ForeWord Reviews

great books independent voices

The Overnight Socialite

Foreword Review — Nov / Dec 2009

Some inherit money. They live a life that others can only fantasize about, funded by Daddy’s signature. Sure, they may have some honorable accomplishments; they may be distinguished academically—but they aren’t quite satisfied. What’s prized is being the “it” guy or the jet setter. Meet Wyatt Hayes IV.

On the other hand, some are born unlucky. They have to work as lowly lapdogs to topnotch fashion designers, doing crummy work for years in the hopes of some day, somehow, making cubic zirconium into diamonds and their “look” into the “look.” Meet Lucy Jo Ellis.

In The Overnight Socialite, written by Bridie Clark (author of Because She Can, and writer for the New York Times and Vanity Fair), Wyatt and Lucy lead lives poles apart. Their eventual connection reveals the true magic of “being someone.”

Wyatt is bored with his money. In fact, he’s bored with his life. He’s looking for a way to spite his ex-girlfriend and current “it” girl, and do something with his life other than swan about with a useless Ph.D. in biological anthropology. Fuming about the high-class New York women who make a life out of getting on Townhouse’s cover, Wyatt comes up with an experiment—take an average girl and coach her to be a “socialite.”

Next scene: a rainy night. Enter Lucy Jo Ellis. After being publicly humiliated at a work event (public as in people-draped-in-fur-and-stumbling-on-Jimmy-Choos and humiliated as in falling-through-a runway-wearing-an-outfit-ten-sizes-too-small), she runs away in the pouring rain, looking for a cab. Wyatt sees Lucy, sopping wet, average-sized, mildly good looking, and deems her the perfect candidate for his social makeover.

Sound familiar? Of course it does. It’s a Big Apple retelling of Pygmalion / My Fair Lady / Pretty Woman. Three months later, Lucy and Wyatt make an appearance at the Fashion Forum Gala, prepared to take on the socialite life. What follows reveals less about New York’s upper crust than it does about the connection between Lucy and Wyatt. Dressed to impress, The Overnight Socialite entertains more than just a chick-flick film. The characters carry the story, and the point? Maybe life can be worthwhile even when Daddy pays for it. (December) Samantha Breaux