the top. Kindness has no reward, selfishness and personal gain are the name of the game, and Angel plays it so very well (although not through any 'evil' intent, she is not intentionally cruel as a character, just ignorant in pursuing the paradise fortold of in the holy tabloids. And this is important because the character is not evil, as such, she is just living her dream).

I say this is unintentionally brilliant because the main story is bland wish fulfilment, but behind that is the story of the supporting cast. Blissful ignorance is essential to Angel's Paradise, and those around her suffer in spectacular and often humiliating ways... Throw a mirror up to hell and it rises rather than falls, with one person laughing cruelly at the top. In Angel I see a kind of platinum blonde Lucifer. A fallen angel... with a boob job.

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