For once, men—how to get them, how to keep them—aren't Bushnell's central focus, and her three main characters, all women in their early 40s, are surely her richest to date. Two of the three are married with children; all are at the top of their field. Wendy, a movie executive at the Miramax-like Parador, struggles to finish a potentially Oscar-winning flick while placating her unemployed hubby at home. And while fashion designer Victory Ford may date a Mr. Big-like character, she takes the relationship lightly.
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My thought was, why would I want to watch a bunch of white women gab and do sex? I got better things to do with my time. Well, after the heavy readings this past winter, I wanted something light.
Real light. Brain dead light. So I picked up Lipstick Jungle. And I gotta say, it was pretty much what I expected it to be, except it happened to be rich white women gabbing and doing sex. If I had read this at any other time, I would dropped it so fast, but like I said, after Kindred, this was actually a welcome read. I could turn off my mind, sort of, and read the candy gloss that was this novel.
Anyway, we see Victory as she strains to find a new look for the fall line, which consists of staring at the same swatches of fabric over and over until her assistant comes in to see her lying on the floor, hands pressed over her eyes.
But the assistant is used to such behavior. Bushnell portrays her as a woman who wants to be successful both in her job and as a mother. But when she has to fly overseas and comes back to the locks on their apartment changed, the husband and children gone, and a summons to appear in court, she realizes just how serious he is. Her attempt to control the situation the only way she knows how: by giving out money or offering herself for sex, makes things even worse.
Now, I think Bushnell is trying to make a point here about successful women and successful mothering. Perhaps her husband should have found out. Perhaps there really should have been a threat to her job. But no—her ambitions, goals, and desires are neatly wrapped up in a nice, little boring package. It is interesting how men are portrayed in this book as either power-hungry, overly ambitious men used to having their own way or soft, dumb, spoiled boytoys.
Who knows? The other two women simply form their solutions based on how their male peers would handle the situation. Instead, they become strangely male in their decisions. But you know what? I wanted lite reading, and by golly, I should treat it as such. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account.
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Sex is an ex in the city
My thought was, why would I want to watch a bunch of white women gab and do sex? I got better things to do with my time. Well, after the heavy readings this past winter, I wanted something light. Real light. Brain dead light. So I picked up Lipstick Jungle.
It's equally hard not to feel that there is more than just New York that's familiar here: hello snobbish fashion world, hello useless men, hello group of glamorous, ambitious career girls. But fans expecting The Continuing Adventures of Carrie Bradshaw are in for a surprise: the girly giggles about sex, shoes and caipirinha-related injuries are gone. At times you long for the old days when whole glorious scenes were hung on a single exquisite bon mot about, say, anal chafage, or prosthetic nipples. Not any more: these women are out to win, and win big. Nico is a ruthless publishing executive in a loveless marriage. And Wendy is a hotshot film producer who is juggling cut-throat industry types, troublesome "creatives" and a husband who is bone idle.
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If you ran a computer search to find the most frequently used word in Candace Bushnell's new novel, it would almost certainly be 'successful', closely followed by 'power', 'money', 'rich', 'women' and 'men'. Unlike the Sex and the City girls who made their creator rich, Bushnell's newest New York heroines have matured, rethought their values and decided that these boil down to career success, measured in multiple zeros. They are not desperately seeking The One, nor do they spend much time discussing their sex lives. They do, however, consume an impressive number of lunches while lamenting the misogyny of the boardroom. Fashion designer Victory Ford, magazine editor Nico O'Neilly and movie executive Wendy Healy are best friends in their early forties, each, through talent and hard work, nearing the top of her field.