Review: One Fifth Avenue — Candace Bushnell

Read: 14
To Go: 86

Book List:
11. Behaving Badly — Isabel Wolff
12. The English Patient — Michael Ondaatje
13. Atonement — Ian McEwan
14. One Fifth Avenue — Candace Bushnell

 

One Fifth Avenue, the Art Deco beauty towering over one of Manhattan’s oldest and most historically hip neighbourhoods, is a one-of-a-kind address, the sort of building you have to earn your way into — one way or another. For the women in Candace Bushnell’s new novel, One Fifth Avenue, this edifice is essential to the lives they’ve established — or hope to establish. From the hedge fund king’s wife to the aging gossip columnist to the free-spirited actress (a recent refugee from L.A.), each person’s game plan for the rich life is realized under the soaring roof of this landmark building.

So I’ll be for realsies with you guys; I’m sick as a dog (I know — I didn’t think it could happen either) and, predictably, have a headache and an unbearable cough. Not to mention that it’s late, so here’s the quick and dirty on Candace Bushnell.

I was really excited to read something by Bushnell because she could probably be considered New York royalty after writing both Sex and the City and Lipstick Jungle and having them both turned into television shows. One Fifth Avenue did not disappoint. There were so many themes within it that I enjoyed — friendship, the age-old class struggle of “old money” and “new money,” and the underlying theme that permeated throughout the book: money can’t buy you happiness, no matter how much you have. Though sometimes, it sure does help. All of this took place in one of the most glamorous cities in the world, so of course I was smitten.

I was incredibly impressed with Bushnell’s ability to create dynamic, interesting characters who repelled and enticed in equal measure. Mindy and James Gooch, Billy Litchfield, and Enid Merle were flawed characters who I couldn’t quite hate, but never fully loved, either — ultimately, I could relate to all of them in some respect. On polar ends of the spectrum were Schiffer Diamond, Philip Oakland, and Annalisa Rice; and Paul Rice, Lola Fabrikant, and Thayer Core. The former three were likeable almost all the time, and the latter were utterly repulsive. There was a nice balance, though, which didn’t make any character too hard to take, and Bushnell did a good job balancing a large cast. No one fell terribly to the wayside, and I didn’t have trouble remembering anyone.

All in all, I’d consider this one a successful cross-genre book. I really enjoyed it, and would recommend it.

Next book: probably won’t be read until late March or early April. This month is going to be insanely busy, and looking at my calendar makes me want to cry.

– Kelsey

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