REVIEW: 'Meat Market' by Juno Dawson Taught Me About Corruption In The Fashion Industry
Hello Fellow Readerholics,
I hope you’re all doing well in these strange times. I haven’t reviewed anything for a while so I thought I’d review something that I’ve been meaning to write about for ages. I read ‘Meat Market’ by Juno Dawson in February and I’m only just talking about it now, it was actually a really interesting read and I’m glad I read it.
Jana Novak’s history sounds like a classic model cliché: tall and gangly, she’s uncomfortable with her androgynous looks until she’s unexpectedly scouted and catapulted to superstardom.
But the fashion industry is as grimy as it is glamorous. And there are unexpected predators at every turn.
Jana is an ordinary girl from a south London estate, lifted to unimaginable heights. But the further you rise, the more devastating your fall …
Honest and raw, this is a timely exposé of the dark underbelly of the fashion industry in an era of #TimesUp and #MeToo. It might just be Juno Dawson’s most important book yet.
To be honest, this book took me a while to get used to. It’s told in Jana’s perspective and there are occasional snippets of an interview that she appears to be doing throughout the book. The idea being that she’s telling a story from her past. The book is also very British and it took me a surprising amount of time to get used to her ‘voice’ which I read in a British accent, by the way.
This book delves right into the glamour and horror of the fashion industry in a way that is at times, completely overwhelming. I found this sense of the plot being overwhelming to actually be one of the greatest strengths of the novel as it allows us readers to relate to Jana in a way that is incredibly authentic considering most people reading it will not become famous supermodels. This same authenticity is projected into Jana as her thoughts, concerns and actions fit right in with what I imagine a teenager with sudden fame would think and feel.
I really appreciated the way the novel explored real and complex issues in a way that was realistic. I will admit, I don’t know much about the fashion industry but from what I’ve heard in the media, the issues that are explored seem to be pretty accurate. Which leads me to my next point. The fashion industry is so, so corrupt. More so than I originally thought too. The way these issues were dealt with in the book was something that I considered to be a real highlight of the novel. It tackled real issues in the industry like sexual assault, racism, transphobia and drug addiction in a way that I found to be realistic and informative.
I would like to end this review on a lighter note by saying that I really liked Jana and her support system. Jana happened to be quite a flawed character but I felt that fit the narrative of her being a regular person who comes into a large amount of money and fame very suddenly. I also felt as if her character development throughout the book was some of the better character development I’ve seen in a YA novel. I also really adored her friends and the people in her life who were supportive to her. I loved her family and I would’ve liked to see more of her home life and the adjustments made to her familial relationships as her life changed so drastically.
Overall, this book was actually quite an uncomfortable read at times. It was also beautiful and surprisingly empowering. I rate it a 4.1/5.
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