REVIEWED BY KIRSTY NICOLE POLE
‘Total Eclipse of the Heart.’…that’s it…my karaoke song. We’ve all got one, though we like to pretend that we’d never possibly be persuaded to blare into a microphone in front of a room full of strangers and embarrass ourselves, we’ve all been there before…and I had downed at least three glasses of Pinot Grigio to get me up there.
However, not even three glasses of France’s finest grape juice would be enough to get our protagonist, Maddie Mulhern, up on the microphone in ‘Confessions of a Karaoke Queen’. The daughter of cheesy 80’s pop duo Pineapple Mist, Maddie can’t sing a note (and is in no rush to prove it either!) so when Maddie’s parents announce that they are heading off on a reunion tour around Europe and Maddie is left in charge of their ailing karaoke bar ‘Sing It Back’ and it’s staff she can either pray to one of her parent’s life sized David Bowie cut outs or sign ‘Sing It Back’ up to take part in a fly-on-the-wall reality television series and pull them back from the brink of karaoke chaos….!
I had high hopes for ‘Confessions of a Karaoke Queen’ so I settled down, with a cup of tea instead of a microphone, to indulge. But was it a karaoke hit or a karaoke miss…
Maddie is a fun, friendly, laugh out loud central character and this theme continues with all of the characters that we meet, Ruby de Jour (‘Sing It Back’s’ resident drag Queen), Lou, Jaz, Simon and Andre…the guinea pig, but as I continued reading I struggled to relate to the numerous 80’s themed references and as Maddie searched for a solution to the club’s problems I found myself feeling a little bit like I’d read the story before.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of laugh out loud moments, Maddie’s dialogue and some one-liners in particular had me giggling uncontrollably in a coffee shop, attracting some funny looks before I buried my head in my carrot cake again and once the reality television show gets underway there are plenty of twists and turns to keep you entertained. Watch out for a character named Loaf….you’ll understand what I mean. However, I found it hard to feel the chemistry between any of the love interests in the book, Nick, the dashing director of ‘Blast from the Past’ (the name of the reality television show that ‘Sing It Back’ stars in) we find out very little about, I felt that with a little bit more back story I could have liked him a lot more and no matter how long I tried and as much as I cared about the central characters I found it difficult to enjoy the romances in the book. Without doubt, the best part of the book is the friendship between Maddie and best friend Lou, their conversations are hilarious and the reader gets the sense that they have been close friends for years.
All of the elements of great chick-lit are there, a good central plot, friendship, laughter, love and a well written main character but for me, maybe it was the lack of chemistry, maybe it was all the references to the 80’s but overall I was a little disappointed that ‘Confessions of a Karaoke Queen’ didn’t make me want to sing it’s praises the why I hoped it would.