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Four Blondes
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on 24 March 2017
witty, compelling and laugh outloud funny. I would definitely recommend this book. Bushnell is a genius. She offers such a great alternative to chick lite
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on 13 June 2016
Great book, have read a few times. Makes you smile.
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on 8 April 2014
One of the most pointless books I've ever read. I couldn't even finish it and considered the time spent reading the much I did, an annoying waste. Candace Bushnell got this one spectacularly wrong. I binned the book.
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on 4 February 2001
This book consists of four short stories about neurotic New York women and the men in their lives. The book is an entertaining read, but the characters are seldom likeable and so in the end the book comes across as rather cold. Five stars out of five for sophistication, but only one star for heart.
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on 2 November 2006
I normally love Candace Bushnell books, but i have to admit that even though this one was quite interesting, it didn't quite... take off. It consists of what might be seen as 4 novellas written in 4 different styles about the lives of 4 women in New York. It's a good book, and an interesting insight into those lives as archetypes of NY women (or rather _some_ NY women). And even nicer is that she picks up her characters pretty much where she left them, like in Trading up where we follow Janey Wilcox after her rise to fame. Good book, but not absolutely amazing. At least not for me.
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VINE VOICEon 13 July 2004
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!
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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.
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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.
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on 29 November 2002
Candice Bushnell creates some insigtful writing on the vain and sex obsessed New York elite. Unfortuantly it suffers from absolutly none of the characters being likable and therefore they are only engaging on a superficial lets-see-them-fail level. There isn't any depth to the book at all- this is more a read on the beach novel to a serious social commentery.
Bushnell's obsession with sex can make it seem boring at times. I thought her stories were good satire of souless and spoilt thirty-somethings untill I realised that she has a good deal of empathy with their causes.
The move to London in the final story of the book was a mistake unless Bushnell really wants to proove how superficial she is. The whole "an attractive woman in New York is beautiful in London and a beuatiful woman in London is only attractive in New York" attitude is insulting and very blind. She believes "beauty" only rests on whether you get your nails manicured and hair cut every two weeks! This end chapter spoilt the rest of the book for me. Bushnells inacuratness in dealing with English-ness made me wonder how much of an illusion the rest of the book was.
A light don't-take-seriously read. Nothing more than candy floss for the brain and a mild disapointment from the writer of Sex and the City
2 people found this helpful
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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.
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