Contemporary retelling of Pygmalion set among the cutthroat Social Register crowd.
Poor Wyatt Hayes: It’s so boring when you have it all! The Manhattan blueblood has led a life of aimless leisure since obtaining his Harvard doctorate in anthropology more than ten years ago. His insufferable girlfriend Cornelia Rockman is a pedigreed socialite with the opportunistic instincts of a vulture. When she “trades up” to have her photo taken at a party with the 20-ish son of a private-equity billionaire, 37-year-old Wyatt senses “a terrifying shift in the natural order.” He dumps Cornelia on the spot and drunkenly vows to his friend Trip that he could take any girl off the street and turn her into a socialite. Enter Lucy Jo Ellis, just fired from her job in the garment district and now dodging the rain under an awning next to Wyatt. A deal is struck, and Midwestern Lucy Jo is transformed via diet, exercise with a personal trainer, facials, new hairstyle and designer clothes, as well as extensive lessons in elocution, vacation geography, the social register, the art of inoffensive cocktail banter and a CliffNotes version of culture. Wyatt has given her a fake identity (same name, different life) with the promise that after his experiment Lucy will have made enough important contacts to start her own design house. Meanwhile, Cornelia vows revenge on the usurper who has replaced her in Wyatt’s heart and on the social circuit; Trip and his longtime girlfriend Eloise have commitment issues; and Cornelia’s BFF Fernanda may decide to marry for love—can you imagine? Clark (Because She Can, 2007) has a keen eye, but the vacuous life of the super-rich is an easy target. That leaves the novel riding on the budding romance between Lucy and not-entirely-likable Wyatt. Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins they ain’t.
Begins with a fresh, funny eye, but runs out of steam halfway to its foregone conclusion.