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Pippa Middleton’s new book Celebrate gets panned by critics

Lia Grainger
Shine On
November 5, 2012

The kid sister of Kate the Great has been having a rough go of it lately. It seems Pippa Middleton is finally getting her moment in the spotlight, and thanks to a round of rather scathing reviews of her new guide to entertaining, Celebrate: A Year of British Festivities for Family and Friends, she's tasting firsthand just how unkind life in the public eye can be.

Pippa's bottom gets a lot of attention — as it always has — but most of that blame lies squarely on Pippa, since she mentions it in the opening line of the book, confessing that it is "startling to have achieved global recognition at the age of 30 on account of your sister, your brother-in-law and your bottom." Indeed.

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The Irish Sun doesn't mince words about the usefulness of Pippa's party planning guidance.

"It is clear that by writing the book Pippa set out to prove that there is far more to her than her pert bottom. But the fact is, there isn't." Zing.

What has Guardian reviewer Hadley Freeman learnt from Pippa's new book?

That the young party-thrower is "particularly skilled at wearing cosy knitwear which, while not necessarily what one can call a skill, is still, in some circles — Pippa's circles — seen as a valued asset."

Nothing else?

"I suspect that on many levels Celebrate really is a mirror reflection of the woman herself: expensively packaged, sleekly styled, stuffed with bland inanities and dizzy with images of Pippa and interchangeable posh young men in fleeces," writes Freeman. "If you ever wondered what being Pippa would be like, wonder no more." Ouch.

Still, Freeman's wrath is nothing compared to the biting sarcasm of the Telegraph's Christopher Howse.

"The flavour is of a twentysomething, smiling, prosperous, interiorly designed life, with other people's children, surely, as accessories," writes Howse. "Some 40 pages are devoted to the ideal children's party, held in the sunny outdoors. If you're stuck for an idea, try a 'sack race'. It works like this: 'Everyone stands along a starting line and, on 'Go', players start jumping in their sacks towards the finish line. Over-enthusiastic racers will most likely get themselves in a tangle and fall.' Yes, I think I get the idea. But how can you tell who has won? 'The first person to cross the finish line is declared the winner.'"

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Pippa, apparently not one to take criticism laying down, penned a long defence of her literary debut that recently ran in the Telegraph.

"I could have written a book that showcased the most extravagant or elaborate of occasions," writes Pippa, "After all, I spent three years working for an events company planning parties — but I wanted to produce something that was achievable; something that people would have on their shelves for years; something that was not too fussy — just simple and comforting."

Regardless of what critics say, the book is currently one of the top 150 bestselling books on Amazon (it's number 149), so clearly someone is interested in how Pippa throws a party. Or maybe they're just hoping for a glance of that famous bottom (page 163-164).

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