Verdict: A potent blend of self-awareness and self-indulgence make CATWALK FAIL a star among model comedies.
Colin Bryce Hamilton is living the dream life. He’s a model. He’s surrounded by beautiful women who want him. He’s on the cusp of making it big in Milan–or Milano, as the truly fashion-focused know. Except it all comes crashing down after a wild sexual encounter leaves him with a penile fracture. Colin’s confidence–almost as important to his career as his chiseled abs–is absolutely shattered, and his work enters steep and dramatic downward spiral.
CATWALK FAIL, written by model, actor, and writer Jason Godfrey, is a hilarious and insightful look at the psyche of a model desperate to hold on to the source of his validation, even as it tears him apart. As Colin’s career crumbles, his sister, Jasmine, enters the field, forcing him to reckon with the realities of the industry (low pay, extreme dieting, exploitation, sexual harassment). While he tries to protect her without permanently bruising her ego, he has to learn that the things that he’s trying to protect her from are the things destroying him, too.
What could easily be a dark and dreary story is lightened by Godfrey’s gift for humor, particularly in Colin’s obliviousness, which alternates between endearing and infuriating. All the outside conflicts he sees for his sister also impact him, but he doesn’t see it. The story has a delicious sense of dramatic irony, with each character surrounding Colin–his optimistic sister, his intelligent love interest, his bro-tastic friend–playing an important role in showing him the truth.
Though there are some typographic and grammatical errors that can make CATWALK FAIL occasionally difficult to parse–as well as an overuse of contemporary music references–the book’s flaws are easily eclipsed by its strengths. Though Colin’s experiences are unlikely to exactly mirror those of readers, his struggles with confidence and self-sabotage likely will.
CATWALK FAIL avoids cliche and overly saccharine sentiment thanks to Godfrey’s ability to both poke fun at and genuinely discuss the ins and outs of an industry most people don’t understand makes the issues feel inconsequential. He brings a sense of wonderful, humor-filled humanity to a story that might otherwise fall as flat as a wobbly-ankled model on a catwalk.
~Melissa Brinks for IndieReader