My last post gave some small insight into how I already felt about this book, but I was only halfway through. I am now finished, so I can say with full comprehension that Four Blondes by Candace Bushnell was one of the worst books I have ever read, and I have read some bad ones recently, so just wait for those reviews. I had an idea to start taking a lot of notes when I read, since I thought it would help with my reviews. But in the case of this book, I found myself just writing spiteful and angry comments, since I am not sure it warrants such a thoughtful analysis.This is my full review.
The book is about four women in New York City. They do not intermingle, nor do I think they even know each other, and each woman gets her own section. I think it would be best for me to break down each woman’s story to get a better understanding of the whole thing. There might be what some would consider “spoilers,” but I doubt anyone would read this book after my review or seeing other reviews online.
The first story, entitled “Nice N’Easy,” is about Janey Wilcox, a model and former movie star (one B-rated movie). The main plot is that she needs to find a man to stay with for the summer in the Hamptons. She is narcissistic, selfish, quite stupid, and by all means a prostitute. She is obsessed with others’ looks, even her own family, and despises her sister who has actually made something of her life. In fact, I think the story of her sister would have been far more interesting. Janey is proud that she has to rely on others to get by, particularly men. When things start to go bad for her, I find I do not sympathize or pity her, like I would any other heroine. In fact, I am kind of angry in the end when things go well.
The second story, called “Highlights (For Adults),” is about Winnie. Well, actually, it is more about her tortured husband James. I say tortured because Winnie is kind of a bitch. The beginning of the story starts out telling us how great they are together because they “hate” the same things, and then goes on for two pages about things they hate (which they turn out being hypocritical about). Winnie wants success for James, but really only so she can ride his coattails, which in fact is what she did by marrying him (they are both journalists). It ends up that they hate each other, but they are both fearful to leave. In the end, they both have an affair, making Winnie happier, and James more scared (that Winnie will find out). Such a nice ending, don’t you think?
Princess Cecelia is the third story, “Platinum.” She is neurotic and paranoid. She snagged a prince, who for whatever reason works as an executive at a T.V. show, but she is very unhappy. She thinks someone is poisoning her, but really she is just taking a lot of pills. She is horrible to her husband and ends up making friends with another star, famous for killing her husband, and goes off on a wild drinking/coke binge. Her husband is cold, but when she goes into an episode, I feel more sympathy for him than I do for her.
The last story is incredibly short, “Single Process.” The woman telling it does not give her name, but she is a writer who is given an assignment to go to England and find out about sex. The story is mostly about how the English hate sex, how they are bad at it , etc. It seems more like one long joke on the English than it does about the writer. She claims she “fell in love” with an Englishman after a few days, but when her assignment is over, she meets someone on a plane and moves on within hours. I ended this story thinking it was supposed to be Carrie from Sex and the City.
I can honestly say that I despised every character in this book, possibly aside from the writer, but her story was so short it was hard to tell. I know this is just chick lit, but it is poorly written chick lit. A character should be someone we are interested in, whether we care about them or hate them, we WANT to know what will happen to them. Maybe it’s even someone we relate to. Either way, we have a vested interest. I had none of that with this book. There were also times that I became frustrated with Bushnell’s writing style. The conversations were often clunky or awkward, and during Winnie and James’ section, every other sentence was a parenthesized remark (kind of like how my paragraph about them went).
I think it is clear from my statements above that I do not recommend this book, not even for a fun summer read at the beach. There are many more novels out there that can give you simple enjoyment, but without being trashy.
To completely detoxify my brain, I am moving away from the chick lit and contemporary fiction genre and going with something more along the literary lines. I am going to start reading Life of Pi by Yann Martel. I bought it for a class in college and honestly never finished it. I have began it many times, but I am hoping that this project will give me the extra willpower to finally complete it. The only downside is that the book has about 320 pages, so it might take me longer, pushing my review further back.
In the meantime, I plan on reviewing several books that I have read this year, including some more trashy books and some from the fantasy genre. I would also like to start doing a “special” post that does a comparison of books made in to movies. As I said in my last post, we saw The Help this weekend, so that will be first up for the category.
I would also love to hear some suggestions about books I should read next, or even books you would like reviewed. Someone has already mentioned Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. Conjure up some out of thin air or check out my Shelfari to see what I have!