on 3 September 2002
Most readers will probably come to this book via being fans of T.V.'s "Sex & The City". Which, in a way, is a pity - it means a lot of other people will miss out on it. Yes, there are elements here the show has picked up on - but with an added depth (or shallowness?) of human life. Think 21st century Damon Runyon, with a femail bias, and you just about have it.
on 10 March 2005
I was extremely pleased with Four Blondes. I had very much enjoyed reading Sex and the City for its dark humour and wit, and had assumed that Four Blondes would be unlikely to live up to the same caliber. However I was proved wrong.
Like S&TC, Four Blondes is a collection of short stories, this time focusing on the four women in the title. Divided into four stories, that of the ageing party girl/model, the anorexic princess, the high powered businesswoman and a writer looking for love, Bushnell paints each story with a satiric brush. Despite having money, looks and power, the first three women are seemingly insecure and unhappy. Four Blondes shows how each woman tries to regain a sense of control over their seemingly overwhelming, highly pressured lives, and how different personalities are more effective at this than others. Some women prosper whilst others fall short.
If I can find a fault with the book it is with the final woman's story, obviously based on Bushnell herself. I found her story rushed and pointless, as though it was added only to bulk up the book. It seemded more of a footnote than a story itself. It wasn't unenjoyable, but it was not as superb as the previous three tales.
The relative shortness of each woman's tale (compared to an entire book) was refreshing as it meant that the reader does not becomes bored with each story and is always left wanting more. A great read for anyone who lacks the concentration to read lengthy novels with a running narrative.
Somehow managing to be more glamorous than its older, expectionally successful sister, Four Blondes is a very dark, sometimes depressing look at New York woman who have it all. All that glitters is most definately not always gold.
An absolute must read.
on 18 May 2009
Being a brit the fourth story didn't bother me too much, i don't take american opinions very seriously, but really the whole book was complete and utter rubbish, each story had no story nor no conculsion. I thought it was about 4 different women and we would get a conculsion in the end, but no, abrupt end and thats it.
Unfortunately i'm one of those people who when i start a book i like to finish it as it may get better alas this one never did.
If you buy a book this summer to read make sure its not this one.
on 9 April 2010
aside from the fact this book is insulting to english people,its also a poor novel.From the authour of the brilliant,if shallow,Trading Up I expected so much better.Not worth your time.
4 Blondes is three novellas and a short story about the beautiful and aspiring women in New York City. The cast of characters also include those who admire, lust for, marry, and earn a living from these blonde goddesses. Each of the four women has defined herself in terms of social position, physical goods, appearance, and how others relate to her. They each lack a core of who they are, as defined by their own inherent natures. In these stories, the women get what they think they want . . . and are disappointed in many ways. Life really begins when they move beyond their initial illusions to create a more appropriate direction for themselves. Many will find a peek into the minds and boudoirs of these women appealing, but few will find them sympathetic. It is that lack of sympathy that makes the book far less appealing than its potential to please the reader.
The book's subject is graphically portrayed by the large image of Ms. Bushnell on the back of the dust cover. Seeing her and her credentials, you immediately know that she is writing about the real people she meets in her social activities and writing work.
A number of my friends have inhabited this world at various times. Although the satire may seem broad, it isn't as broad as it would first appear. I remember being told about a well-known woman reporter who would not go out on a date until she had seen a balance sheet for the man in question that proved that his net worth was at least five million dollars.
New York has long been the capital of attention for those who aspire to be rich, famous, thin, and admired. This book needs to be compared to Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities, because it is the female version of that same subject.
Of the stories in the book, I enjoyed Nice N'Easy by far the most. Janey Wilcox comes closest to being a whole person among the four heroines in the book. She is trying to find what she wants, and is a little confused about the best way to get things. But she persists, and emerges to a new plateau of maturity and effectiveness. If the whole book had captured that level of character progression, I would have rated it at four stars.
Single Process is a short story that had great potential, but left it unrealized. Ms. Bushnell has focused primarily on making jokes about English men, and creating a fairy tale. As far as she goes, the story works. To have worked better, she should have steered a little closer to reality and defined London as something more than anti-New York.
Platinum is simply a joke about being a real princess. This novella would have worked much better with a lot of editing down of the story.
In all four stories, Ms. Bushnell gives you lots of details about various psychological disorders, drug addiction, unpleasant sexual practices, and various forms of humiliation. She would have done better to focus on fewer dysfunctions and portrayed them better. The way these are written, the reader is assumed to have had first-hand experience with most of these practices. Such a reader would be unusual in my experience outside of the social circles being described here.
