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TOO COMPLICATED FOR WORDS
Let me just say this: I’ve gotten myself into one helluva jam, and if Tiffany and Chantel find out what I’ve done—well, I don’t even want to think about it. At the moment, I’m in between boyfriends—literally—Tiffany’s and Chantel’s, to be more specific. I never actually meant for it to happen. It just did.
You see, this all started when they went out of town and sort of left me in charge. It was the opportunity of a lifetime, the moment I’d been waiting for since we were all lined up in our bassinets waiting to be christened: Tiffany in her white satin-and-pearl dress with matching bloomers, Chantel in eggshell silk and silk tights, and me . . . plain white cotton, a bargain disposable diaper that was chafing around my thighs, and white ribbed socks—you know, the kind that come six in a pack. Do I sound bitter, bitchy? Wait, I’m sorry. Let me begin at the beginning and at least introduce myself before you starting thinking the worst.
My name is Margaret Drew. Yeah, I know, real plain and ordinary. That’s how most people think of me. To be truthful, it fits. At least it did, then it didn’t, then it did again. Basically, that’s how I got into this mess in the first place. But I’m getting ahead of myself again.
As I was saying, my name is Margaret, but for the purposes of this drama, you can call me Maggie. And believe me, this is drama, à la daytime-soap action. I’m a thirty-something, solid-size ten . . . well, twelve on a good day. And that depends on before or after PMS, eight hours of dedicated, no-kind-of-sex-at-all sleep, and a manageable hairdo. I buy all my good clothes on sale. I am the find-a-damned-good-sale Princess of Harlem. I can squeeze my feet into a size nine for three solid hours before breaking into a cold sweat, which is just about long enough to have a decent meal, catch a cab, and get home before my dogs swell. In an average month, I have about fifty dollars in my checking account, and my savings account hovers around the ten-dollar mark with careful financial planning. I’ve lived in the same one-bedroom apartment on 127th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue since my second year in college—you do the math—and I refuse to fall into the stereotype of “single woman found living with her cat(s).” Besides, cats make me sneeze. I opted for goldfish instead.
Wait! Ssssh. I think I just heard a car pull up. Ouch! Darn couch. I’ve been living here long enough to know my way around in the dark. Oh, did I forget to mention that I’m sitting here in the dark? Why? you ask. Well, I’m hiding, if you must know, until I figure out what to do about Calvin and James—those are Tiffany’s and Chantel’s boyfriends. Both of whom I’ve been alternately dating for the past six weeks—hence, my dilemma, among a host of other catastrophes.
You see this all started that night in the restaurant—well, actually, back in grade school. . . .
It was the first day of school. The weather was perfect for September: not too hot, not too cold. I was six—actually, I was five. My mother doctored my birth certificate so that I wouldn’t have to wait another year to get into school, and she drilled it into my head so I wouldn’t forget how old I was supposed to be. I guess I learned even back then to pretend to be something that I wasn’t.
Anyway, I was all excited about going to first grade, especially because I would be going to school with Tiffany and Chantel. Even in kindergarten, they were the most popular girls in class—in some circles. All the girls, except me, hated them. To be truthful, Tiffany and Chantel were the kind of little girls that you loved to hate, but pretended you didn’t. Everything about them was perfect; they knew it and had no qualms about flaunting it. They even had this way of moving their hips like metronomes in their frilly dresses that had the other little girls rolling their eyes. “Who do those hussies think they are?” the girls would whisper behind their backs. Well—maybe they didn’t use the word hussy, but you get the picture. But the teachers thought they were “so adorable” with their designer toddler outfits and Shirley Temple curls, and they had all the little boys waiting on them hand and foot.
“Oh, Stevie,” Tiffany would say in her tiny, sweet voice, “won’t you share your crayons with me? Mine are all old and broken.” She’d smile, flashing dimples and perfect little teeth, and Stevie would all but pour his whole box of Cray-olas in her lap.
