‘The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp ~ A hilarious contemporary retelling of the classic society novel, VANITY FAIR, featuring the irrepressible Becky Sharp’
Sarra Manning is an author and journalist and is currently Literary Editor with Red magazine. Her latest novel, The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp, is described as ‘a savagely funny, 21st century remix of Vanity Fair’ and has just been published with Harper Collins.
Having never read the original Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray, I was delighted to receive a copy of The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp from Harper Collins Ireland. Any book described as ‘hilarious and contemporary’ is sure to delight, and it did.
I have my thoughts for you all here today..
I hope you enjoy!
About The Book
Becky Sharp has big dreams and no connections. Determined to swap the gutters of Soho for the glamorous, exclusive world behind the velvet rope, Becky will do anything to achieve fame, riches and status.
Whether it’s seducing society’s most eligible bachelors, or befriending silly debutantes and rich old ladies, Becky Sharp is destined for great things. Because it might be tough at the top but it’s worse at the bottom.
From London to Paris and beyond, Becky Sharp is going places – so get the hell out of her way…
‘Beautiful, brilliant, ruthless – nothing can stop Becky Sharp.’
Vanity Fair is a classic book and I always admire any writer who is willing to retell such a novel with a current twist and their own personal flair. Sarra Manning has taken Becky Sharp, a character originally penned in 1847/1848, and brought her to life in our modern day society in a very original and contemporary manner. Utilising reality TV and our current obsession with social media and social influencers, Sarra Manning’s novel is a very light-hearted and entertaining read.
Becky Sharp is in trouble. Orphaned quite young, she has always had to fend for herself. Toughened by all the challenges life has thrown at her, Becky is not one to lie down and take it, so she decides from a young age that she will climb out of the gutter and life will pay her her dues. Becky wants wealth. Becky wants status and nothing is going to stand in her way. She achieves the starring role she has dreamed of, by landing a slot in the Big Brother house and surviving, using her ingenuity and wily ways, to being one of the final two left in the house. Amelia Sedley, a wealthy socialite, is the other.
On leaving the Big Brother house Becky weaves herself into Amelia’s life and soon becomes Amelia’s ‘sister from another mister’. Amelia dotes on Becky and is in awe of her approach to life. Amelia sees a young girl with no home, no family and with such a ‘caring’ nature, that Becky soon finds herself becoming part of the Sedley household and immersing herself in the life of the well-to-do. Becky knows what she is doing. Her ambition is extremely focused and self-centred, with success her one and only goal.
Amelia is a gentle, shy girl lacking in confidence. She has a life-long crush on family friend George Wylie with her one dream in life being to marry him and have his children. It is how she expects her life to pan out. George has political aspirations and has his eye on a different prize but Amelia will wait for him. It is after all her destiny!
Becky uses people, neither age, creed nor gender mattering, once there is money and status involved and Becky can achieve another step closer in ascertaining her goal.
The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp is a witty and delightful read. The characters are all easily visualised, as Sarra Manning vividly portrays the personalities of each. We live in a world where image is everything for many. With the increased popularity of Instagram, Snapchat and many other forms of social media, we are exposed daily to a filtered world, where reality often becomes quite blurred. Stories can be fabricated creating enviable lifestyles, as we drool over the Pinterest posts and the sun-bleached images that barrage every minute of our lives.
Becky Sharp might be a character created over 150 years ago but how far have we really moved on as a society from then? The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp is a satirical look at our lives today and Sarra Manning has created the perfect player in Becky Sharp. She is quite a vindictive person, yet she also has some very redeeming traits, so by the end of the book you really don’t know whether to admire her or be appalled by her.
Whether or not you have read Vanity Fair has no baring on the pure escapism and fun aspects of this book. Becky Sharp is a fantastic character, with Sarra Manning bringing this classic tale to a new audience with a modern and highly amusing twist. A fun and charming read.
Whimsical. Charismatic. Satirical.
Purchase Link ~ The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp
Sarra Manning is an author and journalist. Her novels include Unsticky, You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me and her latest The House Of Secrets.
Sarra has written both adult and YA novels and has contributed to The Guardian, ELLE, Grazia, Stylist, Fabulous, Stella, You Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar and is currently the Literary Editor of Red magazine.
Sarra lives in London.
Twitter ~ @sarramanning