Making Judgments on First Impressions

It is very easy in life to judge things on first impressions isn’t it? We’ve all done it. I did it once on holiday where I thought the young girls in the next apartment were silly, giggly and dim. It was only when I began talking to them that I realised they were exceptionally bright, educated and had the kindest souls; they became good holiday neighbours for the week and were a delight to talk to. I learned a valuable lesson there. Equally, many years ago at work, I heard my colleagues saying that they weren’t going to apply for an internal job that had been advertised because the manager in charge was terrible and had a vicious reputation. I could have easily listened to the crowd and not applied. But I went to find out more for myself, I got to know the person in question, and they turned out to be one of the best managers I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with and we are still in touch to this day.

Making Your Own Mind Up

You can adopt this approach to anything in life; the people you meet, the restaurant you walk into, the neighbourhood you drive around.  Step back, look at the bigger picture, spot the unobvious and then make your own mind up.

Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover

I recall September 2015, I was in a bar in Dallas, Texas when I found out that Jackie Collins had passed away. My husband bought a round of drinks at the bar, returning to our table he said, “It’s all over the TV news here, Jackie Collins has just died.”. I genuinely felt sad. It wasn’t just her passing and thinking of the affects that it would have on her family, but it was that we had lost a legend in the literary world and that there would be no more books or stories penned by her.

So, what does this have to do with Jackie Collins you may ask? Well, when it comes to her work, it is a classic case of not judging a book by its cover which many people do.

Promotion of Strong Women

Her books are often perceived as a coffee-time read for housewives, but they are so much more than that. Strip away the graphic sexual descriptions and you have a labyrinth of storylines, complex characters and free insight into the world of the rich and famous. Even deeper than that, she explored the role of women in society and in the workplace. It was woven seamlessly into the plot, yet quite glaringly obvious when you read between the lines.

The inventor of ‘Girl Power’, long before the Spice Girls existed, her female characters were strong or at the very least strong minded and would challenge the misogyny around them, often being the victors in an environment of complacent, arrogant men. Lucky Santangelo, one (if not the best) of her creations, is the daughter of an Italian gangster, who rebels against the boundaries of female stereotypes and over the course of several books, proves you can be a success in a male dominated world whilst not letting little things like wealth, power, drugs, adultery and murder get in your way.

Anyone who is familiar with Jackie’s works will know that her heart, soul and well researched material came through in every paragraph on every page and she didn’t just churn out book after book on a rapid conveyor belt to satisfy the spike of consumer curiosity or publisher demands. A dedicated following confirms this. The fact her books are still widely read, re-printed and available in contemporary formats such as audio and e-books, shows that her work resonates as much with new generations as it does with historic readers.

Worthy Message

The fashions, tastes, technology and culture may have changed from the time of her writing, but her message remains constant – women are strong and can achieve anything. Jackie’s daughter is documented quoting her mother as saying: “Lucky is who every woman wants to be”. That’s as maybe, but there are many that would want to be like Jackie herself, to have the ability to write with such skill and to deliver such a worthy message. And I am one of them.

Jackie’s books were always part of my beach bag kit along with my SPF 50, sarong and pouch full of Euros. Holidays were my favourite time of the year to read them as I could read for hours uninterrupted. Holiday plans are somewhat different this year, reading on the beach may be replaced with reading in the garden as social distancing measures and the pandemic continue. So, wherever you decide to read, may I wholeheartedly recommend Ms Jackie Collins, in any which format you please.

When the pandemic is over and people ask what you did to keep yourself amused, along with YouTube yoga and learning conversational Greek, I hope you’ll say that you discovered Jackie Collins and that you didn’t judge her books by their covers.

Anna Rose is a UK based award nominated blogger and published writer. You can connect with her on her blog & on Twitter.






Image courtesy of Annie Spratt.