Shopgirl: A Novella

Shopgirl: A Novella

3.9 130
by Steve Martin

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One of our country's most acclaimed and beloved entertainers, Steve Martin has written a novella that is unexpectedly perceptive about relationships and life. Martin is profoundly wise when it comes to the inner workings of the human heart.Mirabelle is the "shopgirl" of the title, a young woman, beautiful in a wallflowerish kind of way, who works behind the glove

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One of our country's most acclaimed and beloved entertainers, Steve Martin has written a novella that is unexpectedly perceptive about relationships and life. Martin is profoundly wise when it comes to the inner workings of the human heart.Mirabelle is the "shopgirl" of the title, a young woman, beautiful in a wallflowerish kind of way, who works behind the glove counter at Neiman Marcus "selling things that nobody buys anymore . . ."Slightly lost, slightly off-kilter, very shy, Mirabelle charms because of all that she is not: not glamorous, not aggressive, not self-aggrandizing. Still there is something about her that is irresistible.Mirabelle captures the attention of Ray Porter, a wealthy businessman almost twice her age. As they tentatively embark on a relationship, they both struggle to decipher the language of love—with consequences that are both comic and heartbreaking. Filled with the kind of witty, discerning observations that have brought Steve Martin critical success, Shopgirl is a work of disarming tenderness.

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Editorial Reviews
Martin is truly a Renaissance man -- New Yorker scribe, playwright, and bestselling author (his collection Pure Drivel landed on the New York Times bestseller list), and, of course, an actor acclaimed as much for his versatility as for his impeccable comic timing. Martin seems to have harnessed not merely one, but rather all of those talents for the writing of Shopgirl, the bittersweet story of one young woman's quest for the perfect man. Those fans and readers looking for laughs could be in for a surprise, however, for what Martin has created in Shopgirl, though not entirely devoid of humor, is a genuine and powerful work of literature. Highly recommended.

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Hachette Books
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Age Range:
13 - 18 Years

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Chapter One

WHEN YOU WORK IN THE glove department at Neiman's, you are selling things that nobody buys anymore. These gloves aren't like the hard-working ones sold by L.L. Bean; these are so fine that a lady wearing them can still pick up a straight pin. The glove department is adjacent to the couture department and is really there for show. So a lot of Mirabelle's day is spent leaning against the glass case with one leg cocked behind her and her arms splayed outward, resting on her palms against the countertop. On an especially slow day she might lean over the case on her elbows—although this position is definitely not preferred by the management—and stare through the glass at the leather and silk gloves that lie on display like pristine, just-caught fish. The overhead lights reflect in the glass countertop and mingle with the gray and black of the gloves, resulting in a mother-of-pearl swirl that sometimes sends Mirabelle into a shallow hypnotic dream.

    Everyone is silent at Neiman's, as though it were a religious site, and Mirabelle always tries to quiet the tap-tap-tapping of her heels when she walks across the percussive marble floors. If you saw her, you would assume By her gait that she is in danger of slipping at any moment. However, this is the way Mirabelle walks all the time, even on the sure friction of a concrete sidewalk. She has simply never quite learned to walk or hold herself comfortably, which makes her come off as an attractive wallflower. For Mirabelle, the high point of working at a department store is that she gets to dress up to go to work, as the Neiman's dress codeencourages her to be a model of precision and style. Her problem, of course, is paying for the clothes that she favors, but one way or another, helped out by a generous employee discount and a knack for mixing and matching a recycled dress with a 50 percent off Armani sweater, she manages to dress well without straining her budget.

    Every day at lunchtime she walks around the corner into Beverly Hills to the Time Clock Café, which offers her a regular lunch at a nominal price. One sandwich, which always amounts to three dollars and seventy-five cents, a side salad, and a drink, and she can keep her tab just under her preferred six-dollar maximum, which can surge to nearly eight dollars if she opts for dessert. Sometimes, a man whose name she overheard once—Tom, she thinks it is—will eye her legs, which show off nicely as she sits at a wrought-iron table so shallow it forces her to angle them out into the aisle. Mirabelle, who never takes credit for her attractiveness, believes it is not she he is responding to but rather something independent of her, like the lovely line her fine blue skirt makes as it cuts diagonally across the white of her thigh.

