Trading Up by Candace Bushnell

Trading Up by Candace Bushnell

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Hardcover (available in trade), 404 pages, 2003

Rating: 4/10

Reason for Reading: I didn’t learn after reading Four Blondes: Bushnell’s writing has nothing to do with the success of HBO show Sex and the City.

Synopsis: A flaky, greedy, completely self-absorbed Victoria’s Secret model, Janey Wilcox, tries to make her way up in New York City society through the worst means possible. Janey was first introduced in Bushnell’s book Four Blondes.

Why you should read this book: As a fan of the show Sex and the City (based on Bushnell’s first book), you might find yourself with this one in your hand. Put it back down.

Why you should avoid this book: This book isn’t just bad, it’s boring. Janey is whiny, spoiled, and not quite as smart as a pet rock. Considering the character wants to live the high life, Bushnell had ample opportunity to describe clothes, shoes, exotic locations, and fancy apartments, but the most we get out of anything is that it’s ‘big’ and ‘expensive.’ Bushnell could have done with a good editor cutting out a hundred pages, as much of the book is repetitive descriptions of Janey lying, whining, and admiring herself in the mirror. We get the picture. She’s shallow. We also don’t care a smidge what happens to her or any other character in this book.

Opening paragraph:

It was the beginning of the summer in the year 2000, and in New York City, where the streets seemed to sparkle with the gold dust filtered down from a billion trades in a boomtown economy, it was business as usual. The world has passed into the new millennium peacefully, the president has again avoided impeachment, and Y2K had fizzled like an ancient bottle of French champagne. The city shone in all its magnificent, vulgar, and ruthless glory.


‘Oh, I know, my darling,’ he said, moving around so that he was standing before her. He leaned over and took her hand. ‘I just couldn’t stand the way Comstock Dibble was looking at you. I kept thinking crazy things, like maybe you’d slept with him or were going to. And all I could think was that if you had slept with him, or if you did, I would never be able to look at you again, much less be married to you -‘ He broke off. ‘I know I’m an idiot, darling. You’ll have to forgive me.’

He chuckled, but for a second, he thought he saw an expression of guilt cross her face. But then the corners of her eyes crinkled up into kindly amusement. ‘Comstock Dibble,’ she twittered. ‘Oh, Seldon, he’s the last person in the world you have to worry about. I find him disgusting. And frankly, I’m a little insulted that you would think I’d slept with him.’ Her voice was full of confident amusement, but inside, she was annoyed. If he felt that strongly about it, she would have to be vigilant in making sure that he never found out the truth.

The dress in question was a white plastic vintage mini dres, which Janey had snagged from the designer Michael Kors a few days before. The dress had been designed in the mid-eighties, and there were only five in existence – it was a showpiece really, intended for eventual display in a couture exhibition. But Janey had seen it and had to have it, and against the mild protestations of poor, sweet Michael, had tried it on. The effect was startling – it was as if the dress had been made for her – and naturally, Michael had no choice but to ‘lend’ it to her, in her mind, permanently.
It was, she thought, gazing at herself admiringly in the full-length mirror on the wardrobe, the perfect weapon with which to batter the other Splatch Verner wives; by wearing it, no one would be able to forget that she was the famously glamorous Janey Wilcox, Victoria’s Secret model. The husbands would drool while the women would gnash their teeth, and there wouldn’t be a damn thing they could do about it.

Instead, try: American Star by Jackie Collins; Hollywood Wives: The New Generation by Jackie Collins.

Also by this author: Sex and the City; Four Blondes; Lipstick Jungle.

© Lisa Yanaky 2003-2007

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