A vase of daisies and the perfect pair of black pants were not the ways in which Jane Laine expected to discover her relationship with the tall handsome Texan was over. But that was exactly how one of the major strings in her life was cut. On the surface her job as manager of the Dick Reese art gallery in New York looks perfect, but underneath she feels as if she knows little about art anymore. For one she hasn’t the foggiest idea why current ‘It’ sculptor of the decade Ian Rhys-Fitzsimmons receives the praise he does. She doesn’t “get” his work at all and waits for the day when he’s proven a fraud and his minute of fame is up. But when she commits a serious gallery faux pas, her heartless boss assigns her to a 5-month international art fair trip with the artist himself. At first Jane couldn’t think of a better punishment – if that’s what it was – but as she slowly gets to know the man she despises she realizes that a jaunt through Europe with eccentric but kind-hearted Ian is exactly what she needed to find her way again in life and love.
Have you ever scratched your head and wondered why you let a book sit lonely and abandoned on your shelf for so long before picking it up? If Andy Warhol Had a Girlfriend is one of those books. I adored both the bright, artistic cover and the charming title ever since I heard about it on Ari’s blog. I was elated to hear she was having a giveaway and even more thrilled when I won. I happened to get a lot of review copies and new books at once so I didn’t open it right away, but still. Not an excuse. Because it’d been too long since I’d read a book that became a read-in every-snatching-minute-here-and-there kind of absorption.
It’s hard to describe why it was so perfectly readable and engaging, but one reason is that plain Jane is completely endearing and there was never a moment I wasn’t seriously interested in discovering what happens to her next. There’s nothing particularly extraordinary about her; in fact I think her faults are more played up by far than her strengths. But there’s something very real and honest about her. She’s smart but struggles with self-pity and self-confidence and I wanted the best for her from the first page and more and more as the plot progressed. As a graduate-level art historian myself I both related and envied her ill-fated career path and enjoyed all the art references, especially the Andy Warhol quotes prefacing each chapter and her stint as a docent (museum tour guide) which explains the meaning behind the book’s title. Jane’s relationship with Ian, who is both untouchably brilliant and incredibly vulnerable develops gradually and I liked how the story was equally about Jane finding out how to be both happy and love life again while making the changes needed for this to happen. Overall If Andy Warhol Had a Girlfriend is a totally satisfying, lighthearted, sweet, and smile-inducing read I highly recommend.