    The rest of the day at Neiman's sees her leaning or bending or rearranging, with the occasional odd customer pulling her out of the afternoon's slow motion until 6 P.M. finally ticks over. She then closes the register and walks over to the elevator, her upper body rigid. She descends to the first floor and passes the glistening perfume counters, where the salesgirls stay a full half hour after closing to accommodate late buyers, and where by now, the various scents that have been sprayed throughout the day onto waiting customers have collected into strata in the department store air. So Mirabelle, at five-six, always smells Chanel number 5, while someone at five-two is always treated to the heavier Chanel number 19. This daily walk always reminds her that she works in the Siberia of Neiman's, the isolated, landlocked glove department, and she wonders when she will be moved around in the hierarchy to at least perfume, because there, in the energetic, populated worlds of cosmetics and aromatics, she can get that which she wants more than anything: someone to talk to.

    Depending on the time of year, Mirabelle's drive home offers either the sunny evening light of summer or the early darkness and halogen headlights of winter in Pacific standard time. She traverses Beverly Boulevard, the chameleon street with elegant furniture stores and restaurants on one end and Vietnamese shops selling mysterious packaged roots on the other. In fifteen miles, like a Monopoly game in reverse, this street dwindles in property value and ends at her second-story apartment in Silverlake, an artists' community that is always bordering on being dangerous but never quite succeeding. Some evenings, if the timing is right, she can climb the outdoor stairs to her walkup and catch L.A.'s most beautiful sight: a Pacific sunset cumulating over the spread of lights that flows from her front-door stoop to the sea. She then enters her apartment, which for no good reason doesn't have a window to the view, and the disappearing sun finally blackens everything outside, transforming her windows into mirrors.

    Mirabelle has two cats. One is normal, the other is a reclusive kitten who lives under a sofa and rarely comes out. Very rarely. Once a year. This gives Mirabelle the feeling that there is a mysterious stranger living in her apartment whom she never sees but who leaves evidence of his existence by subtly moving small, round objects from room to room. This description could easily apply to Mirabelle's few friends, who also leave evidence of their existence, in missed phone messages and rare get-togethers, and are also seldom seen. This is because they view her as an oddnik, and their failure to include her leaves her alone on many nights. She knows that she needs new friends but introductions are hard to come by when your natural state is shyness.

    Mirabelle replaces the absent friends with books and television mysteries of the PBS kind. The books are mostly nineteenth-century novels in which women are poisoned or are doing the poisoning. She does not read these books as a romantic lonely hearts turning pages in the isolation of her room, not at all. She is instead an educated spirit with a sense of irony. She loves the gloom of these period novels, especially as kitsch, but beneath it all she finds that a part of her identifies with all that darkness.

    There is something else, too: Mirabelle can draw. Her output is small in quantity and size. Only a few four-by-five-inch drawings are finished in a year, and they are infused with the eerie spirit of the mysteries she reads. She densely coats the paper with a black waxy crayon, covering everything except the image she wants to reveal, which appears to be floating up through the blackness. Her latest is a rendering of a crouching child charred stiff in the lava of Pompeii. Her drawing hand is sure, trained in the years she spent acquiring a master of fine arts degree at a California college while incurring thirty-nine thousand dollars of debt from student loans. This degree makes her a walking anomaly among the perfume girls and shoe clerks at Neiman's, whose highest accomplishments are that they were cute in high school. Rarely, but often enough to have a small collection of her own work, Mirabelle gets out the charcoals and pulls the kitchen lamp down low, near the hard surface of her breakfast table, and makes a drawing. It is then properly fixed and photographed and stowed away in a professional portfolio. These nights of drawing leave her exhausted, for they require the full concentration of her energy, and on those evenings she stumbles to bed and falls into a dead sleep.

