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Killing Monica by Candace Bushnell

Killing Monica

by Candace Bushnell

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Killing Monica is an enjoyable read, which manages to be both escapist (through the depiction of champagne swilling media darlings) and thought provoking.

Bushnell sticks to what she knows - the life of a writer in a big city, but while she evokes this lifestyle convincingly (at least for readers like me on the other side of the Atlantic) unfortunately the characters aren't particularly likeable.

It also felt a little uneven in places, and I think that may be down to the writer's attempt to balance the glamour of film sets, media appearances and wealthy lifestyles with the more serious exploration of feminist issues and the corrupting influence of our celebrity obsessed (social) media.

I received an advance digital copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  RachelMartin | Feb 22, 2017 |
Killing Monica despite the violent nature of the title, is a wonderfully warm and witty romp through a writer’s eyes. It takes in the hit series of movies created from the author’s books, the actress who rose to stardom and the shoes…hang on, doesn’t this all sound a bit familiar? PJ Wallis (aka Pandy) created the story of Monica, the girl’s guide to being a girl for her sister growing up. As a struggling writer in New York City, she penned the story of Monica which became an instant success. Monica then became a movie, starring SondraBeth Schnowzer and then there were the inevitable follow-ups. Monica is the girl every woman wants to be with the reveal of her shoes a closely watched event each year.

If you’re thinking that this could be a thinly veiled version of Sex and the City, you don’t get a prize. It’s spelled out for you on the cover that Bushnell is the author of Sex and the City and everyone knows Carrie Bradshaw and her shoe closet. Don’t diss this book as SATC in cloak and dagger form though because you’ll miss out on this crazy, witty story that marks Bushnell as an excellent comic writer. Like me, you might be used to Bushnell’s books being about social climbing, intricate relationships and the wonderfully named characters. I was a little concerned reading this back to back with Everybody Rise, but I shouldn’t have been. Killing Monica is a new direction for Bushnell and in my opinion, a successful one. There’s no social climbing, but there are some very interesting relationships and given PJ’s given name is Pandemonia, there’s some awesome names too.

I think given the subject of the story – that Pandy’s creation of Monica has taken over her life and been responsible for losing a great friend and her marriage – it’s easy to make comparisons with SATC. While I am a fan, I’m not a big one (sorry, I prefer Clarkson-era Top Gear) and it was easy for me to separate the real life events from the story. The plot is fast moving and easily carries you away. Bushnell also has the ability to know what her reader wants, so just when you’re thinking, ‘but I want to read about how Pandy and SondraBeth were such crazy best friends’, she’ll deliver. Just as the plot is getting a bit sad (Pandy’s new book is rejected, meaning she can’t settle with her very nearly ex-husband), the story moves to the glittering days of Monica, when all was new and brilliant.

The overall theme is how Pandy’s creation now defines who she is. Everybody wants Monica, not Pandy (even though Pandy repeatedly says that she is the original Monica). Nobody wants to hear what Pandy has to say unless it’s about Monica. Everyone puts Monica into conversation with Pandy (should try get divorced? Wouldn’t online dating be hilarious for Monica to try?). Hence, there’s only one thing to do to get Pandy back – kill Monica. The plan comes to fruition in bizarre circumstances and Pandy, in a daze, rolls with it. What starts off as a misunderstanding grows to King Kong sized proportions (or should I say giant Monica proportions) and it’s one hell of a crazy ride. It does require you to suspend disbelief and enjoy it for its comic nature. Perhaps one of the reasons why some people didn’t like this is because it’s meant to be crazily funny, not sedate and realistic. Another could be the inevitable parallels with Carrie and SATC. I think if you can separate them, you’ll enjoy this book. The characters, while not particularly likeable (SondraBeth in particular has some huge WTF moments) are instrumental in creating the constant drama. . It’s outlandish fun, written well and certainly without a dull moment.

