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Barbara Bourland Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

I'll Eat When I'm Dead (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Fake Like Me (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Barbara Bourland is an American author of mystery books. She is the author of I’ll Eat When I’m Dead and Fake Like Me. She is a former web producer and freelance writer. Her Fake Like Me is a light remake of Daphne Du Maurier 1938 novel, Rebecca. You’d be surprised that the main character lacks a name much like the narrator of Rebecca. The heroine’s namelessness gives the reader a sense of universality. Barbara’s books are characterized by multiple layers, storylines, and beautiful characters.

I’ll Eat When I’m Dead

I’ll Eat When I’m Dead is Barbara’s debut novel; set in New York gives a no limit satirical look at the magazine and fashion industry. The novel has been described as American Psyco meets The Devil Wears Prada.

The story opens up with the death of a 37-year-old Hillary Whitney. She was a fashion editor in the fashion-magazine industry RAGE, a famous company in the fashion magazine industry. The employees of this company are the most beautiful and fashionable in New York. Hillary’s cause of death due to cardiac arrest as a result of starvation is shocking to the outside world but not to those in the fashion world where the pressure to look appealing is constant. But as soon as the reader discovers this, thanks to the efforts of Inspector Mark Hutton, there could be more to fashion editor’s death than the police initially thought.
And so the most significant and most intriguing part of the story (mystery part) begins. As the detective investigates the growing crazy world of RAGE Company and its staff, the reader is introduced to Hillary’s friends, colleagues, associates Catherine Ono and Bess Bonner. These two are many differentiated secondary characters, and this gives us a chance to get to know them as their stories developed.

The events in the book spans over three months, the story moves swiftly fully loaded with vivid details of the fashion industry with commentary on everything from 24/7 social media, digital startups, drug addiction, the cult of celebrity, ethical production and the unthinkable lengths fashion models are willing to go to remain both young and beautiful. The novel gives a whole new meaning to the famous phrase “fashion victim.”

From the very first page, we are thrust into a ruthless realm of fashion, specifically in the fashion magazine industry. RAGE Fashion Book is a feminist and ethical look at the fashion world in an attempt to hold others accountable for their purchasing of cheap and factory-made clothing. In this fashion world, the author introduces other characters closely related to the deceased fashion editor. The novel operates on two fronts: one is a satirical look at the fashion industry and its arrogance. The entire story is an emphasis on what’s what, where, who’s, and who. For the layman, about many of these places, brands and objects will be recognizable. Barbara Bourland is a promising author who’s crafted something entertaining and seems to have more exciting stories full of satire on her plate.

Fake Like Me

Feminist art isn’t quite the central theme in Barbara Bourland’s second standalone novel, Fake Like Me, but feminism is the preoccupation in the art world. The story’s brave narrator is a painter in her thirty’s. She remains nameless throughout the story.

The book’s feminist themes become more pronounced as the story progresses, revealing it to be a “branch” of the classic dead girl thriller. Criticizing this sub-genre, Alice Bolin once said it’s a genre that’s more focused on dead women bodies, but in reality, it’s always and focused on men and their fantasies.
Bourland’s novel, Fake Like Me, gives us a female-driven investigation of a young woman’s death. The dead woman is Carey Logan, a member of an art group dubbed Pine City. She is also the narrator’s idol. Like Logan, the narrator was born and raised in a low-income family downtown New York City. Both artists scrambled their way into the same art school, but Logan was a few years ahead of the heroine. They both worked tirelessly for their success such that when Logan dies, the protagonist is left devasted and her death sends a ripple of light-headed greedy throughout the art school.

According to the rumors, Logan had quit sculpture art and moved to performance art in the last few years of her life. She left behind performance pieces that were yet to be unveiled. Question of who has the right to own the piece of art and whether it should be shown to the public spurs lawsuits and ups the value of her work. Fake Like Me unfolds at thriller pace but steeped in contemporary art theory. According to an interview, the author describes herself as a newbie artist but professional-grade enthusiast. Her dedication to the subject matter is evident on every page of this novel. The novel brims with allusions to Laura Owens, Marina Abramovich, and Lucy Dodd books.

Awe-inspiringly, the author’s scholarly knowledge never weighs down her narration, which zips through the pages like an artist’shand across a painting. The characters’ dialogue is well crafted.

Every bit of this story is remarkably well handled. There is a sense that the main character steps into Logan’s shoes but this doesn’t make her lose her identity, and her artwork never ceases to be necessary. In addition her surrounding from ramshackle Pine City to her friend’s modernist home spring to life in the reader’s mind.

The book’s title arises from different kinds of pretending. For example, seven of the narrator’s paintings burn down in an apartment fire just a few months before her gallery opening. So she secretly repaints them in a hidden art studio run by Pine City. This decision could get her charged with fraud. While at the studio she comes to learn about the truth behind Logan’s death and the book’s title takes a whole new meaning, one supercharged by the novel’s broader themes of class, feminism, and greediness of art world. If you enjoy reading art-themed novels with bits of feminism, Barabara Bourland’s books are recommended read.

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