    On a normal night, her routine is very simple, involving the application of lotion to her body while chattering to the visible kitten, with occasional high-voiced interjections to the assumed cat under the sofa. If there were a silent observer, Mirabelle would be seen as a carefree, happy girl who is preparing for a night on the town. But in reality, these activities are the physical manifestations of her stillness.

    Tonight, as the evening closes, Mirabelle slips into bed, says an audible good night to both cats, and shuts her eyes. Her hand clicks off the lamp next to her, and her head fills with ghosts. Now her mind can wander in any landscape it desires, and she makes a nightly ritual of these waking dreams. She sees herself standing on the edge of a tropical lagoon. A man comes up from behind her, wraps his arms around her, buries his face in her neck, and whispers, "don't move." The image generates a damp first molecule of wetness between her legs, and she presses her bladed hand between them, and falls asleep.

    In the morning, the dry food that had heen laid out in a bowl the night before is now gone, more evidence of the phantom cat. Mirabelle, sleepy eyed and still groggy, prepares her breakfast and takes her Serzone. The Serzone is a gift from God that frees her from the immobilizing depression that would otherwise surround her and seep into her body like a poisonous fog. The drug distances the depression from her, although it is never out of sight. It is also the third mood elevator that she has tried in as many years. The first two worked, and worked well for a while, then abruptly dropped her. There is always a struggle as the new drug, which for a while has to be blended with the old one, takes root in her brain and begins to work its mysterious chemistry.

    The depression she battles is not the newly acquired symptom of a young woman now living in Los Angeles on her own. It was first set in the bow in Vermont, where she grew up, and fired as a companion arrow that has traveled with her ever since. With the drug, she is generally able to corner it and keep it separate from her daily life. There are black stretches, however, when she is unable to move from her bed. She takes full advantage of the sick days that are built into her work allowances at Neiman's.

    In spite of her depression, Mirabelle likes to think of herself as humorous. She can, when the occasion calls. become a wisecracker and buoyant party girl. This mood, Mirabelle thinks, sometimes makes her the center of attention at parties and gatherings. The truth is that these episodes of gaiety merely raise her to normal, but for Mirabelle the feeling is so exceptional that she believes herself to be standing out. The power at these parties remains with the neurotically spirited women, who attract men whose need it is to tame them. Mirabelle attracts men of a different kind. They are shyer and more reticent. They look at her a long time before approaching, and when they do find something about her that they want, it is something simple within her.


AT TWENTY-SIX, JEREMY IS two years younger than Mirabelle. He grew up in the slacker-based L.A. high school milieu, where aspiration languishes and the lucky ones get kick-started in their first year of college by an enthused and charismatic professor. He had no college dreams and hence no proximity to the challenge of new faces and ideas—he currently stencils logos on amplifiers for a living—and Jeremy's life after high school slid sideways on an imperceptibly canted icy slope, angling away from center. It is appropriate that he and Mirabelle met at a Laundromat, the least noir dating arena on earth. Their first encounter began with "hey," and ended with a loose "see ya," as Mirabelle stood amidst her damp underwear and jogging shorts.

    Jeremy took Mirabelle on approximately two and a half dates. The half date was actually a full evening, but was so vaporous that Mirabelle had trouble counting it as a full unit. On the first, which consisted mainly of shuffling around a shopping mall while Jeremy tried to graze her ass with the back of his hand, he split the dinner bill with her and then, when she suggested they actually go inside the movie theatre whose new neon front so transfixed Jeremy, made her pay for her own ticket. Mirabelle could not afford to go out again under the same circumstances, and there was no simple way to explain this to him. The conversation at dinner hadn't been successful either; it bore the marks of an old married couple who had very little left to say to each other. After walking her to her door, he gave her his phone number, in a peculiar reversal of dating procedure. She might have considered kissing him, even after the horrible first date, but he just didn't seem to know what to do. However, Jeremy does have one outstanding quality. He likes her. And this quality in a person makes them infinitely interesting to the person who is being liked. At the end of their first date, as she stepped inside her apartment and her hand was delivering the door to its jamb, there was a slight pause, and they exchanged a quick look of inexplicable intent. Once inside, instead of forever losing his number in her coat pocket, she absentmindedly stuck it under her phone.

