31 May 2008

Candace Bushnell Week: Changing My Name To Victory

I'm not really going to rename myself after one of the three fortysomething heroines of Candace Bushnell's rather pedestrian fourth novel, LIPSTICK JUNGLE. If I wanted to emulate any of these three best friends who happen to be three wildly successful women in present-day Manhattan, I would pick Nico anyway, because she's the editor-in-chief. Not that her life bears more resemblance to mine than Wendy, the movie producer's or Victory, the fashion designer's.

At least these women, unlike stereotypical chick-lit stars, have jobs they care about and are desperate to fight for (Wendy is supervising her pet film, Nico is plotting her ascent to the top of a giant media conglomerate and Victory is weighing some attractive offers from other fashion houses). How desperate is well demonstrated, not put to words, until the last third of the book, where Bushnell inserts some very ham-handed dialogue about women and men, careers and family, love and business. Maybe you, dear readers, have had someone say to you in casual conversation, "The successful woman gives up her career for her children and everyone feels good. But it's not really practical in life, is it?" It hasn't happened to me.

LIPSTICK JUNGLE is not as wry or as well written as the other books, but it was definitely more of a page-turner. Still, Bushnell has this narrative trick she uses throughout the book which really drove me crazy. She would end a chapter on a character about to do something -- say, go to St. Barts for the weekend -- and then start the next section with her on the plane back and narrating everything which had just happened. A few times was fine, but after a while I began to feel like I was missing all the action in this book. But I got a little chuckle when she referred to a New York publishing company as "Ratz Neste." Oh boy, it sure is.

1 comment:

Jess said...

I agree with you there, and I think "ham-handed" is the perfect way to describe a lot of the dialogue, including the very last lines of the book.

Also, Ratz Neste made me laugh too.