For those who don't like to read about extreme forms of depravity, skip this book.
On the other hand, her prose is well crafted and moves the stories along smoothly. She knows her subject. So if you think of this book as a longer version of tabloid writing, you will like it very much. I suspect that those who will like 4 Blondes best are readers who will take the fictional characters and ascribe them to a real celebrity, and feel excited about knowing the inside scoop on these people.
After you finish reading these stories, I suggest that you step back a bit and look at yourself in the mirror. Who do you see? Does it matter who you see? How does it make you feel to see yourself? Then change your perspective, and think about what the mirror would show if it reflected your inner self. Draw a picture of that new image. Keep it in mind!
Pursue worthy goals in worthy ways!
on 4 February 2001
Like the previous reviewer, I brought this book from a love for the series SATC. The heroines in "Sex" are postively sugar-sweet good girls compared to the anti-heroines in "Four Blondes." The cover shot of glamourous, happy blondes kind of dissuades from the reality inside; I thought it was about four blondes that, like the show, angsted over sex and relationships. Instead we got 4 seperate stories about oh-so-very nuerotic women that are the most unsympathetic and bitchy people I have ever read about. The Manhatten life style is something that most women want (good clothes, good social life etc), and to Bushell's credit she shows the cracks underneath the fairy tale. But still this book left me felt a little empty and cynical- I don't know, maybe that's Candace Bushell's intention, but I felt a great urge to slim to six stone and buy hideously expensive shoes after I read it...
on 1 March 2001
I expected a witty, clever book knowing the authors previous work and finding it really funny. Unfortunately what I found wasn't quite up to my expectations. The book is split into four stories which appear to have no point to them(the first of which is the best.) I was left feeling dissatisfied with the lack of real plot. Even though Sex and the City is just a bit of fun it does have a point to it. Out of the four tales in 'Four Blondes' I felt, unfortunately, that only one did.
on 2 July 2001
The first two stories in this collection are savage commentaries on the vagaries of urban life. Sure, Candace is treading similar ground to Jay McInerney and Tama Janowitz (Slaves of New York) but these first two stories are bitingly funny commentaries on the ME ME ME generation. As Candace tells it, relationships work out by chance and it's okay to step on anyone as long as you get where you want to be. The final two stories in this collection are much weaker. 'Platinum' is a poor immitation of a Bret Easton Ellis story (he even gets name-dropped in a rather clumsy meta-fictional gesture) but one that lacks Ellis's ability to shock the reader into a reaction. 'Platinum' just made me go 'So what?' The final story about a NYC collumist sent to London to check out the sexual mores of the Brits is okay, although it feels like a tag on, being much shorter than the other three stories and lacking anything other than a few (funny) jibes at the Brits. In short, a rather thin collection worth buying for the first two stories, but the big question still remaining after this and Sex and the City is: Can Candace Bushnell write a novel? Up until now she seems caught up in confessional journalistic shorts.
on 29 September 2002
How could the woman who created 'Sex.. .' come up with this tripe?! It seems this book is just the same insecure selfish BLONDE! character but in four different situations - rather then four different stories. Ms Bushell has taken herself far too seriously and tried to come up with these stories about 'beautiful woman who seemingly have it all but really have problems like the rest of the uglier world'. SHUT UP!
It highly annoyed me how she referred SEVERAL times about the British being ugly. Fine, just take your little blonde book away and don't expect any Brits to buy it. I found it patronising and vacant. Where was the wit, where was the empathy? The supporting characters just merged into one bland BLONDE pile of sludge. The cover was so cheap and tacky, frankly I was embarrassed to be seen reading it and any colleagues who saw me with it said
'What the hell are you reading'?
I think Candice Bushell has materialistic problems and indulges in them with her writing - works in 'Sex....' bombs in this.
Four blondes has nothing underneath it to support these lavish stories and setting. Blahniks are not everything. Almost, but not quite
on 3 June 2004
This book is easily one of the worst I have ever read. Ever! Can this atrocity really have been brought to us by the creator of Sex & The City? Surely not!
As a Brit I was horribly offended by the author's description of British men and women... has she even been to England!? According to her British women make absolutely no effort with their appearance... British men however are ALL repressed and bumbling idiots... we have no taste, no style and are rubbish in bed.
This woman doesn't know what she is talking about! Obviously the success of Sex and the City was down to the talents of Sarah Jessica Parker and not Candace.
The three other short stories also left me completely cold. The characters were completely two dimentional and quite frankly boring. It's just the same formula time and time again...
Just awful! Buy something else.... ANYTHING ELSE!