Shopgirl by Steve Martin

I feel like I’m missing something.

Shopgirl is about Mirabelle, a young woman in her twenties who works the glove counter at Neiman’s in L.A. She’s bored, struggling financially, and has what seems like a drastic case of depression. Always wishing for company and for someone to hold her, she attracts the attention of a lazy guy named Jeremy and a womanizing millionaire from Seattle named Ray Porter.

I felt kind of bored with this book… I’m not sure what it is. I didn’t really care for any of the characters. I have a hard time relating to characters with depression in books – it always comes off as whiny and emo and makes me want to slap them out of their funk. And obviously I had issues with both of the men that were attracted to her.

I think another reason I was kind of bored was Steve Martin’s writing here. I really enjoyed his book The Pleasure of My Company – it was fresh and interesting and witty. But in Shopgirl, it’s almost like I could tell how aware he was of his writing style – it all sounded too clinical and distant. The  blatant sexual references seemed like they were just there to kind of shock and awe.  Maybe it’s just me, but I missed Steve Martin’s quirkiness and sharp wit here – the whole thing was overall kind of bland and dark. Weirdly, the only parts of the book I really liked was when Mirabelle mentioned exactly how much she could afford to spend on lunch, or parking. I have that same sense of frugalness when I’m getting my lunch at work sometimes.

Overall, I didn’t really like this one. But I will probably try another Steve Martin book because I liked the other one I read, so I feel like I need a tie-breaker.

Sarah Says: 2 stars

 

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4 comments

  1. I didn’t realize Steve Martin wrote this. I’d seen the movie and while I was annoyed with it for similar reasons, I do remember liking how the relationship ended and let something else begin, and Mirabelle beginning to shake off the boredom. I’m curious now as to how his writing would differ from the movie’s tone. Thanks for your post!

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    1. I should see the movie – it might be one of those rare books that works better as a movie. Especially since part of my problem was how clinical unpersonal the writing sounded.

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  2. If you didn’t like this book, I wouldn’t recommend the movie; it’s pretty true to the book. I did like the book, although I didn’t care much for most of the characters. But I found the movie kind of dull even though I really like all of the main actors.

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