The sequel to Carrie Diaries and the prequel to the popular Sex and the City, Summer and the City is out. Candace Bushnell's latest book hits the rewind button to how the famous four -- Carrie Bradshaw, Samantha Jones, Miranda Hobbes and Charlotte York -- met in the Big Apple. Suggested reading for the die-hard fan, strictly
American author 52 year-old Candace Bushnell is back with another Sweet Valley High for grown-ups, specifically the 30-something single woman, hoping to be swept off her feet by a handsome, financially successful 'mature' man, specifically Mr Big. This time, it's the prequel to the phenomenally successful franchise of Sex and the City. It's also the sequel to the Carrie Diaries, and the answer to the question that has presumably been plaguing us for over a decade now: How did Carrie Bradshaw, Samantha Jones, Miranda Hobbes and Charlotte York meet? The answer is less romantic than one hoped, especially if one hoped for swinging chandelier-style entries and heart-pounding car chase sequences.
Instead, one has to settle for parties and trains, and "happenstance". But is the experiment successful? Yes, if you've been a slave to the series that supposedly assured single women past their sell-by date that yes, it was okay to be single (and past their sell-by date), because they had careers to fall back on (or blame) for their single status. As long as they kept "hoping" to meet that special someone, everything was going to be okay. Holy matrimony, dear delusional, was just around the corner.
But to imagine that the only fans of the series -- and possibly the books -- are women, would be to do a disservice to the creators, and far from accurate. So, for the thousands, and tens of thousands, of men who sat in front of their TVs with their arms around their wives or girlfriends, as a gesture of support for "chick concerns", but really to get an insight into "what women want", sorry to say, there's not much juice in here. Are you better off waiting for the film? Doubt that there will be one.
Been there, done that?
Small-town girl Carrie Bradshaw is 18: starry-eyed, bushy-tailed and (gasp!) a virgin. As keen to become a "famous writer" as she is to lose her virginity, the book takes us through her pontifications on men (surely future fodder for a newspaper column, don't you think!), attempts at getting rid of "it" and the highs and lows of living in one of the most exciting cities in the world: New York. And yes, meeting her soon-to-be best friends, as well.
Summer and the City; Candace Bushnell; HarperCollins, Rs 299.
Available at leading bookstores.
Having said that, Bushnell's characteristic sense of humour, especially evident in her dialogues for Samantha and Miranda makes for a fun, airport read. The problem is if you turn to this tome, expecting it to be an ode to the women's emancipation movement. It isn't. No, really. Contrary to chauvinistic belief, women have always talked about sex, and just because the discussion is taken "outside" and dressed in Manolo Blahniks and Guccis, doesn't make it more relevant. Fashionable? Oui, Oiu.
Thanks for the diamonds
This is clearly not the book to turn to for poignant insights on life (sex? Maybe. Miranda's views on the subject might prove insightful). But then, you already know that. If it's nostalgia for those late Saturday nights you spent curled and spellbound in front of your TV, keen for a peek into the secret worlds of five women (New York is the "fifth girl" according to Kim Cattrall, who plays the tell-it-like-it-is Samantha in the series) then, do buy the book. Though, truth be told, like the films, you're probably better off borrowing them instead.