“Billie,” Chantel would coo—everyone had an ie at the end of his name—“is one plus one really two?”
Billie would scoot over on the red rug, grab her hand, and hold up her pudgy fingers then count all the way to five, much to Chantel’s delight—and his. It never dawned on poor Billie that Chantel, even at the tender age of five, could count to a hundred, subtract two boys from three, and still wind up with four.
“Hey, Willie,” I remember saying one day at the lunch table, testing out my own feminine wiles. “Would you like to share some of my sandwich?” I grinned and suddenly wondered if it mattered that my two front teeth were missing. He screwed up his face and tossed his Twinkie at me. That was the last time I had anything to say to Willie with the ie.
But things were going to be different, I decided as I peeked out my window that September morning on the dawn of first grade. I was going to be different. I was going to work as hard as I could to be just like Tiffany and Chantel. The teachers and all the boys were going to just love me.
Is it possible for a five-year-old, pretending to be six, to have acne? Well, I did. Each week without fail, I broke out—on my forehead, my nose, my chin—you name it. My mother made my embarrassing condition worse by always lathering my face in Vaseline.
“I don’t want my child going out in the street ashy,” she said each and every morning as she smeared the goo on my face, and if there was any left over, she would put a dab on the toe of each patent leather shoe and shine them with a tissue. I pledged each morning as I marched off to school that when I grew up, I would never allow a jar of Vaseline within one hundred yards of my home!
But for some reason that escapes all logic, Tiffany and Chantel let me hang around with them—at the lunch table, on the playground, at the movies, slumber parties, you name it. It wasn’t until years later that I really understood why.
033-43934_ch01_3P.indd 4 5/1/10 9:04 AM
Excerpted from Divas, Inc. by Donna Hill.
Copyright © 2004 by Donna Hill.
Published in 2004 by St. Martin's Paperbacks.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.
Delicious Diva Tip #13: When in doubt, just do it anyway.
Tiffany Lane and Chantal Hollis are bonafide divas-in every sense of the word. They've also been Margaret Drew's best friends since they were children. Margaret has always been the plain Jane of the threesome, living vicariously through the exploits of her friends. But when Tiffany and Chantal head to Europe on an extended vacation, leaving Margaret to tend their apartments, Margaret decides to see how the other half lives. Co-opting their apartments, their boyfriends (current and past), their fabulous lifestyles and Tiffany's very savvy pooch, Virginia, Margaret finally feels like she has found the life she has always wanted and deserved. But her double living begins to catch up with her and Margaret might soon be homeless, manless, and friendless all in one swoop.
Posted July 7, 2005
Picked up this book b/c it sounded fun. Kind of ridiculous. The publisher's summary is even wrong, these two 'divas' were never friends with the main character, they just used her. After reading the diva book, the main character turns into a witch. She kept referring to Victoria as a real person. I'm not going to tell you what it really is. After reading the 1st paragraph on page 81 (made no sense), I resolved to quit reading if it didn't get much better. It was immediately after the Twinkie Willy thing that I quit the book, which I rarely do. Ms. Hill should not quit her librarian day job.
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Posted December 25, 2006
I usually find Donna Hill's novels entertaining, but not this one. It just didn't grab me. I couldn't finish it. But I will continue to read her books.