    Six days after their first date, which had cut Mirabelle's net worth by 20 percent, she runs into Jeremy again at the Laundromat. He waves at her, gives her the thumbs-up sign, then watches her as she loads clothes into the machines. He seems unable to move, but speaks just loudly enough for his voice to carry over twelve clanking washing machines, "Did you watch the game last night?" Mirabelle is shocked when she later learns that Jeremy considers this their second date. This fact comes out when at one abortive get-together, Jeremy invokes the "third date" rule, believing he should be received at second base. Mirabelle is not fooled by any such third date rule, and she explains to Jeremy that she cannot conceive of any way their Laundromat encounter, or any encounter involving the thumbs-up sign, can be considered a date.

    This third date is also problematic because after warning Jeremy that she is not going to pay half of its cost, she is taken to a bowling alley and forced to pay for her own rental shoes. Jeremy explains that bowling shoes are an article of clothing, and he certainly can't be expected to pay for what she wears on a date. If only Jeremy's logical mind could be applied to astrophysics and not rental shoes, he would now be a honcho at NASA. He does cough up for dinner and several games, even though he uses discount coupons clipped from the newspaper to help pay for it all. Finally, Mirabelle suggests that if they have future dates, he should take her phone number, call her, and they could do free things. Mirabelle knows, and she lets this be unspoken, that all free things require conversation. Sitting in a darkened movie theatre requires absolutely no conversation at all, whereas a free date, like a walk down Hollywood Boulevard in the busy evening, requires comments, chatter, observations, and with luck, wit. She worries that since they have only exchanged perhaps two dozen words between them, these free dates will be horrible. She is still willing to go out with him, however, until something less horrible comes along.

    Jeremy's attraction to Mirabelle arises from her passing similarity to someone he had fallen in love with in his preadolescent life. This person is Popeye's girlfriend, Olive Oyl, whom he used to swoon over in a few antique comic books lent to him by his uncle. And yes, Mirabelle does bear some similarity, but only after the suggestion is made. You would not walk into a room, see her for the first time, and think Olive Oyl. However, once the idea is proposed, one's response might be a long, slow, "ahhhh ... yes." She has a long thin body, two small dark eyes, and a small red mouth. She also dresses like Olive Oyl, in fitted clothes—never a fluffy, girly dress—and she holds herself like Ms. Oyl, too, in a kind of jangle. Olive Oyl has no breasts, but Mirabelle does, though the way she carries herself, with her shoulders folded, in clothing that never accentuates her curves, makes her appear flat. All this in no way discounts her attractiveness. Mirabelle is attractive; it's just that she is never the first or second girl chosen. But to Jeremy, Mirabelle's most striking resemblance to Olive Oyl is her translucent skin. It recalls for him the pale skin of the cartoon figure, which was actually the creamy paper showing from underneath.

    Jeremy's thought process is so thin that he has the happy consequence of always ending up doing exactly what he wants to do at all times. He never complicates a desire by overthinking it, unlike Mirabelle, who spins a cocoon around an idea until it is immobile. His view of the world is one that keeps his blood pressure low, sweeping the cholesterol from his relaxed, freeway-sized arteries. Everyone knows he is going to live till age ninety, although the question that goes begging is, "for what?"

