The Diva's Guide to Selling Your Soul
Kathleen O'Reilly
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Buy *The Diva's Guide to Selling Your Soul* online

Diva's Guide to Selling Your Soul

Kathleen O'Reilly
Downtown Press
352 pages
April 2005
rated 2 of 5 possible stars

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“V” is a forty-year-old woman from New Jersey who gave up mediocrity and being a size 14 – by making a deal with the devil. You probably think that I’m joking, but I’m not. V literally sold her soul to the devil, who is strangely enough a woman named Lucy. Now, Lucy, she’s the devil – she used to be in heaven, but she found it to be a “limiting place,” and she didn’t like the way that God was running things. Lucy apparently stirred up too much trouble, so God kicked her out - so she became the devil and she became the ruler of Hell. Now Lucy resides in New York (a city she claims to have invented) finding “victims” whom she convinces to sell their souls to her in exchange for nine incremental powers – you get a new power for each recruit you bring in. So not only have you sold your soul to Lucy the Devil, you now have an ongoing job to find “new recruits.”

This is what happened to V (also a New York resident); V tired of a boring life where she was a single woman with a big butt and big thighs, and she simply did not have a lot of excitement in her life. For the cost of her soul, V now can get whatever she desires by casting spells (courtesy of powers bestowed on her by Lucy in exchange for her soul). V now has a perfect body which she encases in designer clothes, she owns a luxury penthouse and she owns a shop on Fifth Avenue where she sells her own overpriced line of Sonata bags. She flits around at the “see and be seen” hot spots in New York and, overall, life is good for V.

If V can stomach the fact that she is doomed to go to hell and that she is required to continually bring in other recruits to meet the same fate, she’s got it pretty good. She uses her powers to taunt her ex-husband, Marv, whom she caught sleeping with her former best friend, Kimberly. If V needs a guy, she just casts a spell on someone who looks interesting, and he immediately desires her (which happens a lot, anyway, because V is now beautiful). V’s handbag shop is flourishing because she has the ability to make women “fall in love” with her Sonata bags – and all women know that no mortal woman can resist a good bag, even if it is going to cost you a few thousand. If V wants a new bauble or a new designer dress, poof!, she casts a spell and she immediately has it in her hot little hand.

So life as a worker bee for Lucy the Devil is going pretty darn well for V – until she hits a few “speed bumps,” which forms the basis of this novel. One day, V begrudgingly rescues a drowning girl and her dog. Lucy catches wind of this act, and that lands V in hot water; one of the cardinal rules for soul-sellers is to not “do good.” So V’s powers are diminished and Lucy expands her thighs (seriously!) as punishment – just until V gets back on track and finds more souls. To further complicate things, when V saved the little girl, she met an attractive, wonderful man named Nathaniel who does not know that V has sold her soul to the devil. Nathaniel likes V just as a regular person, and V did not have to cast a spell on him to garner his attention. While V finds herself falling in love with Nathaniel, there is no room in her life for a special guy like him. He just does not fit into the picture.

Further problems are heaped on V’s plate when her errant mother moves into her penthouse and becomes the personal assistant for Shelby, one of V’s “friends” who has succumbed to Lucy and sold her soul. This is just the beginning of the problems that are bestowed on V, and all of this gets her thinking about where her life is going and the fact that she has sealed her fate by giving it up for the devil. V decides to go out with a bang and uses a charity auction as her stage, in which she hopes to speak her mind and make a last-ditch effort to doing something right. At this point in the novel, near the end, the reader sees a glimpse of V’s thoughts on morality, ethics, values and fate; she looks back and sees what a mess she has created for herself and she decides she is going to make a statement. But enough about that – you can read this book if you want to find out what happens.

I did not enjoy this book very much; V’s antics and her whining about her predicament are repetitive over time, and I got bored. V is not a likeable character, and her “turnaround” at the end of the book, as well as the ending, comes across as shallow and pat. However, V is shallow, so perhaps that is what the author intended. Humor is peppered intermittently throughout the book, but I did not find myself laughing out loud as I do with many chick lit books – bemusement, at times, was a more accurate reading experience for me. That said, The Diva’s Guide To Selling Your Soul certainly has a unique storyline that some may find to be a refreshing break from the more typical chick-lit genre, which tends to have recycled themes and storylines. While I was not drawn into the plot and thought it came across as a bit too gimmicky for my tastes, it was a fast read and while it was not my cup of tea, perhaps it is yours.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Shannon Bigham, 2005

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