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Shopgirl: A Novella by Steve Martin
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Shopgirl: A Novella (original 2000; edition 2006)

by Steve Martin

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3,533861,495 (3.51)71
Member:femurneck
Title:Shopgirl: A Novella
Authors:Steve Martin
Info:Hyperion (2006), Mass Market Paperback, 144 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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Shopgirl by Steve Martin (2000)

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Read this a LONG time ago. Since it was Steve Martin, I wanted it to be funnier. ( )
  steadfastreader | Mar 18, 2014 |
All I could think when I was reading this book was that I was so pleased that Steve Martin was such an excellent writer. It is easy to pity the main character for all of her flaws and bad luck, but it's hard not to laugh at the situation and Martin's choice of descriptions. The novella is satirical through and through, and may, at times, remind you of the story and characters in Sylvia Plaths' The Bell Jar for their mental anguish and unfortunate circumstances.
  HeatherCHoffman | Feb 11, 2014 |
I really enjoyed this book and read it very quickly. (For me, at least. I like to savor my books. I do enough on a timeline for work.) Unlike other reviews I've read here, I didn't find the book incredibly gender stereotyped. It annoyed me far less than Bridget Jones' Diary, for example.

Perhaps some of my sympathy from Mirabelle comes from the fact that I am married to a man who is dysthymic, and mood ups and downs and medication changes are all par for the course and sometimes extremely difficult. Perhaps some of my sympathy comes from the fact that I had moved to LA for graduate school around the same age and had similarly lonely times as a result. I enjoyed the realism and messiness of feelings and understandings and relationships.

I was really riveted by the use of the omniscient narrative voice here, and I didn't miss dialog or feel that I was being told; rather, the narrative voice was a distinct character in itself, and the book would have been missing a great deal in a more conventional narrative.

Interesting story well told. ( )
  leduck | Oct 19, 2013 |
Good book for Steve Martin's first. Considering he is also a great comedian. Easy to read. Very succinct writing style. (I like the built in bookmark!) ( )
  camplakejewel | Sep 28, 2013 |
Well, I started this yesterday, and finished it today. Admittedly it isn't terribly long, but a two day read is still indicative of enjoyment for me! I watched the film over the weekend, and then read the book this week. I was afraid to do it in the reverse, but I liked them both very much! (Steve Martin may not have been the best choice for Ray Porter...but I didn't think he was bad, King.)

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised to some degree. I guess I hadn't realized Mr. Martin's multi-talentedness. But, there were moments of real brilliance in there! "He doesn't understand the subtleties of slights and pains, that it is not the big events that hurt the most but rather the smallest questionable shift in tone at the end of a spoken word that can plow most deeply into the heart." Perceptively true, and poignantly moving. His obvious sense of humor pops in now and then as well. I should have been disappointed if it hadn't!

I related over much to Mirabelle's character at times, maybe that is why I like it so much? The Andrew Wyeth mention was the clincher though.

Thanks King, this is now counted amongst my favorites...the book and the film! ( )
  Ameliapei | Apr 18, 2013 |
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For Allyson
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When you work in the glove department at Neiman's, you are selling things that nobody buys anymore.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0786891076, Mass Market Paperback)

Steve Martin's first foray into fiction is as assured as it is surprising. Set in Los Angeles, its fascination with the surreal body fascism of the upper classes feels like the comedian's familiar territory, but the shopgirl of the book's title may surprise his fans. Mirabelle works in the glove department of Neiman's, "selling things that nobody buys any more." Spending her days waiting for customers to appear, Mirabelle "looks like a puppy standing on its hind legs, and the two brown dots of her eyes, set in the china plate of her face, make her seem very cute and noticeable." Lonely and vulnerable, she passes her evenings taking prescription drugs and drawing "dead things," while pursuing an on-off relationship with the hopeless Jeremy, who possesses "a slouch so extreme that he appears to have left his skeleton at home." Then Mr. Ray Porter steps into Mirabelle's life. He is much older, rich, successful, divorced, and selfish, desiring her "without obligation." Complicating the picture is Mirabelle's voracious rival, her fellow Neiman's employee Lisa, who uses sex "for attracting and discarding men."

The mutual incomprehension, psychological damage, and sheer vacuity practiced by all four of Martin's characters sees Shopgirl veer rather uncomfortably between a comedy of manners and a much darker work. There are some startling passages of description and interior monologue, but the characters are often rather hazy types. Martin tries too hard in his attempt to write a psychologically intense novel about West Coast anomie, but Shopgirl is still an enjoyable, if rather light, read. --Jerry Brotton

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:34 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A young, beautiful, shy girl named Mirabelle, a glove counter worker at Neiman Marcus, begins a relationship with a wealthy businessman old enough to be her father.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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