Thursday, October 22, 2009

Read: Shopgirl by Steve Martin

Synopsis: Mirabelle is the "shopgirl" of the title, a young woman, beautiful in a wallflowerish kind of way, who works behind the glove counter at Neiman Marcus "selling things that nobody buys anymore..."
Slightly lost, slightly off-kilter, very shy, Mirabelle charms because of all that she is not: not glamorous, not aggressive, not self-aggrandizing. Still there is something about her that is irresistible.
Mirabelle captures the attention of Ray Porter, a wealthy businessman almost twice her age. As they tentatively embark on a relationship, they both struggle to decipher the language of love -- with consequences that are both comic and heartbreaking.
In most cases, books are so much better than their film versions. This one, I reckon, is the exception to that rule.

I quite enjoyed the movie, although maybe it was because of the presence of Jason Schwartzman and the cameo by Sun Kil Moon/Red House Painters principal Mark Kozelek. So I was expecting to enjoy the book. And it was... well, I'd recommend you watch the movie instead.

The book had some awkward phrasings and uncomfortable moments. Here's one I both chuckled and cringed over: "Her nipples are the color of bubble gum, and the silicone makes them resilient enough to chew like bubble gum". Erm, eew... yet haha, who would've thought of writing that?

That was rather unfortunate, as Martin does seem quite perceptive about relationships, especially the initial stages of courtship - between Mirabelle and the smooth, gentlemanly Ray, as well as Mirabelle and the very offbeat, unsavvy Jeremy.

Yet it's those awkward moments that continue to stick in my mind, like that gum you have to scrape off your shoe with a stick.

Shopgirl: A Novella
Click here to buy from Amazon (I am an Amazon Associate)

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