One of the books is Candace Bushnell's One Fifth Avenue. First of all, I need to make something clear: as I once told someone, I am not a "Sex in the City" person. About the only thing I have in common with those women is my affinity for cute shoes. The rest? Not so much. So I wouldn't pick up Ms. Bushnell's novel unless it was (a) on sale, and (b) for research. Fortunately, it was both.
I didn't so much dive into Ms. Bushnell's book as I did wade into it--hoping to uncover the secret to an amazing life full of martinis and Manolos. Instead, I found something I already have: discontent.
They say that authors write about things they know. I'm not sure that Candance Bushnell knows of discontent, but she sure does write about it in One Fifth Avenue. Many of the characters are in their forties and beyond, and they have a lot to say about age. One says, "Life gets boring when your middle-aged. You can't keep doing the same thing. You look like an asshole."The same character later says, "It's extraodinary, getting old. It's as hard as people say."
When the same character states that he doesn't want to hurt the feelings of another, the other character states, "I'm forty-eight years old. My heart's been broken for about forty years."
And here's one that I really love: "...he sometimes wondered if these larger fears masked the smaller and less worthy fears that drove everyone in his world: the fear of not making it, of being left behind, of not utilizing one's skills or potential or advantages to the fullest."
What I don't understand, and maybe it's intentional, is that all these characters are male. The females are strong and secure and know what they want and they go after it. I want to know how these (albeit fictional) women got this way.
Why is Ms. Bushnell not writing me an instruction book?