Second Bookses

It's like second breakfast. Only with books.
Shopgirl - Steve Martin Two years ago when I was on bedrest with my third child, three of my girlfriends got together and sent me a care package that included several books, one of which was Steve Martin's Shopgirl. I don't know how or why I missed reading it at the time since I was reading anything that wasn't nailed down, but I found it recently in an under-bed exploration, and was shocked and amazed.::: Just an Ordinary Clerk :::Mirabelle works at the glove counter at Neiman's in Los Angeles, a job that has almost no customers, but exists just for the image of having a glove counter near the couture clothing. She is 28 and lives alone, having established a sort of routine to her life that seems depressing, but keeps her occupied. She has friends who seem to blow her off a lot, a sort-of boyfriend she slept with just for cuddling afterward, and draws small pictures of dead things in her spare time, which she occasionally sells through galleries.One day at work at the glove counter, she meets Ray Porter, a middle-aged millionaire who asks her out. So begins an odd sort of romantic yet father-daughter relationship that plays out over the course of a year or two, leaving both of them changed in the end.::: So Real As to Be Unbelievable :::I still haven't quite gotten over the surprise that this book was written by Steve Martin. I'm aware of the fact that he's written several screenplays and have actually seen Picasso at the Lapin Agile, but the idea of him as the author of a book seems too far-fetched, especially when it's Shopgirl.Martin is able, somehow, to not only get inside the mind of the fifty-year-old man searching for something he isn't sure of, and that might ultimately be unattainable, but he is also able to inhabit the mind of the disaffected 28-year-old woman drifting through her life like it's still the summer after college graduation and she still can't decide what to do. Mirabelle seems to go through life almost as if she is sleepwalking, blissfully unaware even of enemies, like the girl from the cosmetics counter who sets out to steal Ray from Mirabelle just because she feels that she can.Shopgirl is a mere 130 pages in length, but Martin has taken advantage of every single one of them to create a compelling character study of both these individuals. I honestly felt like it was a much longer book, not because it took long to read, but because the characters were so thoroughly developed that I felt I knew them in real life.As odd as it may seem to be reading such a compelling book by one of Hollywood's most famous comedians, Shopgirl is a book that shouldn't be missed.This review previously published at Epinions:

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