    Jeremy and Mirabelle are separated by a hundred million miles of vacuum space. He falls asleep at night in blissful ignorance. She, subtly doped on her prescription, time-travels through the terrain of her unconscious until she is overcome by sleep. He knows only what is right in front of him; she is aware of every incoming sensation that glances obliquely against her soft, fragile core. At this stage of their lives, in true and total fact, the only thing they have in common is a Laundromat.

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Shopgirl 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 129 reviews.
margieb More than 1 year ago
This offbeat romance was delightful. Mr. Martin's writing style is fresh and engaging. The book was a quick and easy read, but there was excellent character development. It was laugh out loud funny in parts, but also very poignant. I frequently found myself re-reading certain lines because I loved the unique way in which they were written. It is intelligent and does not have the pat ending of many other light romance stories. It is probably more accurately described as a novella than a book, but the length seemed just right for the story. I look forward to reading more stories by Steve Martin if they are as sharp, witty and quirky as this one.
songcatchers More than 1 year ago
Shopgirl is an amusing character study. Mirabelle, a 28 year old, is kind of stuck in a post-college pre-career limbo. She gets involved with two different men; Ray Porter, a millionaire in his 50's and Jeremy, a 20 something who still acts like a teenager. Each of these men have faults as well as redeeming qualities. Mirabelle gets her heart broken but in the end, she finds happiness. Shopgirl has truly hilarious episodes. It has a more somber side though when we see the effects of giving yourself totally to someone only to have them take a tiny piece of you. I really like these characters, they are quite quirky. Overall, Shopgirl is an entertaining novella but I enjoyed the movie more.
LovesPrint More than 1 year ago
it's beautiful. read it. Based on how much I loved this book, I bought The Pleasure of my Company, and An Object of Beauty; his gentle humor in the event of ridiculous circumstance is what I keep coming back for. He reminds me of a modern-day Somerset Maugham.
Brooke_Dawn More than 1 year ago
The perspective that the book was written in was very interesting. The story was short, but mostly to the point. I would be interested to see what happened to the characters down the road. In my opinion, the story could have had more to it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really love this book. I have read it three times now, and each time, I take something new from it and build a deeper understanding of the characters. I recommend this book to everyone I know! And please, read the book before you watch the movie! The book, as always, is so much better than the film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book over the summer and I read it again later on. I enjoyed it both times. The story just keeps building as the book continues and it also diminishes. Who would know that a life without love is no life at all. This book overall made me realize that sometimes it better not to force things. Let fate take its own course. Oh and about the know the book is always better so dont criticize just enjoy :)
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have always enjoyed Steve Martin's work -- on TV or in movies he always made me laugh, often with his gifted physical humor, but just as often with his dry, witty observations. Martin's best work has always been that which he wrote himself, so with that in mind I decided to read Shopgirl before watching the movie. The story revolves around a classic love triangle situation -- shy, awkward young girl attempts to choose between two suitors, the older rich man who is also emotionally distant, and the young fella who hasn't quite gotten his life in order. Although Shopgirl is a character-driven story, it is ironic that the characters are little more than stereotypes (besides the above, there is also the shallow young vain girl, and the emotionally withdrawn Vietnam Veteran dad, to name a couple). Everyone has a story arc in which they mature and grow in exactly the ways we expect. Martin's prose is distant and withdrawn, often choosing to describe actions, thoughts and conversations rather than show them occurring ('show, don't tell' is often the editor's plea to young writers, and Martin could have used more of that advice). I suppose I should comment on Martin's witty remarks, which populate much of the first half of the novella before the tone turns more serious. Sarcastic asides pepper the early pages, as though this was merely a collection of Martin's observations of life in Beverly Hills rather than an attempt at a story. For example: 'In Beverly Hills, young men, searching for young women who remind them of their face-lifted mothers, are stranded and forlorn in a sea of natural-looking twenty-five-year-olds.' Martin should be above such petty snobbery, yet he sinks to it often. I found myself depressed after finishing, so I suppose the story and characters may have some emotional weight after all. But, frankly, I expected