You'd think a book entitled 'Extreme American Makeover' would come with a cover twice-glossed-over and a tagline to match. Instead, it’s an impalpable hodge-podge of pink, purple and puny teen-talk. Thank your bling-bling stars, there's half a treat tucked inside. Mitali Perkins' 'Extreme American Makeover' makes for a pulpy teen read.
Sixteen-year-old, Pakistani-born Sameera Righton is the adopted daughter of America's Republican candidate for president, James Righton. As the Election Day furore heats up, Sameera joins her social activist mother Elizabeth Campbell to campaign for her father. It's finally time for the Extreme American Makeover as campaign enthusiast Tara Colby steps in and hands Sameera a haul over.
Child turns to chic as Sameera is pushed out of her pudgy poncho into knee-high boots and padded underwear. With the curves, come the make-up, the giggle, the kisses and the flashy camera smile. Plus the airy-fairy personal website with a horrific name to match, Sammysez.com.
The paparazzi follows Sameera on her campaign break, the annual vacation to visit her cousin Miranda at their country home in Maryfield. She gets on the next flight back to DC to save Gran the stress. A slew of political and cultural adventures follow. Sameera accounts them all (well, almost) on her personalised myplace.com blog. But is she ready to come out clean to all of America? In a bid to aid her father to victory, Sameera switches back to real on sparrowblog.com. It’s more juice, less fluff and the Rightons ticket to the White House.
'Extreme American Makeover,' takes the American election hullaballoo, mishmashes it with teenage angst and serves it in a breezy paperback. What's more, its refreshing theme sets it apart from the usual luv-schmuv, broken family teen tales we've had SO much of. This is simple, sweet and interesting even if it's a tad slow to start. If you're fourteen and in a bookstore, flip this over. If you're still reeling from your Babysitter Club days (The Baby-sitters Club series), settle in to this one with a cuppa of milk, and warm cookies. Here’s a read that won’t rattle you up, then again, it won't let you down.
This book is reviewed by Gayatri Makhijani.
('Extreme American Makeover' by Mitali Perkins is published by Harper Collins Publishers India, on sale for Rs 199/-)