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“Tales from the Back Row” – Amy Odell

3.55 out of 4 stars.

Hilarious! As someone who works at an e-commerce retail website there are some parts that Odell hits on that are just so spot on regarding the ludicrous acts of the fashion industry. Fool you not though – you do not have to work in this line of work to get a good chuckle at how ridiculous the whole thing is sometimes (or most of the time).

Amy Odell calls this book “Tales from the Back Row” because she is essentially the lowest of the totem pole working for New York Magazine getting sent to these fashion shows to make an arse of herself by asking silly questions that will hopefully sell papers.

Personally, I picked up the book because I had heard of Odell’s previous work featured in “The Cut” by the New York Magazine and had always admired that she was young, shy, but not fearful to speak her mind through words that everyone would read within ten minutes of her publishing. I can relate because I feel much more powerful through writing than in a group conversation. Unfortunately, Odell realized real quick she had to leave her trepidation at the door when she had to write articles based on interviews with celebrities. She name drops a bunch – some may find that irritating but to me it was awesome because it was like gossiping with a friend. Another name dropper book I had read was “The Andy Cohen Diaries” that was not funny at all and got super annoying when he threw celebrities names around because the reader could tell he was treading on thin ice and didn’t want to offend anyone. Excuse me Mr. Cohen but you can’t fool us! We know how sassy you are and not being honest in your writing. Not Odell! She is left and right unmasking people through her words. How brave and hysterical at the same time.

One insightful chapter is when she received a backstage pass to the Victoria Secret Fashion Show. There, she spoke with models who had to be on liquid diets, work out twice a day, and go practically naked on stage 6 months after giving birth! Honestly, it was insightful because the models had a good points of view that they are getting paid to stay healthy. Unlike other modeling gigs, Victoria Secret wants the models to be toned and in shape. This goes against other runways that are begging models to be waif like. Who knew you could learn so much from Miranda Kerr! Of course Odell had a few good one liners thrown in there that made everything much lighter and less deep than the models were trying to make it. Refreshing to stay in check with reality!

I only want to give one example of some of the jokes because the book is on the shorter side so it goes quick. As most humor writing goes, one has to be in the mood to spend their time indulging in that. Sometimes I picked the book up and had other things on my mind so the book wasn’t heavy enough to distract and keep me focused. Tomato – tomatoe, you know?

As I have mentioned before, I believe it is good to mix up the types of books you read and the order in which you read them. I had just finished “Fates and Furies” by Lauren Groff so I needed a little light hearted fun for my next read. This book was perfect!




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