This is the NY Times' review of Bling by Sia Mitchell. Looks like the reviewer didn't like it too much. HIP-HOP gossip lit makes its inevitable arrival in Erica Kennedy's gleefully trashy first novel -- and apparently the devil wears $200 Sean John sweatsuits, too. Henry Higgins transformed a coarse flower girl into, well, Audrey Hepburn; here, Lamont Jackson, the C.E.O. of Triple Large Entertainment, turns a demure, small-town, biracial singer named Mimi Castiglione into a ghetto-fabulous, Louboutin-shod ''low-budget Beyonce.'' Thanks to an army of ''improvement specialists,'' breast implants, blond hair extensions and shopping sprees with an Amex Centurion card, Mimi is finally glamorous enough to moan anonymously on generic rap and R & B songs. Fame comes quickly, but she'd rather be a bohemian neo-soul singer. Can't a diva get a little fulfillment around here? A woman struggling to find her voice in the male-dominated music industry has been a recurring theme in black pop expression since Berry Gordy enrolled Diana Ross in Motown's charm school. A quarter-century after hip-hop's birth, female stars don't get far without a powerful male producer and label boss, plus a posse of male rappers lending them street cred. They must resemble a pinup fantasy yet be likable to women, and appeal to the white kids who buy 70 percent of rap CD's. Mimi thinks she's treated like a puppet: ''It's all, 'Go here, say this, wear that, smile, sing this song we had written for you and . . . be quiet until we need you again.' '' ''Bling'' is less a female-empowerment tale than a comedy of manners. A large cast of thuggish rappers, bratty supermodels and rapacious executives flits through this book's runway shows, graphic sex scenes, trips to the Caribbean and a bloody catfight at a nightclub. No one would be caught dead in shoes that cost less than $400; one rapper rotates his numerous prosthetic legs to match the exact shade of his suntan. Kennedy paints a glitzy milieu so image-obsessed that Mimi, who is dating Lamont, is in danger of losing her good-girl soul. The author, a 31-year-old music journalist and a friend of the rap mogul Russell Simmons (she is godmother to his elder daughter), overloads her narrative with fly-on-the-wall detail, from Mimi's $75,000 sky blue Benz G500 truck to the diamond-studded laces on a rapper's sneakers. Far from being an oppressed ex-assistant, Kennedy doesn't have much of an ax to grind; this affectionate satire lacks the bite of other recent tell-alls. Still, there are enough thinly veiled characters to fuel gossipmongering on summer beach blankets. Naomi Campbell is reportedly apoplectic over the character Vanessa de la Cruz, an aging, bitchy supermodel. Is P. Diddy going to be mad that Lamont's flamboyant, bewigged mama bears a striking resemblance to his own flamboyant, bewigged mama, Janice Combs? And even madder that Lamont's long-suffering ex-girlfriend, Kendra, sounds a lot like Diddy's long-suffering girlfriend, Kim Porter? What weight-obsessed label chief inspired Lamont, and does he really secretly binge on candy bars? Though it's often funny, ''Bling'' is wildly overlong at 509 pages. Mimi doesn't hit enough lows to earn her happy ending. The implicit critique of mainstream hip-hop culture -- that all anyone cares about is money, fame and looking hot -- is old news, the complaint of rappers who don't sell records. And it's undermined by the lavish descriptions of parties and couture clothes. But for any woman who could never get past a velvet rope, reading ''Bling'' is like stepping into a rap video with an armed bodyguard and a $5,000 Louis Vuitton Theda bag.