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BROADCAST JOURNALISM 101 - TORONTO (CANADA) 1986

If It Bleeds, It Leads - Laura Di Battista

The author of this novel, Laura Di Battista, I had known about previously because of her work as a journalist with the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) in Toronto. She had been the host of a popular local radio show, "Here and Now" that I listened to online from time to time. So, I was surprised and curious when I had learned earlier this month that she had penned a novel. And now, having freshly finished reading "IF IT BLEEDS, IT LEADS", I so enjoyed the experience.

 

The novel begins in 1986 in a TV newsroom in Toronto. Cara Angeli is a 25 year old young woman out of university who has been trying for months to make inroads into the news business. She shares an apartment with her best friend Cheryl, who works as a waitress in a downtown restaurant. Ever since she was a child, Cara had wanted to be a broadcast journalist. So, when opportunity beckoned, Cara accepted an entry-level job as a production assistant. Cara's colleagues, as fleshed out by the author, are like a cast of characters in a Shakespearean drama. Each of them are so compellingly real that any reader will be able to relate to them through reflecting on his/her own work experiences. Cara soon learns that she is in a newsroom full of lecherous and sexist bosses. The broadcast news business at that time was still very much a "old boys' club", dominated by men. But Cara perseveres and begins her steady climb up the career ladder. Along the way, she experiences love, happiness, and heartbreak. I won't go into details about any of that. I will leave it to the reader of this review, if I have managed to pique your curiosity in any way, to read this rollicking, funny, deliciously sexy, thoroughly entertaining and compelling novel.

 

For a debut novel, Laura Di Battista has succeeded brilliantly in evoking a story that encapsulates the essence of life in the 1980s for a budding journalist in a city (Toronto) that I love so well. Hope she writes another novel.