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Posted April 28, 2006
Posted August 28, 2005
The book is a page turner. Highly recommended. Characters are definitely someone that the reader can relate to. The protaganist speaks directly to the reader. You will go through the emotions and drama that she faces when you read Divas Inc.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 29, 2004
Posted February 25, 2005
This book has one of the most creative storylines I have ever read!! I could not put it down and read it all in one afternoon. The dialogue is 'reader-friendly' and invites you to come along for a very wild, divalicious, dramatic ride! Every woman aspires (or wishes) to be a Tiffany or Chantal when the reality is that most of us are Margarets and it is this issue of trying to be/pose as someone else that really hits home. In today's media obsessed society where role models are along the dysfunctional/artificial (and very airbrushed) lines of J-Lo, Beyonce, Pamela Anderson, and Top Model -- women especially have the tendency to think that the Platinum limit or Prada heel is higher on the other side but Margaret's experience shows that sometimes the best person you can be is -- yourself!! There are many other themes at play including self esteem/awareness, image, confidence, real vs artificial beauty, materialism/gold digging vs independence/ambition, personal success vs the appearance/illusion of, true happiness vs achieved or prescribed happiness/status, and ideal husbands/wedding fantasies vs lifetime mates -- Hill is genius at getting to the root of all of them. Hill also examines the notion of friendship -- why we invite people into our lives and allow them to stay even when they are no longer a fit. The ending is an absolute show stopper!! The characters sparkle and are hilarious right down to the dog and if you look closely -- you may find all of these people in yourself or your life. Truly delightful, hilarious, and ensightful read -- take it with you to the beach, add some mimosas and enjoy!! Great summer (or anytime) read!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 17, 2004
Posted August 2, 2004
Posted May 23, 2004
Maggie, Tiffany, and Chantal have been friends for a long time going back to pre elementary school. While the flirtatious Tiffany and Chantal have been dude magnets able to get males to do their bidding since first grade, Maggie has always been reticent and in awe of the dynamic duo. Tiffany and Chantal remain successful, obtaining fabulous jobs and homes as everyone considers the two women as Divas.<P> Maggie envies them but loves her pals. When Tiffany and Chantal go on an extended vacation, she agrees to watch their expensive New York apartments. Soon Maggie begins emulating her friends and though still overweight with glasses, hunks take notice of her for the first time. She learns that Tiffany and Chantal belong to the exclusive women only Divas, Inc., club for females who demand the best. However, as she begins obtaining multiple boyfriends and behaving like a Diva, Maggie worries that at midnight Cinderella will only have a mouse to show for her efforts.<P> This is an amusing contemporary tale that gently winks at some of society¿s ¿Ivana¿ like assumptions. Maggie is a delightful protagonist as she gradually turns from bookworm to diva. Fans will notice that this tale lacks Donna Hill¿s normal deep drama but readers who enjoy an urban Cinderella like frolic will appreciate the humorous somewhat biting DIVAS, INC.<P> Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 14, 2004
Donna Hill has done it again. Going off the beaten track of her usual romance novels, Ms Hill introduces us to Tiffany, Chantel, and Margaret. Tiffany, Chantel and Margaret have been friends since their early ¿bassinet¿ days. While Tiffany and Chantel have always been obsessed with being one of the smartest, the best dressed and the most popular, Margaret has always been considered to be the plain-Jane reliable friend. As their friendship progresses over the years, Tiffany and Chantel become true divas. Margaret stays 'good ol¿' reliable Margaret until she is left behind while they go on a fabulous 6-week vacation to Europe. Entrusting Margaret to look after both of their apartments and Tiffany¿s snooty dog Virginia, Margaret stumbles upon the world of Divadom. ¿So this is how the so called other half lives¿, thinks Margaret. This is the kind of lifestyle she has only read about; now Margaret begins to live a double life. Opting to fulfill her curiosity, Margaret begins to help herself to their boyfriends, cars, clothes and makeup. Trying to juggle her regular routine of visiting an eccentric grandmother, a domineering mother and Tiffany¿s nosy neighbor Wayne, proves to be more than Margaret can handle. Her double life begins to catch up with her and after all is said and done, Margaret may have bitten off more than she can chew. Ms. Hill has written a savvy, whimsical novel of a woman that if we don¿t know someone like her, we ourselves have been in her shoes at one time or another. Not in its entirety, but there¿s a little bit of Margaret in all of us. Kudos to Ms. Hill for providing her loyal as well as new readers with an upbeat, funny novel that will leave you laughing to the very end.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 11, 2011
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Posted April 18, 2011
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Posted January 20, 2010
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