Monday, January 18, 2010

Book Review: Shopgirl by Steve Martin

Shopgirl - Steve Martin

Mirabelle works at the glove counter of department store Neiman Marcus, ‘selling things that nobody buys anymore’. Attractive in an unconventional sort of way, Mirabelle manages to avoid the attention of most of the people she works with, and attempts to isolate herself from those she believes to be all beauty and no brains, especially those behind the perfume counters, despite her loneliness.
Her life consists of spending the day at work, bored out of her brains, going home to her two cats and occasionally going out with her friends Loki and Del Rey, if they remember to include her. She also draws and sells her artwork to galleries.
But then two men come into her life- younger Jeremy, who she meets at the Laundromat and who spray-paints logos onto amplifiers, and the older Ray Porter, a wealthy businessman who is nearly twice her age, but willing to spend any amount of money on her. Embarking on relationships with the two men at different points in her life, emotionally fragile Mirabelle struggles to discover what love really is, and through a series of events, attempts to find her place in this often confusing world.

What I gained from reading this book:
Mirabelle is a bit of a recluse- a loner whose depressive state is often hidden behind the façade of aloofness or daydreaming, and whose dark feelings are pushed back by various medications. At times however, such as when her medications fail, she falls into a state of lethargy and is unable to find the willpower to do even the simplest thing. There are probably many people like this in the world, yet most authors do not attempt to make them the protagonists of their novels. Therefore, a whole new world of people struggling with mental illnesses is hidden from readers. Perhaps if more novels were written that feature characters like this, there would be a greater public awareness, and acceptance of, mental illnesses and their affects on people.

This novella is well written and often witty. Readers are able to relate to Mirabelle as she struggles with the tediousness of her job, and can sympathise with her as she realises that she’s wasting her life behind the glove counter at Neiman’s.

Some people may not appreciate the quirkiness of this novella, and may wonder what the point of the story is. The truth is, this is basically a story about a young woman’s struggle to accept herself and her uninspiring life, and her effort to understand what love is and how it will affect her. These are lessons everybody can learn, and so even if you don’t like the way that the story is written or set out, Shopgirl should hold some meaning.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Genre: Romance/ Relationships

Recommended for: Fans of Steve Martin, or people who enjoyed the film.

Australians can buy the book by clicking the picture below:

Shopgirl: A Novella

No comments:

Post a Comment