Book Review: Misadventures in the Screen Trade

Alison Ripley Cubitt ~ Misadventures in the Screen Trade


Sydney 1981

Alison Ripley Cubitt couldn’t wait to make her mark. Having escaped her fractured New Zealand family only to end up dying of boredom behind a Mad-Men-era reception desk, she was determined to shatter the media’s glass ceiling. Thrilled to score an unpaid television internship in London, she still needed to survive alone…

Climbing her way up the career ladder, only to fall down again, Alison’s life-changing moment finally arrived when she landed her dream job at Disney. But after a documentary presentation to the masters of animation ended in disaster, the driven young woman refused to let her march to the top miss out on a spectacular finale.

In this entertaining true tale of the reality of working in the cutthroat world of show business, Alison shares the highs-and-lows of chasing bold goals. Navigating a patriarchal industry with wit and determination, her straight-to-the-point style will have you laughing out loud, and in awe of her courage.


There are many careers that are still ‘male dominated’, but if we go back 30 years, the situation was much worse. The world of media and television in particular, has always seemed closed to many people.

This memoir tracks one woman’s journey to achieve her dream of working in television.

Beginning with a memory of watching Snow White & the Seven Dwarves (in Malaysia, in German), we follow the ups and downs of the author’s career.

It’s an interesting take on the industry, giving us an insight into some of the challenges that come with working in journalism and media. Combined with elements of Cubitt’s childhood – which is far from idyllic, despite living in multiple countries – it also provides glimpses into the lives of several well-known names.

Although the book is described as funny, it’s not particularly humorous; parts of it are quite sad but the author almost glosses over them, which raises a few questions.

The choppy nature of the book doesn’t help its flow, which jumps back and forth across the years, with a collection of hazy childhood memories that add little except to show an ever-present fascination with television and Disney. I personally would have preferred more anecdotes about her career.

Overall, it’s an interesting and engaging memoir, but a little haphazard in structure and style. It’s also surprisingly short.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Book from Random Things Tours. Opinions my own.

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