Kat Jumps the Shark

Kat Jumps the Shark

Book rating: 04 Paperback

By (author) Melinda Houston

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  • Publisher: The Text Publishing Company
  • Format: Paperback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 153mm x 234mm x 24mm | 430g
  • Publication date: 28 August 2014
  • Publication City/Country: Melbourne
  • ISBN 10: 1922147818
  • ISBN 13: 9781922147813
  • Sales rank: 663,828

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Customer reviews

By Marianne Vincent 25 Mar 2014 4

Kat Jumps The Shark is the first novel by Australian TV critic and newspaper columnist, Melinda Houston. Kat Kelly, expert location scout, is approaching her forties when she realises she has, once again, chosen a man who is wrong for her. Miles, a successful TV director, is a great cook and well-domesticated, and his sweet daughter Bonnie has captured Kat's heart, but Kat finds she is still not happy. Leaving Miles is a major life decision that leaves her temporarily homeless, but Kat has the support of her best friend Bets, and she has Wilson the wonderfully calm Coffee Guy with whom to debrief about that and about the daily stresses of her demanding job. And she needs them, because the bosses of her production company have taken the crazy decision to turn their reality TV show into "Survivor - CBD". Before she knows it, she's also lumbered with a naive assistant (the daughter of a famous director) and an ex-footballer with a drinking problem as a show host. On top of that, her beloved Alfa is making worrying noises. But while life still seems to be ticking over OK, one by one things start to unravel, starting with a suicide and including a mugging, a shooting, a dismissal and a fatal car accident. This is a novel that will appeal to a wide readership, but especially avid TV fans who will appreciate and enjoy Kat's habit of categorising everyone she meets in terms of TV stars. Kat is a likeable if occasionally exasperating heroine, and her most of her reactions are completely understandable. Through Kat's job, Houston provides a behind-the-scenes look at the challenges and rewards involved in the production of a reality TV series. In contrast to that, making a TV ad has quite a different effect on Kat: "Her body was sore all over, her head was pounding, her stomach churning. I have an idiot hangover, she thought. A w*nking hangover. I have been over-indulging in the company of fools and my body is finally starting to reject them. She imagined herself over the next days, weeks - months? It certainly felt like this job would never end - developing more and more severe physical symptoms. Breaking out in hives. Losing her hair. Developing a series of tics and twitches until they had to cart her off, drooling and flailing, to some sort of secure facility for the terminally aggravated." Houston's descriptions are marvellously evocative: "Around her inappropriately dressed teenage girls, insulated from the weather by youth, vigour and the intoxication of school holidays, chattered in packs, exclaiming excitedly at nothing in particular." There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments in this novel, as well as some thought-provoking and lump-in-the-throat instances. A remarkable debut novel and a very enjoyable read.