Sunday, 6 May 2012

Welcome to the big city, kid!

Summer and the City by Candace Bushnell -Review

*Warning* this review may turn more into a chin wag then a sophisticated, constructive review. If I absolutely loved it then I would have raved about it as soon as I put the book down. Instead this book took me longer to read then first anticipated and nearly just as long to write a response to it. Did I hate it? No. Did I love it? No. Did I find anything of interest? Yes. Perhaps it was because this book shared a few to many moments of truth for me. Mostly about the need to aspire to other peoples greatness or the less desirable question of what it is I should be doing with my life (not to mention the struggle to write).

You've seen the movie? Read the first book? Well here is the sequel to the Carrie Diaries. The names of characters are the same and the personalities are definitely evolving but if you're hoping for it to be exactly the way the movie depicts it, than no you have it wrong. If you loved the movie so much that your love has turned into obsessions and the need for complete continuation of movie to book or book to movie is a necessity and therefore a cardinal sin if doesn't, then don't read it. Although similarities are there and the feel and culture of the book radiates STC (sex and the city) it does leave you feeling a little deflated. For instance, in the book (and this is *spoiler alert*), Carrie meets Samantha first, then Miranda and finally Charlotte in the last 2 pages of the book. In the movie and the series, it was written differently. Also the way in which Carrie meets everyone is not the same in the movie (and lets not talk about the loss of virginity). So for me with this book being the apparent beginning of the hit show STC, I was surely disappointed. AND... I really enjoyed The Carrie Diaries book.

So to cut a long story short. Read it if you like a girly read. Read it if you like anything to do with the STC. Read it if you need some reminder of what it is like to make it out in the big wide world at the age 17, American style. There are a few 'dark' topics explored such as the inequality between men and women and sexual harassment but for me this wasn't the highlight. This book was about getting to know Carrie, a possible reason behind why Samantha will never marry and the flaw finding Miranda. I, like so many others L.O.V.E a good chick flick or romance novel but was not overly amused with Summer and the City.

But! And there is a BUT....I didn't mind spending my time reading this book due to the funny conversations that any good bunch of girlfriends should have, the uh ah moments and the simple idea of tuning out and letting the responsibilities of my 26 and 3/4 life disappear. Perhaps the approach is to read it with your besties and have a good old chin wag about it or as Carrie says;
"I on the other hand, could easily spend the entire day engaged in gossip, which I prefer to call 'character analysis'." 
Character analysis. Perfect explanation of what it is a group of girls* will do when they have nothing better to talk about. When they are done talking of last nights antics, this weekends proposals, the latest flick, the best purchase of the week, the great escape (the holiday not the novel), the ultra-cool outfit, what the man said, what you said to the man - we then finally get down to the character analysis. Hey! I know I know, not all girls are like that. But come on we have all done it, today, yesterday or even 10 years ago. It happened. We did it and we still do it - maybe now we do it as woman with a few polished words, constructive criticism, looking out for their best interest or simply 'character analysing'. And we may even talk about the actual book, The Great Escape.*of course this a stereotype, which is highly depicted in a lot of teen movies and therefore my take is a very broad take.

So the funniest moment in the book for me was the fact that this author decided to place me or the stereotype of me in this book. If you have read previous posts of mine you will find that I'm on a journey of self discovery, I'm trying to escape never never land and I'm basically deciding what it is I want to be when I grow up. With no such luck of discovering that sweet spot - just yet - I have decided to possibly go back to studying. And I just may decide to do my Vet Nursing certificate. You would think after 4 years of studying at University that I wouldn't want to go back to studying but I secretly love to study shh. And considering I originally thought that right up until the end of high school I was going to be a famous actress on stage simply living the dream - I am now resorting to what is called the 'default' occupation.
"She wasn't a model when we met, though. She was studying to be a veterinary assistant. I take a sip of my coffee. That's like the default profession for girls who don't know what they want to do. But they do love animals." 
But hey if I can't have the spotlight I will stand firm on believing that being a left-hander makes me unique! And I have to take this uniqueness with me everywhere I go because when I first started auditioning I was continually labelled as the beach blonde girl perfect for such starring roles in home and away. HA HA to them, for they didn't know I dislike the beach and prefer a grassy hill, am part of the honour society at my university and I am left-handed.
"She must be left-handed, because left-handed people always wear their watch on their right wrist so everyone will know they're left-handed and, therefore, possibly more interesting and special." 
So what did this book teach me. It taught me that;
"Just because something doesn't last forever, it doesn't mean it wasn't meaningful while it did last. It doesn't mean it wasn't important."
It taught me that I just want to be able to say I am who I am because I know I have got there on my own terms.



  1. P.s excuse the spelling mistakes. 6 hours worth of driving over 2 days and posting at 9pm on a Sunday night will give you little patience for spell and missing word checks :) x

  2. Love your review! Very much looking forward to the next one.

  3. i am now compelled to read this book, thanks to your very real review.
    The best part?
    seeing this:

    It taught me that I just want to be able to say I am who I am because I know I have got there on my own terms.

    Love it :) xx