http://samstillreading.wordpress.com ( )
  birdsam0610 | Sep 2, 2015 |
It's hard to read this story of an author trying to escape the shadow of her world-famous character without wondering how autobiographical this novel is. Is Bushnell tiring of the shadow of Carrie Bradshaw just as her protagonist is? If so, this novel creates empathy for her velvet handcuffs. A pleasant summer read, though some over-zany plot points bring this novel to a hard-to-believe close. Review copy received from the publisher via NetGalley.com. (141) ( )
  activelearning | Jul 5, 2015 |
I received this book from NetGalley to write an honest review. I really appreciate the opportunity.
Pandemonia J. Wallis is a bestselling author of a successful series about a beautiful, has it all woman by the name of Monica. The series turns into such a hit that there are movies and just about everything Monica.
P.J. can't keep up with the demands of the public regarding the character and she is so overwhelmed with her she wished that Monica would just die and she could reinvent herself as the writer she wants to be.
The actress that P.J. chose to play the part of Monica, became one of P.J. best friends and confident. They had the best of times together until Sondra, the actress falls in loves all the adoring fans and everything that the character that Monica has to offer her that she begins to believe she is Monica and is taking control of the character from P.J. They are no longer friends after some of the underhanded things she had done to P.J. it's so bad they can no longer be in the same room together.
Things start to really crumble when P.J. marries a famous Chef who only marries her for her money. He turns into a nightmare, because he is always wanting more and more things and she seems to not be able to say no. Then she realizes what a loser he is and throws him out. Needless to say it's a very nasty divorce and P.J. is almost broke and can't even pay him his settlement. Even though she is so tired of Monica it looks like she'll be writing more books and hanging around the despicable show business people just be able to survive. Things get a bit strange at the end, but P.J. survives the rubble.
This did kind of remember me of Sex and the City but I've not read any of Candace Bushnell's other books. But all in all I thought it was a fun read and had a very creative ending. ( )
  sj1335 | Jun 26, 2015 |
A special thank you to Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I also purchased the audiobook.

Candace Bushnell creator of the much loved New York Carrie Bradshaw’s (Sarah Jessica Parker') Sex and the City, a series featuring female friendship, single life, hot Manhattan spots, fashion, drinking, sex, shoes, and Mr. Big-- A self-proclaimed shoe fetishist, Carrie focused most of her attention and finances on designer footwear, primarily Manolo Blahniks, Louboutin and Jimmy Choo.

Bushnell returns with KILLING MONICA an attempt at portraying another character, a Manhattan writer, desiring to kill off her main character in order to reinvent herself-- and switch to historical fiction.

Pandemonia J. Wallis, a best-selling author of a series about a successful woman in New York surrounded by female friends – The Monica books. The series has been a hit, bringing PJ wealth, fame, and recognition. However, her audience wants more Monica. She wants her character to go away. To die. She wants to kill her. So she can be free to reinvent herself. Now 40-something author wants a do over.

However, the actress playing Monica (Sondra Beth Schnowzer), former best friend--with stunning looks and millions of viewer fans is a pain. Monica has grown to despise her. She has taken over her character and acts as though she owns it. A lot of bad friction here, since she slept with her boyfriend, and now cheating ex-husband has taken all her money in a divorce.

The two friends/enemies, and characters, cannot even compare to Carrie Bradshaw and Sex and the City gals; where the focus was on the sex lives of four female best friends, three in their mid-to-late thirties, and one of whom is in her forties. (Samantha Jones-my favorite, Miranda Hobbes, and Charlotte York). They actually had deep conversations. They were realistic. Nothing like these self-absorbed, champagne-drinking, air heads, fake, and non-interesting characters.

In addition, PJs publisher has rejected her new historical fiction book, and she hates men - miserable all the way around. Then there is Henry, PJs agent, and the sister-- which will leave you shaking your head with a twist at the end.

Unfortunately, not able to recommend this one. Do not expect another Sex and the City. Nowhere even close. No nice heroine. The book will most likely leave readers with a lingering negative thought: how does the author really feel about Sarah Jessica Parker, who ran away with her character, Carrie? Carrie took on the character, leaving Bushnell in the background—same as character in Killing Monica. ( )
  JudithDCollins | Jun 23, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0446557900, Hardcover)

This is the book fans of Candace Bushnell have been waiting for. From the author of Sex and the City, Lipstick Jungle, and The Carrie Diaries comes an addictive story about fame, love, and foolishness that will keep readers enthralled to the very last enticing scene.

Pandy "PJ" Wallis is a renowned writer whose novels about a young woman making her way in Manhattan have spawned a series of blockbuster films. After the success of the Monica books and movies, Pandy wants to attempt something different: a historical novel based on her ancestor Lady Wallis. But Pandy's publishers and audience only want her to keep cranking out more Monica—as does her greedy husband, Jonny, who's gone deeply in debt to finance his new restaurant in Las Vegas.

When her marriage crumbles and the boathouse of her family home in Connecticut goes up in flames, Pandy suddenly realizes she has an opportunity to reinvent herself. But to do so, she will have to reconcile with her ex-best friend and former partner in crime, SondraBeth Schnowzer, who plays Monica on the big screen—and who may have her own reasons to derail Pandy's startling change of plan.

In KILLING MONICA, Candace Bushnell spoofs and skewers her way through pop culture, celebrity worship, fame, and the meaning of identity. With her trademark humor and style, this is Bushnell's sharpest, funniest book to date

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 02 Jul 2015 02:44:52 -0400)

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