The Beat

Madam Reads: Unsticky by Sarra Manning

When a guy tells you, “I just don’t love you” you know its all downhill from there. And that’s where we meet Grace Reeves, the poster child for the 21st century young’un; graduate with a mass of debt, has a thing for skinny jeans wearing, wannabe rockstar boys that are really no good to her and gets drunk on cheap wine. Grace is being dumped, on her birthday, worse, in Liberty’s, only her favourite department store and even more worse, right next to new season Marc Jacobs handbags. Of all the luck in the world! But that’s just Grace’s world, riddled with more lows than highs and she hasn’t a clue how to get out of the low without sinking even lower. Trapped in the closet, literally, at her day job at Skirt magazine, she has to deal with the atypical bitchiness of the fashion world where everyone but her, is getting ahead.

Life sucks.

And then she meets, Vaughan, suave entrepreneur and Art connoisseur, Vaughan offers her a way out of her life…a contract to be his girlfriend. At first Grace, like any girl would, thinks this is pretty ridiculous. Vaughan looks like the type of guy who could easily get any girl he wants so why the need for the contract. And why her? Morally, this is a touch debasing, she might as well be a call girl, if a little high class but a call girl all the same, because she has to be available at his beck and call, giving him his money’s worth. But on the other hand, her life couldn’t get much worse so what has she got to lose?

She signs on the dotted line and all too soon, Grace is transported into a world where money is no object, designer clothes, dinner parties and waiting on Vaughan and his every whim.

Unsticky is a story that resonates with most girls in one sense; we graduate from Uni, high on even higher hopes, raring to go and conquer the world with all the wisdom learned from textbooks and classrooms but no idea how to figure out this thing called real life. Reality bites- overdrafts need to be paid off, crap job even crappier pay, and for some reason everyone, besides you, seems to be doing just fine. Grace is stuck in a teenage mindset, we cannot understand why she doesn’t just stand up for herself, especially at work where she gets walked all over and she is horribly terrible with her money, drowning in debts accrued from her Uni days. Easy for us to say, but we’ve all been there before, the good old overdraft and credit cards debts. Ugh! At times she needed good talking to. But as she works her way through Vaughan’s world she takes us along with her and we are intrigued to say the least.

There is a depth and flawless characterisation of both Grace and Vaughan, something about them says they need each other to see and come to terms with their issues. Vaughan too is damaged, incapable of romance and haunted by memories he’d rather leave buried in the past, but, he has carefully disguised these issues with his wealth. Grace is immature, she desperately needs to grow up, so being with Vaughan tosses her in a world where she has to use her imagination and come into her own. Very quickly too.

And then there is the issue of the heart to consider…

Think Pretty Woman with just a pinch of 50 shades and that’s what Unsticky gives you.