Sunday, May 29, 2011
Summer and the City by Candace Bushnell
I missed Candace, I really did. Last year I read all of her six books, one after another, in one single breath – Sex and the City, Four Blondes, Trading Up, Lipstick Jungle, One Fifth Avenue, The Carrie Diaries. I enjoyed all of them and wanted for more so much. When I got to the last page of the last book, I felt a sorrow for having read all of them and I wished there were more.
But what made me not to be entirely sorrowful about it was the knowing that there WOULD be more. Ever since I found out about The Carrie Diaries sequel, I was excited at the prospect of reading yet another book by my beloved Candace Bushnell, and I could hardly wait for it.
The Summer and the City book was released on April 26th this year, and I bought it on that very day when it first showed up in the bookstores. I enjoyed it so much!
Carrie Bradshaw is in New York now, attending writing classes and making her way to being a writer. New York City dazzles her with the beautiful parties, beautiful people, chic vintage stores and everything that is about the big city where the big success awaits her. Or maybe not? Turns out, becoming a writer is more difficult than she thought it would be. She has only 60 days of the summer to make her dream come true, or she would have to face Brown College in fall. But she will not give up.
Meanwhile, her new life in New York City is so exciting, that she can’t get enough of it. She met Samantha Jones, who helped her when she was robbed, and who promptly became her best friend (and her best teacher) in town. Guess what – Samantha Jones is engaged. Would you ever have thought of Samantha Jones being engaged to be married? Not in a million years! Yet she is. While reading the book, I was thinking – how come Samantha Jones is engaged??? It’s SO NOT Samantha! Stay tuned.
Carrie gets lucky, as she finds her stolen purse. Turns out, the purse got dumped by the robbers, and a girl from New York found it along with Carrie’s address book, so this girl calls Carrie to let her know about the purse. The two agree to meet in front of Saks; the purse finder says she can’t be missed, as she has red hair. When I read “red hair”, a flashbulb lightened in my head – Miranda, this must be her! So Carrie goes to Saks to meet the girl and get her purse back, but the red-haired girl doesn’t say her name. While reading this chapter, I was thinking, come on, wasn’t this supposed to be Miranda? Some more suspense to the story… So I expected to find the red-haired girl in the next chapters, and there she was (when she and Carrie meet again) – it really was Miranda, Carrie’s second friend of the famous foursome.
By the end of the summer, Carrie is ready to do a reading event, when she would have a public listening to her newly written play for the first time. This is the chance she has waited for, this is her opportunity to make it as a writer in New York. It depends on THIS if she is going to stay in New York and write, or go to Brown College.
So she reads her play in front of a number of people, but at the end it is not the way she expected it to be. Nobody seemed impressed by her writing talents, so she decides to go back home, and then to that dreaded college. But while on her way home, she gets a call inviting her to write a column in New York – her famous Sex and the City column in New York Star, or New York Observer should we say? She made it, Carrie Bradshaw made it as a writer in New York!!!
When returning to New York to start her new life as a columnist, she meets Charlotte, who was reading the Brides magazine (talking about Charlotte), and so the beloved foursome is complete – Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte.
While reading the book, I enjoyed rediscovering some of the girls’ stuff that we already knew from the previous Sex and the City books and movies. Like Carrie’s famous quote, “I can’t help but wonder”, a quote she used in her writing many times throughout the TV series and the two movies. Or Miranda snoring (remember Los Angeles in season 3, or Abu Dhabi in the second movie?). Or Samantha showing the finger at the beginning of Summer and the City the book, as well as in Sex and the City the second movie (the ’80 memory flash). Also, Winnie Dieke, one of the characters from Four Blondes, makes a cameo appearance in the book, as a journalist for New York Post who would cover Carrie’s reading event. It is not the first time when Candace Bushnell’s characters come back in the following books, this way making all her books related to one another as a whole epopee. And what about Samantha being engaged to be married? Forget about it, it will never happen!!! The engagement is broken and the wedding is called off, due to Samantha’s faulty fallopian tubes. Of course she wouldn’t get married, don’t we know that about Samantha? So, no wonder her adversity for marriage and weddings throughout the whole Sex and the City story, after being rejected by her fiancé like this when she was in her twenties.
Of course, I noticed some differences between this new story about Carrie, and the other stories that we already know – Sex and the City the book from 1996, the TV series from 1998-2004, the two movies from 2008 and 2010. For instance, according to the second movie, Carrie meets her friends in New York in a different sequence (first Charlotte, then Miranda, then Samantha), as opposed the other way around from Summer and the City – when she first meets Samantha, then Miranda, then Charlotte. Then Charlotte’s story from Sex and the City the book published in 1996 is a bit different from Summer and the City written by Candace Bushnell this year and Sex and the City created by Michael Patrick King – there was Charlotte, the English journalist, as opposed to the totally American Charlotte. But who cares about little differences – read the book and enjoy it!