Review: Fiction: A Moment Like This Anita Notaro
Transworld Ireland,£12.99, pbk,
Available withfree P&P on www.kennys.ie or bycalling 091 709350
Talent show formats like X Factor have taken over TV, so it's surprising there's never been a novel set in this world before. Anita Notaro has now done it and she is uniquely qualified, given that she used to be in charge of shows like Eurovision.
Her latest novel A Moment Like This centres around a young woman called Antonia, who lives in a village in Wicklow where she has been looking after her invalid mother on her own for years.
She has never worked, or had a boyfriend, and has no social life except for singing in the local choir.
When Antonia finds herself adrift in the world, she auditions for 'That's Talent' and is thrown under the national spotlight. It's not just the old ladies in her choir who think she has an incredible voice and she blossoms into glamorous 'Toni'. Think Leona Lewis.
However enamoured the public is with 'Toni', Antonia herself is not so convinced. As well as battling her self-doubt, she has to learn to navigate burgeoning friendships, hectic schedules, a nasty press, vicious rivals and predatory men.
And, on top of all this, the girl who never really had a life is falling in love with handsome doctor Niall.
Notaro tackles a variety of themes in this novel. The overriding one, however, is the importance of belief in one's self worth. An under-confident young woman faces what terrifies her and finds strength in herself that she never knew existed. It's an unsentimental story about the joy, and the pitfalls, of chasing your dream.
We may sit at home sniggering at shows like Britain's Got Talent, but this engaging novel gives us a real insight into the courage it takes to stand up in front of the world.