BOOK REVIEW: Lipstick Jungle by Candace Bushnell
Lipstick Jungle is the story of three friends, all three of whom are successful, powerful women in New York. Nico O'Neilly - editor of popular, well regarded magazine Bonfire but still has ambitions to go further with her career; Victory Ford - fashion designer to the stars, single and loving it; Wendy Healy - movie producer and wife to a stay-at-home husband and mother of three children.
Nico is having an affair, Wendy runs into marital problems and Victory's last collection was a dud. Suddenly all of their lives are turned upside down and they have to work together as friends to see each other through the tough times.
Despite being a card-carrying, box set-owning member of the I Love Sex & the City Club, I'd never read anything by Candace Bushnell before this. At first, I was loving it. All the glitz, glamour and excess of the rich and famous reminded me of those fabby '80s Jackie Collins novels I used to love (I was very young back then).The main characters of Wendy, Nico and Victory and their high-flying, champagne guzzling, sexy lifestyles all seemed so promising.
Sadly, about a third of the way in, I discovered I didn't actually care for any of our heroines. In fact finishing the book was more an exercise in hoping one of them would get their come-uppance than looking forward to a happy ending. (She didn't, by the way.) While the three women were all supposed to be best friends and met each other for lunch in times of crisis, the author failed to develop any real affection or sisterhood between them. The male characters were uniformly cretinous. There didn't appear to be any real story arc and the ending just kind of petered out and, for my money anyway, the last line of the book was one of the cheesiest last lines I have ever read.
Having said that, when I finished this book I thought I had kind of enjoyed it. After a bit of thought and running its pop-feminist message through my brain I've come to realise it's not really very good at all. It's probably the kind of thing I would have enjoyed in my late teens/early 20s, but in today's female fiction market it feels exceptionally shallow and out of place. If I wasn't a fan of Sex & the City, Lipstick Jungle certainly would not entice me to pick up anything written by Candace Bushnell again.
Like this? Try Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger