Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell

Teen fiction is one of the few genres turning a profit in the publishing world. How shocking that many "adult" fiction authors are now penning teen fiction! Candace Bushnell, one of the founding fathers (er, mothers?) of the chick lit movement, and author of the popular Sex and the City novels, has recently released the first installment in her new teen series The Carrie Diaries. Based on the the teen years of her Sex and the City heroine, Carrie Bradshaw, the Carrie Diaries gives us a glimpse in to the awkward pubescent days of Miss B. Even though I wouldn't say the Carrie Diaries is as good as the SATC novels, it is a great start to what I'm sure is to be an even better sequel....that is, if there is a sequel, which there better be!

The novel is set in the early 70s, a time period ingenious to my mother's generation, and a decade I know relatively little about, other than the stories my mother and father have shared about their high school days. Come to think of it, my mom would probably love this book. I'm sure many of the pop culture references and clothing labels were lost on me, but I bet my mom could easily relate. Absent are the cell phones, computers, and fast-paced existence most teenagers are accustomed to today. Teens in Carrie's world take smoke breaks in between classes (the teachers are probably too busy enjoying a smoke to notice the teens puffing away in the bathroom), hang out at burger joints, and drive around in their old, clunker cars for fun. Although Carrie's boredom with small town living is palpable (the reader is bored right along with her for some of the scenes), this boredom is necessary for you to feel her anxiousness to make something more of her life. You can practically FEEL her restlessness to leave the safety of her tiny town and you find yourself cheering her on when she shares her dreams of becoming a writer in New York...a dream her family and friends just don't quite understand.

Carrie is beginning her Senior year at Castlebury High, located in a small, upper-middle class town in Connecticut. Even though Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda are no where to be found (she's yet to meet them, you see), you can easily identify with her group of life-long girlfriends, Lali, Maggie and The Mouse, or Roberta if you're calling her by her God-given name. There's also the new guy that enters onto the scene; Sebastian Kidd. Hot, rebellious, and of course, the guy Carrie can't get off her mind. Bushnell does a fabulous job transporting the reader back to high school. Even though you know Carrie shouldn't be so self-conscious and stupid about her decisions concerning boys, she acts just like most of us gals did in high school. These self-deprecating moments are what she will grow and learn from in the SATC books. We can see the strong and successful woman Carrie will become, learning and growing in the Carrie Diaries. I seriously hope that Bushnell is considering continuing the series. I can't wait to see how Carrie struggles in New York, and it will be fun to live vicariously through her first days as a new writer. If you are looking for an honest, funny and endearing coming-of-age story about one of chick lit's favorite characters, then The Carrie Diaries will be an entertaining journey down memory lane. No zit cream required. :)

1 comment:

  1. My earliest memories are of the early 50's. Believe me, the 70's and 80's are eminently forgettable. If you don't remember them, you haven't missed much.

    I confess that, after writing a book of fantastic short stories in Spanish (my other native language) for people who are really into literature, my second project is a series of three teen or YA novels (the first of which is published). But the story just came to me with a teenaged main character so I had to write it. My next project will be very different. I don't want readers to know exactly what to expect of me next.

    If you want to know about my current project, please visit my blog. Thanks!