better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this a couple months before the movie was to be released having heard great things about it, but I was definitely disappointed. The story didn't really captivate me, the characters were weakly developed, and it was just depressing overall. I can see the kind of dispirited, witty, intellectual novella Martin was aiming for, but I don't think he quite hit the mark. Honestly, I only continued reading expecting it to get considerably better somewhere, but I was pretty much bored throughout the whole book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was one I had wanted to read for awhile. I was very interested in seeing the way Steve Martin would write. Although this book was a little graphic and very intense in some parts, in a odd way, really enjoyed watching the main chracter Mirabelle 'grow up'. I wouldn't say it was the best book I've ever read, but I would recommend it. I t was very compelling and a psychological way.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I got the book for my Eng class, and I had to write a paper on it. Right from the beginning the book kept me addicted. Some would say that it's a simple book, but the book is about a girl's life and journey to self-discovery, wh/ is really entertaining. I would recommend it to anybody that just wants to read something entertaining and funny at the same time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a big Steve Martin fan and maybe the movie will be better than the book. A bunch of one dimesional men and women that judge each other by the clothes they wear. There is only one funny moment in the book. The rest of it is a feeble attemplt to define these stereotypical characters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Yes, Martin's prose is well constructed and his observations insightful...but also so depressing. I'd waited a long time to read this, looking forward to enjoying it. Sigh. And I can see why the movie will be rated 'R'. Can't anyone write an inteligent, mature novel (or novella) with using schoolboy descriptions?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I got this book a few months ago and finally sat down and read it, in two days. It shows you how people are flawed and how people may not fully understand the harm that they do to each other, how self-esteem plays a factor. But I enjoyed the main character's journey to self-discovery.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read a variety of different books generally to fill the hour commute each way to/from work. This was not what I expected, but still a good read. Not a book to read if you are looking for humor from Steve Martin. It is a sort of poignant story about the dating scene and the search for love from 4 interwoven stories. The tone is low-level throughout, a smooth read that is over before you know it. While it does not have the upbeat happy ending that I enjoy, there is something to say about the depiction of a good ending to the wrong relationship. I was pleasantly surprised by this non-traditional novella by Steve Martin.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Shopgirl' does have its humorous moments, but it's not classic Martin. Rather, it's a darker brand of reality (if one considers LA to be reality). Martin's first full-length fiction book is as fully developed as the premise is original. Martin updates the age-old love triangle consisting, in his tale, of Mirabelle, a lonely young girl in need of true love; Ray Porter, a well-off older man exploring the ways of women; and Jeremy, a young convenient 'knight,' although he's hardly the shining-armor type. The title character is Mirabelle, 28, who moved to California with dreams of a 'real' life but instead finds herself dependent on a myriad of anti-depressants and working at Neiman Marcus to pay off college loans. Her void in social interaction parallels her life outside of work. A sex-crazed girl in the perfume department seemingly foils Mirabelle at one point, but isn't given enough description or time to develop. Martin's prose is bland and overly descriptive. He does not provide enough depth or description in character development but goes well beyond when analyzing day-to-day life and characters' appearances and actions. This style occasionally impedes the flow of the story, but overall it enriches the text and forces the reader to pay more attention to one's unconscious observations throughout the daily routine. He accomplishes this with an omniscient narrator and thus lends a unique angle to the story. One technique, which Martin developed well but failed to use often enough, was his original dialogue. Like the great description of Ray's goal of getting into bed without a commitment, and Mirabelle's stereotypical interpretation of that as commitment and love. The novel is too short to develop more than the superficial plot of love triangle. Martin is clearly new to the genre and his novella leaves something to be desired. But he has the mark of a talented observer, and I hope he will develop this in another work with a less convenient turn of events.