Genre: Non-fiction, Reference
Publisher: Murdoch Books
This book looked promising from the high-quality appearance of the cover and the imagery in this book. This could be a pleasant coffee table book if you ignore the words.
Written by a former fashion editor of Vogue Australia and Cosmopolitan. There is a surface appreciation for aesthetics, colours, art, anthropology and the history of colour but there is a visible lack of depth in the explanation or clarification of any of these topics.
Rather this book reads like a glossy fashion magazine filled with style, but very little in the way of substance, and small snippets of shallow information that’s written in a playful way.
One strange aspect of this book is the trite and seemingly random slogans of the self-help and inspirational kind that could be taken off bumper stickers from someone’s car or a billboard ad.
These quotes are paired with strange images that bear little resemblance to the words. There is a cognitive dissonance to this that’s almost comical. The photos have been taken in exotic locales of India, Morocco or South America, of people on the street who, it’s clear would not have the resources to ponder over these lofty themes or ideas. I found the pairing of trite inspirational quotes and photos of people from the Third World to be bad taste and the romanticising of poverty and the lives of poor people to be queasy. Surely – asking them about how they feel about their lives would have been better and more meaningful?
The style of writing is rambling, as though Alexander has ripped some notes out of a notepad and cobbled them together. It would have perhaps been more coherent if there was a narrative running through this book, rather than a notepad style.
I would not buy this. I am very glad it was a library borrow and not a purchase. The only redeeming feature here are the nice images, but there is no storytelling to correspond with the images. How all of this got past several copy editors before being published I’m not sure.