Tabloid Girl by Sharon Marshall

After finally getting her break in a tabloid newspaper, Sharon Marshall managed to stick with it for an entire decade, sacrificing love as a result. Along the way she did some things that weren’t particularly moral, and she probably spent more time drunk than she cared to imagine, but she enjoyed chasing down a story and trying to get her byline in the newspaper.In Tabloid Girl, Sharon recounts her memories of working on a tabloid and all of the stuff that goes on to make a tabloid newspaper what it is. Sometimes it isn’t pretty, but it is what it is. Is it entirely possible though that the reason for Sharon’s lousy love life is connected to her working for a tabloid?

I have to admit hearing that Sharon Marshall was writing a book about her tabloid life didn’t exactly make me immediately think ‘I must read that’ however I quite liked the sound of it – who doesn’t want to know exactly how the world of tabloids actually works? – so I was pleased to receive a copy earlier this week and decided to give it a whirl. It’s a short enough read – barely 300 pages – so I knew I’d be able to finish it fairly quickly even if I didn’t like it much. Thankfully I found myself enjoying the book and I have to admit, it wasn’t what I was expecting.

This is actually Sharon Marshall’s second foray into book writing; she co-authored Tara Palmer Tomkinson’s book The Naughty Girls’ Guide To Life. I haven’t read it, I’m not a fan of TPT, however if it’s as easy a read as Tabloid Girl it may be worth reading so I think I’ll have to be on the lookout for it. I have to admit, that Sharon’s writing style is so readable it’s unreal, I would hazard a guess that should she branch out into writing fiction, she would indeed be quite successful. I for one would buy her books. I assume it’s always difficult to write/read memoirs – particularly for reviewers, I hate reviewing non-fiction – but Tabloid Girl is an effortless read and it seems as if it was written effortlessly too.

Tabloid Girl is everything I thought it would be, it’s gossip-y, it’s full of completely ridiculous stories that sound more fiction than non-fiction and it’s just a fun and enjoyable read. The stories Sharon recounts, as I say, sound like complete and utter fiction but they aren’t, obviously. The things a tabloid journalist go through aren’t pretty and if I was ever thinking about going into tabloid journalism, this book would put me off. In fact anyone thinking of working in tabloids should steer well clear of the book, because it’s not as fun a job as it may seem. I did expect a bit more name-dropping, but there wasn’t any at all, which I assume is down to legal issues. Yes, there are celebrities mentioned – Jady Goody and her mother, Jeremy Paxman and others – but when it comes to the meaty parts, the celebrities who actually pay to be in the papers and the couple who constantly talk about each other to keep themselves in the papers, no names are actually named, which is mildly unfortunate.

Tabloid Girl is an excellent read though, and it really opened my eyes as to what it’s like to be a tabloid journalist. It’s easy to see why Sharon eventually wanted out, it is the kind of job that just drags you down constantly. Not to mention the fact her poor liver was probably near to collapse, particularly if it’s true how much she drank during her years as a tabloid journalist; I’m fairly sure they all must be in a constant drunken haze, if Sharon is right. I digress. If you’re into your tabloids and would enjoy reading about one woman’s quest to make her name in the tabloids, then this is absolutely the story for you. However if you want to be a tabloid journalist, read it at your own peril, it’ll put you off for life!

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