I know I said I don't do many book reviews. But, well, I had so much fun reviewing Nicola Morgan's Wasted and Caroline Smailes' Like Bees to Honey that I figured, why stop there? So today I bring you: Mousetrapped!
After visiting Disney World several times, I've had an odd fascination with Orlando. The endless plethora of box-like outlet malls, the wide streets that go on forever with no centre in site, and the crowds of squishy short-wearing tourists -- it seemed like a town plunked down solely to feed its exotic Disney neighbour. So when I won a copy of Irish author Catherine Ryan Howard's Mousetrapped, I couldn't wait to delve in.
Three big dreams, two Mouse Ears and one J-1 visa. What could possibly go wrong in the happiest place on earth?
When Catherine Ryan Howard decides to swap the grey clouds of Ireland for the clear skies of the Sunshine State, she thinks all of her dreams – working in Walt Disney World, living in the United States, seeing a Space Shuttle launch – are about to come true. Ahead of her she sees weekends at the beach, mornings by the pool and an inexplicably skinnier version of herself skipping around Magic Kingdom.
But not long into her first day on Disney soil – and not long after a breakfast of Mickey-shaped pancakes – Catherine’s Disney bubble bursts and soon it seems that among Orlando’s baked highways, monotonous mall clusters and world famous theme parks, pixie dust is hard to find and hair is downright impossible to straighten.
I love reading about behind-the-scenes work-life stuff (yes, I'm that pathetic!), and I wasn't disappointed: Catherine writes with wit and humour about her time in Orlando, and you get a true sense of what living in a town dominated by a massive theme park really feels like. The book includes lots of information about other facets of Disney and Florida -- including Celebration, the town created by Disney -- and provides a wonderful account of a space-shuttle launch.
Ireland v Disney: who comes out on top? You'll have to read to find out!
Coming up tomorrow: an interview with author Gary Murning.