If you do not know this yet, which I am pretty sure you do if you follow me on Twitter(connect with me!), my current research project involves Chanel. Hence picking up The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons From the World’s Most Elegant Woman to read was a pretty obvious choice for me.
I had a chance to read it a few months ago. What was I expecting? I was looking for some sort of insight into Coco herself and the Chanel as a brand. The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons From the World’s Most Elegant Woman is definitely something that aims entertains rather than act as a source of knowledge. There are parts when I felt that I was reading the obviousness of the obvious (intentional repetition because it bothers me so much) e.g. author's struggle to buy Chanel’s original piece of clothing on eBay... Seriously eBay?
The book shows a rather one dimensional Coco and her business. Karbo’s tone is that of a fan rather than a researcher. This highly influenced the way I was reading the book and how it felt to me; admiration instead of fact hence not to be taken seriously. Overall I felt like this book aims to be more of a glorification of Chanel rather than a factual insight. I am still confused which genre this book should be.
The content present highlights the irrationality of Coco and a female’s right to it, as well as a connotation that lying is actually quite OK if it gets you somewhere. This book is not a critique nor is it meant to be but, glorifying,and glamourising unethical behaviour does not impress me. From one side the presented life lessons of Coco and Chanel are common sense, widely known truths repeated every three months by a different women's magazine. On the other side they are a variety of tips on how to lose respect from your friends, loved ones and become arrogant, mean spirited, and inconsiderate (in another words A--hole).
Overall I do not think that I am the target audience the author wished for. Karen Karbo’s book is just not what the description says it is. In my opinion this book is a rather disorganized attempt for something that could be have been a fantastic book. Instead of implementing witty humour throughout the book there is a ‘joke time’, that at the end of the day is as funny as your drunk uncle saying one of the jokes that you have heard so many times before: forced and not funny. The execution of the book, writing style, use of anecdotes was sadly also not impressive. It’s mildly entertaining, but reading it felt like a tedious chore due to the forced humour and generalisations.