Book Review: Tales From the Back Row by Amy Odell

Synopsis: A nonfiction account of one fashion writer’s life in the fashion industry.


Review: What a fun book! Amy Odell is the editor at (the website) and this books chronicles her start with fashion blogging and her experiences in the fashion industry.

Amy Odell has a wonderful writing style. Her writing is crisp and funny. She has an obvious love of fashion, and Tales From the Back Row was very enjoyable.

I tore through this book, because it was excellent, and also because I was headed to the de Young exhibit on Oscar de la Renta, and I wanted to read something about fashion before I went.

And no. I didn’t Bookstagram from the de Young, darn it. I left my book in the car. Talk about a missed opportunity!! And this is why I don’t have a nice picture of the book for this post. When you could’ve taken pictures in front of, and in, the gorgeous de Young Museum, no other picture you take can possibly compare. Bookstagram fail.

I love fashion, even though my typical outfit is basic pants and a basic solid-color top (you will probably never see me in a high heel or any printed fabric). I have my subscription to In Style, and I race off to the store to purchase the September issue of Vogue each year. So, the topic of fashion interests me. And the Oscar de la Renta exhibit was phenomenal. Cameras just don’t do justice to the beauty of his clothes. Some dresses I had seen on television or in pictures that didn’t blow me away were breathtaking in real life. The exhibit was stunning and gorgeous, and I’ll never look at fashion the same way again.

But back to Tales From the Back Row.

If you don’t like fashion you probably won’t care for this book. There are some interesting points about blogging, but not enough for me to recommend this to those not interested in fashion.

Amy starts out as a party reporter, and then moves up the ranks to fashion blogger, and then later on editor. Her move up the chain isn’t the interesting part of this story however. What is interesting is the insider’s view to fashion shows and the fashion industry. She talks about celebrities she has interviewed, and the ridiculousness of fashion without taking things too seriously.

She has some interesting tips for blogging and for those trying to make it in journalism. She talks about Internet celebrities, those who have become popular in social media and blogging. There was also a fascinating section about “how a trend becomes a trend”.

Each chapter is about one aspect of the fashion industry, with the chapter titles being: Bloggers, Trendsetters, Designers, Celebrities, Editors, Models, Everyone Else, You and Me. Each section was unique and interesting, and filled with names that I knew (Anna Wintour, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rachel Zoe), or ones that I needed to look up. So this book prompted me to look up a lot of fashion bloggers and various models and editors that I hadn’t heard of. So you may want to read this book with your phone or computer handy so you can put a face to a name.

This was really a fun read, and even though it is nonfiction, I read it very quickly.

Bottom Line: A hilarious look at the fashion industry. A must for anyone interested in fashion.

I seem to be very behind in my reviews!!  Here’s what will be coming up soon – reviews on Tehanu, A Million Miles in A Thousand Years, the Brides of Montclair series (a tribute read for my grandmother), and the many tags that I’m behind on!



10 thoughts on “Book Review: Tales From the Back Row by Amy Odell

  1. I’ve never been much of a fashion buff, but this looks like an interesting book. Read a fiction book called “Born Rich” some years back. It was probably released in the late 70s/early 80s? Heard of it?
    BTW, great background info and an amazing review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! This book really goes into how ridiculous fashion can sometimes be. It’s a fun book. I haven’t heard of the book Born Rich. Do you remember who the author was? There are a lot of books on Amazon with similar titles – I did find one that was called Born Rich by Georgia Raye. Sounds interesting if that is the one you’re talking about.


      1. I think that should be the one. Let me check. That book also dealt with the cynicism and façades in the fashion industry.
        I checked. That’s the book. First published in 1989. Take a look

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds interesting. I’m not particularly into fashion, but I think reading it could be fun.

    As a side note, Oscar de la Renta came to my college’s graduation to receive an honorary degree, and I…didn’t really know who he was.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a fun book!
      Oh wow – that is awesome that Oscar de la Renta was at your graduation! He was such an artist. His pieces were a joy to look at. Almost overwhelming in their beauty.

      Liked by 1 person

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