Second Bookses

It's like second breakfast. Only with books.
Trading Up - Candace Bushnell I received Candace Bushnell's novel Trading Up in a care package from friends when I was on bedrest during my third pregnancy. Knowing that I had just discovered Sex and the City on DVD, one of my girlfriends assumed that I'd like reading this book. At the time, I was reading at least one and sometimes two books a day, and yet it took me three days to read Trading Up. The following explains why.::: The Premise :::Trading Up opens with Janey Wilcox, a character introduced in Bushnell's previous novel 4 Blondes, on her way to a party in the Hamptons. From the car she is driving (a Porsche Boxster) to her clothes, to her thoughts about her oh-so-trendy lipstick color (Pussy Pink), it's apparent that Janey is all about image and nearly nothing about substance.At the party, she meets people, sizing them up by how attractive they are, or how they could help her get higher on the social ladder. She also meets up with Comstock Dibble, a studio head she once slept with who gave her money while she was sleeping with him under the guise that she was writing a "screenplay."Janey also meets the up-and-coming actor Selden Rose, an attractive polo player named Zizi, and a host of other "names" on the party circuit. She also has a sister, Patty, who has married a rock star known as Digger, but never seems to negotiate the social waters in the way Janey wants to.Over the course of the novel, Janey throws herself at Zizi, who is actually having an affair with the married Mimi Kilroy, a sort of Christina Onassis character who was known from the time she was a baby as an heiress, marries the undesirable Selden Rose, and is dragged through the press as a high-priced call girl when the story of the money she got from Comstock Dibble is divulged, and yet no screenplay can be found.Janey's up-and-down social life (as well as her wardrobe, makeup and shopping) are chronicled, and the reader is supposed to be drawn into the story, wanting to know whether or not Janey can once again rise to the top as the cream of society.::: My Experience :::If you loved Sex and the City for merely it's fashion and name-dropping, then Trading Up might be the book for you. But over half the text is names: fictional character names, real-life celebrity names, designer names, and cosmetics names. With more names than plots, I found myself struggling to keep all the players straight, where the attractive men were few and far between while the overweight, balding men were the power players and the ones to be slept with for favors.Janey appears, in all cases, to be morally bankrupt. Even her marriage is based on where it will get her in social circles, and I was unable to find even one redeeming quality to her. When her own sister has problems, Janey's real concern is how it will look in the press and how it might affect her, not how her sister, who is probably the only genuine person in the book, is actually doing.The list of men she's slept with grows, and the list of skeletons she is hiding grows even longer. By about halfway through the book, I actually found myself hoping that she'd hit rock-bottom, either kill herself in a overdose or be murdered, and her sister would somehow end up with a fairy-tale life.Needless to say, it didn't happen, and I was forced to endure 404 pages of vapid Janey and her very boring life. If Paris Hilton's life is anything like this, only not having to worry about climbing up the ladder, I'll take back every nasty thing I've ever said about her, because what a sad, empty life it is.::: Overall :::Trading Up is an empty shell of a book, propped up with namedropping and lurid sexual escapades with fat, old power players and undesirable attractive men. This book, and its characters, are so shallow that they blow away easily in the wind.I'm a big fan of melt-in-your-mouth easy summer reading, but this one just leaves a stale aftertaste.This review originally published on Epinions:

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