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Sex and the City - Candace Bushnell

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Author: Candace Bushnell / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 29 May 2008 / Genre: Modern & Contemporary Fiction / Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group / Title: Sex and the City / ISBN 13: 9780349121161 / ISBN 10: 0349121161

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      16.06.2013 12:23
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      Not recommended

      I'm sure everyone has heard of the series Sex and the City, which spanned 6 series and 2 movies. This is the book that started it all, well, slightly...

      The back cover of the book is full of author quotes about how amazing the book is, including Helen Fielding's 'Intriguing and highly entertaining' quote, it looks promising.

      A few pages in, it all goes downhill. The book is a compilation of Bushnell's columns, and reads as such, It lurches violently from story to story, with some bit part characters, none of which we ever get to know in any detail.

      Each tale is told by a narrator, presumably Bushnell and her experiences of dating in New York and 'interviews' with her friends. Some of the experiences, in my opinion, are meant to be humourous, but the humour is slightly lost on me. It seems as though Bushnell is trying too hard in places to shock, and it somehow misses the mark.

      Some of the characters in the TV show appear, but their jobs and personalities are completely different, and there is none of the warmth of the TV show. For example, the character of Charlotte initially starts as a slightly naive journalist from London and her bewilderment after being badly treated by a man, skip forward a few chapters and the initial warmth is gone and she appears jaded by her experiences of dating in New York. Miranda and Samantha also appear, but I don't feel they have any of the warmth or sarcasm of the TV characters. I read the book wishing Miranda from the series appeared, simply to cut through so much of the rubbish in the book. Carrie also appears as a character, rather than the narrator, and some of the characters from the first series have their say in the book.

      Some of the storylines are familiar, as are some of the quotes, but being honest, if I had read the book first, I would have given the TV show a miss.

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      27.07.2010 18:34
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      Disappointing compared to the tv series, lacks depth, and majorly unsatisfying

      Sex and the City is the 1997 debut novel by Candace Bushnell. It is a collection of essay-style chapters originally written for the New York Observer in 2004, which we're compiled together to form the novel. The book is the pretense for the HBO tv series of the same name.

      The book is told primarily from the point of view of Carrie Bradshaw, who you made find recongnisable from the tv series. However all the characters remain primarily undeveloped, often recieving only the slightest of mentions which makes it near impossible for the reader to understand them. Characters such as Miranda, Samanta and Charlotte are very minor and easy to miss.

      Charlotte is portrayed as a sex-addicted English businesswoman, Samantha a movie producer and Miranda a cable executive but this is about as much as the reader is told about each character. There is no depth. It is impossible for the reader to connect with any of the characters - possibly, you may with Carrie, although this is a huge maybe.

      Although I criticise the depth of the characters I will allow that Sex and the City is a highly entertaining book. I found it difficult to put down and many a times did it provoke thought. I found myself applying certain situations to my own life. In a way it is like a guide book which lets you teach yourself the lessons.

      Once I began reading, I did find the book remotely gripping although I was not ultimately satisfied. In 240 pages I felt as though I had just skimmed over the story. There was no order to the book, and everything was just lightly touched upon.

      If you enjoy books such as Bridget Jones Diary or He's Just Not That Into You then this comes highly recommended. However if you are looking for something with a bit of a story then do not read this. This is more of a guide book than a novel, and I would not consider it to be 'literature'.

