Thanks to the ladies over at Jezebel, we learned the first chapter of Tyra’s debut novel, Modelland, had been posted on Barnes & Noble’s website. We did a read-through and, believe it or not, it’s actually worse than we had imagined.
We’ve had a bad feeling about Modelland ever since Tyra described the plot as Harry Potter meets ANTM , and when the over-the-top model went on Good Morning America wearing a giant yellow feather over her eye to promote the book, we were just downright scared. Now that we’ve actually read part of the book, we can honestly say it makes no sense.
We’d pegged Modelland as an easy read, but decrypting Tyra’s over-caffinated stream-of-consciousness writing style hurt our brains. Also, the main character’s name is Tookie De La Creme.
We will give Banks credit because we’re pretty sure she actually wrote this book. An example of the Tyra-esque prose: “The hairy hag was Abigail Goode, sideburns in full glory, faint mustache above her upper lip, unshaven leg hair coating her calves, underarm hair swaying in the wind, and a DOWN WITH RAZORS! picket sign still in her hands.” Yep, there definitely wasn’t a ghost writer — or an editor for that matter.
Here’s an excerpt from the B&N website, we think the text speaks for itself.
Thousands of girls stampeded to the square all at once. Heels clacked. Dresses swished. Hairdos wobbled. The T-DOD theme song boomed a pulsating beat. There was one rule and one rule only: a girl must be walking in order to be chosen.
Other than that, there was no prearranged runway on which the girls could walk, so everyone created invisible ones wherever they were standing. Violence was not encouraged nor was it condemned, and some girls’ parents insisted on adding martial arts training to their walking lessons in preparation for the big day. T-DOD Square was an every- man-for-himself or, more precisely, an every-girl-for-herself event.
Scores of girls marched down their own stretches of the square, paused, posed for the cameras (real and imaginary), and then turned around. Trains of walking girls intersected with others. One area behind Tookie was so crammed with street vendors, it bottlenecked into a slow, shuffling line. Some walkers had only enough space to take a few steps before they had to stop and turn. Tookie’s heart went out to a young girl in a ruffled pink dress who seemed way below the unofficial thirteen-year-old age requirement. She marched in place as if she were on a drill team.
Riiiip. A girl stepped on the train of a walker a few feet from Tookie and tore the fabric right off the dress. Both girls fell forward into a heap. The walkers behind them stepped over their bodies and continued.
Crash. The De La Crème white and cream blow-up tent went down as two brawling girls entered it. Oof. A girl who looked as if she had never walked in heels before stumbled, breaking the tips of both stilettos. Two girls got into a fight at the end of their makeshift catwalk, rolling to the ground. “Kenya, use the Gyaku Zuki move!” her mother screamed. “Reverse-punch the hairy hag! But watch your hair, sweetie!”
And then Tyra does fantasy…
More gasps and screams rose in the crowd as the huge clock in the square ticked past the six- minute mark. Suddenly, Scouts from Modelland were everywhere. An asteroid rocketed to earth, throwing up chunks of marble all around the square and causing nearby runway walkers to flee in hysterics. A stunning Scout emerged from the rubble, with skin that seemed to be made of rough stone. She wore a bathing suit ensemble that appeared to be made of rocks. She tapped a tall, long- haired girl in a plain, dingy cotton dress. The dress wasn’t nearly as fancy as most of the outfits the other girls were wearing, and its front was wet with tears. When the girl looked up and saw the Scout, her jaw dropped.
And so did ours.
Should you be so inclined, you can read the rest of the chapter at Barnes & Noble.