Title: Trading Up
Publisher: Hyperion, New York
Publication Date: 2003
Binding: Hard Cover
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine
Signed: Signed by Author
Second printing. Inscribed and signed by the author on the title page: "To Evelyn / Candace," with heart penned in next to "Candace." Quarter-bound in red paper-covered boards with a black cloth, silver-lettered spine. Book is tight, square, and unmarked; corners sharp, spine ends unbumped. The dust jacket is not price-clipped (original price $24.95); tiny crease to top of front flap. Brodart protected. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 002909
Synopsis: With a brilliant comic voice as well as Jane Austen's penchant for social satire, Candace Bushnell, who with Sex and the City changed forever how we view New York City, female friendships, and the love of a good pair of Manolos, now brings us a sharply observant, keenly funny, wildly entertaining latter day comedy of manners.
Modern-day heroine Janey Wilcox is a lingerie model whose reach often exceeds her grasp, and whose new-found success has gone to her head. As we follow Janey's adventures, Bushnell draws us into a seemingly glamorous world of $100,000 cars, hunky polo players and media moguls, Fifth Avenue apartments, and relationships whose hidden agendas are detectable only by the socially astute.
But just as Janey enters this world of too much money and too few morals, unseen forces conspire to bring her down, forcing her to reexamine her values about love and friendship--and how far she's really willing to go to realize her dreams.
Review: Janey Wilcox is an M.A.W. (that's Model/Actress/Whatever to the uninitiated). The problem with Janey, the protagonist of Candace Bushnell's first novel, Trading Up, is not the M or the A part. It's the W. Here is a rare alphabetical anomaly: In Janey's case, W stands for "prostitute." Oh, Janey never crosses the line into actual hookerdom, but she does sleep with extremely wealthy men in the hopes they'll improve her status, her financial situation, or her lifestyle. When we first met Janey in Bushnell's novella collection 4 Blondes, she was up to her usual tricks (so to speak)--scamming a guy for a Hamptons vacation rental. At the opening of Trading Up, her fortunes have improved. She's now the star of a Victoria's Secret ad campaign, and as such she's found access to undreamed-of echelons of New York society. She makes friends with Mimi Kilroy, a senator's daughter "at the very top of the social heap in New York." She gets invited to all the best parties. And she finally finds a wealthy man who will actually marry her: Seldon Rose, a powerful entertainment industry executive. Of course, Janey's social ambitions are not stoppered by her marriage to Seldon, and the clash between her expectations (more parties!) and his (normal life) send Janey into a tailspin that leads to heartbreak. Bushnell is clearly trying to channel Edith Wharton ( The Custom of the Country is even invoked by Janey as a screenplay idea), but ends up sounding a lot more like a cross between Tama Janowitz and Judith Krantz. This is a novel about shopping and sex, and while it's fizzy enough, it's not Cristal. --Claire Dederer
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