Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

How To Sell Toothpaste How To Sell Toothpaste
by Leonie Thorpe

Supplied for review by Harper Collins New Zealand

Reviewed By: Simon Litten

How to Sell Toothpaste is the latest novel by Leonie Thorpe, an author whose name I may previously have seen as I browsed the YA section of my local bookstores but until now a complete unknown to me. An oversight I am glad to have had corrected.

In today’s world of literary classification and stratification How to Sell Toothpaste is a novel of indistinct heritage: Does it sit in literature? Young Adult? Or, out in the hurly-burly of general author and readership (as all fiction books used to once upon a time)? Where ever it should sit in the shop How to Sell Toothpaste is undoubtedly an amusing read told with a deft touch.

How to Sell Toothpaste tells the tale of Dominic Clayton, recent school leaver and filling his summer holidays before varsity doing a spot of interior decorating at his father’s workplace – an advertising agency. Unfortunately for Dominic his father appears to have developed the winning formula for stealing Dominic’s cool – by getting there first and being effortless with it. Dominic sees his only recourse in recovering that cool is to one up his father in the advertising game. And so the story unfolds…

I was impressed at Ms Thorpe’s skill that not only did the plot point of competing ad campaigns appear logical, but it also appeared natural. And by keeping to the central story of Dominic trying to outdo his father in an ad campaign for toothpaste (hence the book’s title) she has made the characters and their actions believable.

This was a wry coming of age tale, with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek. What the story did it did very well; I enjoyed reading it and was sorry it came to an end. A very definite keeper and an author to watch for – a sorbet for the jaded reader’s palette.

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