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        11.03.2003 18:22
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        Originally a weekly gossip column in the New York Observer, Candace Bushnell's 'Sex and the City' reflected the encounters and observations of one of Manhattans social elite. The book, a compilation of Bushnell's most compelling articles, was published two years before the TV series of the same name had gone into production. Controversial at times, this off-beat chronicle documents the lives of numerous socialites, celebrities and non-entities as they blaze their way through New Yorks fashionable bar circuit, devouring cocktails, men and women along the way. THE ANTI-ROMANCE "Here's a Valentine's Day tale. Prepare yourself..." Déjà vu? These words not only launch the first episode of the first television series, but also the first chapter of the book. The tale is of an English journalist who falls in love with an eligible New York bachelor, only to end up disillusioned upon realising the dating regime and rules that govern Manhattan. Fairly typical subject matter for the TV series. So, considering the first episode and this book have the first two and a half pages in common, you couldn't be blamed for thinking the television show is pretty true to life. You couldn't be more wrong. WAYNE SLEEP (WITH WINGS) Sure, a lot of the familiar stuff is there: the modelizers (men who only date models), Carrie's relationship with Mr Big, the trips to the Hamptons - even Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha all feature within. But they're not the same people; they don't have the same jobs, personalities - and in one or two cases - they don't have the same hair colour or even nationality (Charlotte is an English journalist and Miranda is neither a lawyer nor a redhead). Even the secondary character, Stanford Blatchley (Carrie's gay best friend in the TV series) is a million miles away from his screen persona. In reality (remember: this is non-fiction), Stanford is more of a long-h
        aired, Latin Wayne Sleep on heat, than the cute, balding and innoffensive guy portrayed by Willie Garson on the show. AN ANNUAL MANUAL? Before the TV show was even a pipe-dream, the book featured Bushnell on the cover and had an obvious target: the urban American fashion/party scene. It got raving reviews. Once the show became reality, Atlantic Monthly Press (the American publisher), put Sarah Jessica-Parker and Co. on the front cover and deliberately aimed it at Sex and the City TV viewers. It got bad reviews. The new cover misled viewers into thinking it was a show related souvenir manual when the gritty reality within is a far cry from the glossed-over lifestyle portrayed on screen. Add to that concoction a group of characters who only have a name in common with their celluloid counterparts, and you really can't blame post-1998 readers for feeling so disillusioned. Hardly Bushnell's fault; entirely the publishers. THE AGE OF UN-INNOCENCE So the television series is only loosely based on the book. So what? Don't get me wrong, the first chapter is initially so captivating, your eyes react like iron filings to the magnetism of every word. In an inspirational instant, Bushnell polarises her Valentine's Day tale with Edith Wharton's 'The Age of Innocence' by welcoming us to 'The Age of Un-innocence'. The stage is set and the reader is left gasping for the ultimate Wharton antithesis: a book about social independence, unrepressed sexuality and careless attitudes towards traditional values. SULK AND THE CITY Unfortunately, the intellectual observations are soon replaced by a writing style more suited to Woman's Weekly. Inconsistency plagues the pages as Bushnell loses her captivating eloquence. She quickly turns to sensationalism to prop up increasingly dull anecdotes. Fine: Sensationalism was always the intention; but by the half-way point, the ultra-modern openly sexual women
        get moody and monogamous. Romance and marriage are frequently pined for; relationships with men become afflicted with neurosis. The contrast couldn't be more painful. It's like watching a female version of Armistead Maupin mutate into Barbara Cartland. It's farcical. It's insane. It shouldn't happen. And thus the book falls over. THE ANTI-DIARY Although well edited, I'm not sure such a fragmented style was the correct approach. Sure, I can see a symbolism: adjoining newspaper columns dedicated to different characters seem as lonely next to each other on paper as the subjects lives invariably end up in Manhattan. Despite so much chaos and high-living, the seclusion of the city comes across in the format alone; very clever. But the chronology is confused and the reader is left guessing at the timing of events. The timespan from beginning to end is anybody's guess. And if only Bushnell named more famous people (who is Mr Big?) Sex and the City could have been the 1990s equivalent of the highly explosive Andy Warhol Diaries. THE AGE OF IRRELEVANCE Concluding: The lack of date and structure further dampens the sodden dynamite within. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Why didn't the publisher order a re-write of the columns to provide better continuity? The irregularity is understandable considering the years over which Bushnell wrote her columns, but the decision to lump them all together with such little revision was absurd. Given the subject matter, an obvious plot curve could've taken us from The Age of Un-innocence to an era of self-discovery and indulgence; it's certainly feasible - even with non-fictional content such as this. But between the author and the publisher, the literary highway was sabotaged, and the reader is taken on an irrelevant road to nowhere.

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      • Product Details

        A collection of Candace Bushnells Sex and the City columns, first published in the New York Observer before being immortalized in the television series of the same name.