Sunday, June 5, 2011

Review: The Frugalista Files

In 2008 journalist Natalie McNeal decided to try and get control of her debt and her financial life. McNeal set up a blog to chronicle her journey. This book is the product of that blog. The book is essentially a compendium of blog posts. In terms of content, the book is fairly similar to other books in this genre. The content likely will not surprise most readers; McNeal learns to make do with the clothes in her closet and cook meals at home. Potential lay-offs at the paper where McNeal works provides a somewhat interesting twist, and she must decide whether to take a buy-out, or keep her current job. As a newspaper journalist the threat of cuts is always looming.

McNeal is a good writer, and she has an accessible, conversational style. I'm not convinced, though, that blogs translate well to books. There's not much in the book that goes above and beyond the blog. I also found that this was a book best read a few pages each day; it's not the sort that can be read in several-hour stretches. I'd prefer to see McNeal write an independent book apart from a blog, as she is a technically good writer. She seems like the sort of woman I'd like to meet for a drink. That's great for a blog, but with the book it seems that McNeal has sold herself short.

Natalie McNeal, The Frugalista Files (Harlequin, 2010) ISBN: 0373892292

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