Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cannonball Read - Book 73

Wendy Wasserstein wrote one of my favorite plays, The Heidi Chronicles; I didn't know she had written this novel, Elements of Style, but I saw it at the library and grabbed it. Here's the book jacket description:

"From the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and author of the essay collection Shiksa Goddess ("Utterly delicious" - Judith Thurman), a dazzling debut novel, a comedy about New York's urban gentry living in a post-0/11 world - the arbiters of fashion and the doyennes of charity balls; about the rich and the nouveau rich(er), the glamorous and the desperate to be.
"We meet Francesca Weissman, the Upper East Side pediatrician rated number one by Manhattan magazine, who takes us into the upper strata of privilege and aspiration (she's originally from Queens with a father in hosiery; life on the fringes of glittering New York is fine with her)... Samantha Acton, thoroughbred descendant of the Van Rensselaers and the Carnegies, who defines the social order in the great tradition of Mrs. Astor and Babe Paley... Judy Tremont from Modesto, California, daughter of a cop - her life's work, her obsession, is New York society and its richest families... Barry Santorini, Republican, moviemaker, winner of twelve Oscars, and his wife, the Italian supermarket heiress and former media rep for Giorgio Armani... and many more.
"As Elements of Style opens out, we see a madcap mosaic of the social lives and mores of twenty-first-century Manhattan - of romance, work, family, and friendship. Satiric, fierce, touching - and deliciously Wasserstein."

First, let's talk about that last phrase: deliciously Wasserstein. I think that's going to be the name of my next band.

Next, the book cover. OMG! Doesn't it make you want to read it? I judge books by their covers all the time - and you do, too, so don't deny it! It looks like a fancy purse is inside that box, and I for one want to open and see it.

The inside is just as good as the outside. I imagine that Elements of Style is like a grown-up version of the Clique series. Better yet: a fictional version of the Real Housewives of New York City. Except, these characters seem more real that those crazy ladies on that show. It's satire, to be sure, and many elements are over the top (there's a party scene set in an old pantyhose factory, and you should see what these ladies are wearing), but where I don't care about the Real Housewives' struggles to get their kids to the right nursery school or pediatrician, or if they have this season's Birkin bag, I did care about those same trials and tribulations with the characters in this book. And couple of somewhat tragic things happen, but they seem like a sad part of life instead of a complete derailment of a perfect existence.

It's good.

Elements of Style - B+

4 comments:

Figgylicious said...

I'm so glad you're still going ! I think a lot of people gave it up.

And I love your reviews. I need to catch up on a looooot of mine...

amanda said...

Figs, I'm not going to make it to 100, that much is certain, but I'm going to keep trying!

viejo fuerte said...

Hey Amanda, you can make it to 100 if you pick up some Louis L"Amour books in the next two months.

Erin said...

I loved Elements of Style! But I think I may have cried when I read that Wendy Wasserstein died, after reading all about her daughter and her efforts to get pregnant in Shiksa Goddess.

C'mon - you knew I, of all people, would read a book called Shiksa Goddess, didn't you? ;)