Monday, August 31, 2009

Review: Lipstick Jungle by Candace Bushnell


Candace Bushnell is undoubtedly a tour-de-force in the world of chick lit, a writer whose novels are constantly referred to as examples of why women act the way they do, which especially rings true in the case of New Yorkers, single or otherwise. Her first novel Sex and the City, essentially a collection of her already published articles for the New Yorker Observer, redefined the genre of women's fiction and spawned a TV show that achieved cult status.

Ten years later, fans of Bushnell's sharp writing are treated to another major novel about single women, their careers, relationship and the habitat that is New York City. This time, the women are slightly older and wiser. Wendy Healy is the president of Paradore Pictures, a movie studio, and also an unhappy wife and mother. Nico O'Neilly, the most powerful woman in publishing, is trying to balance her extramarital affair with her sky-high ambitions when it comes to her career. Finally, fashion designer Victory Ford is trying to recover from the disastorous reviews her last collection has just suffered.

The novel is as glamourous, steamy and light as anything Bushnell has written before, but it also has a sense of start and finish, unlike her more jumpy novels Sex and the City and Four Blondes. The world of the rich and priviliged rings true, and it is not hard to jump right into the craziness of the world these three ladies live in. Although some plot elements seem uncalled for, or even grow tedious (particularly in the case of Wendy, whose marriage problems never seem to catch our attention), the novel works. Bushnell has long been a gliteratti connaiseur, but now she goes a step further, bridging the gap between her characters and her readers, as well as providing a stronger social commentary.

Finally, Lipstick Jungle works because of its characters. These three 40-something women are a welcome distraction from the pallette of silly, dumb chick lit protagonists we have been served lately. Wendy, Nico and Victory are all women on top, and although they struglle with a variety of life problems, they would never step down and let men do their job for them. In other words, they are bitches and proud of that. They would not whine about working for Miranda Presley - they would suck it up and ultimately take her down.

Lipstick Jungle has also been adapted for a TV show, starring Brooke Shields, Lindsay Price and Kim Raver.

RATING: 4/5

14 comments:

Lisa said...

40 something eh? May have to pick this one up! Good review, Nikola, as always.

Laura's Reviews said...

This books sounds great. I watched the show at the very beginning, but it lost my interest.

okbolover said...

Great review. Not my kinda thing though. Some chick lit I don't mind but I never really was into this show, or into Sex and the City. Way too girlie for me. I'd have to be in disguise to take this book and read it :P thanks for the info though!

Kerri said...

I really enjoyed the TV show so I imagine I'd like the book. Thanks for the review.

Ryan G said...

Great review. I haven't read any of her books in the past though they do sound intersting.

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justicejenniferreads said...

My mom watches the show and I wasn't aware that it was based on such an amazing book. The show didn't really spark my interest because when it was becoming a big deal to most people, I was already wrapped up in way too many other tv shows. Still, this book sounds like something I'd really enjoy.

stacybuckeye said...

Sounds pretty good. I liked the tv show and looks like I might enjoy the book. Thanks!

Jessica (BookLover) said...

I've seen pieces of the show, but never really sat down to watch it. But the book sounds good and your review is excellent. If I see this book while I'm shopping around, I might pick it up. Thanks!

Cynthia said...

I've never read any of Bushnell's novels, but I love that she seems to write about strong, independent women!

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Sheila (bookjourney) said...

I have never read this author. I have heard of the show but havent watched it either. The book does sound interesting though and it may be time I break into a new author. :)

Jenn-ay said...

I've been thinking about picking this up (I watched a few of the TV episodes). Maybe now I'll think about getting the book seriously this time.

Nina said...

I love this show, in the summer they showed season 2 here in Holland! Too bad that there is NO season 3! :(

gurinder said...

i watch lipstick jungle before but i didn't read this book yet.I love this show,hope that this book 'll be as good as show.

Brent and Emily, The Naughty Book Kitties said...

I L.O.V.E.D. The Carrie Diaries.

I'll have to read some of Candace's other stuff...

Great review. ;)

Brent