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is sweet and sad, funny yet sorrowful. Meet Mirabelle, shopgirl and artist. Meet her sometime boyfriend, Jeremy, and meet Mr. Ray Porter, the fifty-something man she¿s also dating. The story isn¿t your run-of-the-mill romance in Los Angeles (and to quote the book, the city where practically everything is fake), but what romance should be? This book is a very quick read filled with characters you could imagine meeting, knowing, liking, and rooting for. There was, however, a specific event mentioned and questions were raised about Mirabelle¿s father that Mr. Martin doesn¿t clear up at the end that either could have been left out altogether or tidied up. All in all, a very good read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Read another book by the creative and funny Steve Martin, but skip this one. He can do better. In Shopgirl a well-meaning lonely rich guy in his fifties enjoys a relationship and casual sex with a 28 year old. On various occasions he tries vaguely and unsuccessfully to make it clear to her that this could not develop into a long term relationship. The relationship goes around and around: She is in denial about being hurt, and he is in denial about hurting her. There are some clever art, insights, and descriptions here and there about loneliness that I could relate to. Overall, however, I would not recommend this book for many reasons. None of the main characters take chances in their lives. The repeat pattern of denial by a clueless man in his fifties about his and her needs in the relationship seems as if he just landed on this planet. It is hard to believe the change of a minor character from basically the village idiot to a brainy, wise, salesman of high-end audio equipment. The preoccupation of all the characters about fashion is annoying. Mr. Martin is highly talented and I would enjoy reading anything else that had a more believable storyline.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Shopgirl was one of the best books that I have read in a while, plus to boot it was written by Steve Martin. I felt I could relate to Mirabelle and her life. She see's how the other half lives, but just wants to be happy in her own world. She finds a man her age who could really care less, and then she finds the "older man". She doesn't base her self on the men she dates, but lets them hold importance in her life. A great coming of age story. I only wish that quality writing like this came around more often.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of my all time favorite books. The simplicity of this book is what makes it so wonderful. At times, yes, it is funny, but not like many might think. I think some people purchase this book looking for typical 'funny/witty/joking Steve Martin' and those people will be let down. This is a book of rare beauty, describing an ordinary woman, in ordinary situations. What makes this book so great is how Steve Martin can take the everyday and turn it into a work of art simply by putting the words in order. The book reads very fast and the characters are very real each with their own unique, realistic flaws. This book would have been published with or without Steve Martins celebrity, he is a brilliant writer and I hope that he continues to write.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was captivated by this book from cover to cover...beautiful, simple, and all too real.. It makes me miss the Ray of my youth and appreciate my Jeremy -- and myself! Praise the author for creating a perfect imperfect heroine, and beautiful all too real men for her to love
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading Shop Girl and I absolutely love it! Martin's writing technique is like no other. If you think he's funny in his movies, read this book and you'll get a new understanding of him. This book isn't the classic happy ending but more of a twist into a real-life scenario. Looking foward to reading Pure Drivel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I finished ShopGirl in 3 days, I was so inetested in finding out what would happen next. It is about a girl named Mirabelle, who lives in LA and works at Niemans Marcus. She works at the glove dep't and we all know how borring that can be! She doesn't try to attract too many guys, but when she does, they get busy! The few business she gets turns out to be a change in her outlook on men and how she should reconsider her actions. There is a little problem; Lisa. There are always a few jealous girls hanging around. This is a great book and I was able to relate to it, or at least learn from it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
To say I 'loved' or 'enjoyed' this beautiful literary treasure doesn't capture the haunting beauty and lyrical sentences which permeate this novella. I was mezmerized and deeply touched by this book. Thank God Mirabella lacks all the shrill, loud, obnoxious qualities that define a woman as 'beautiful' or 'successful' in this harsh, modern world. Some reviewers found this book boring, but I was mesmerized and captivated not only by the characters but the elegant beauty and painful realism of Mr. Martin's writing, not to mention his gentle and laugh-out-loud humorous moments that sprinkle the pages. His uncanny knack for taking our deepest thoughts and feelings and putting them down simply and beautifully truly astounded me. I had no idea he had such sensitivity and insight. It is as if he looked into the deepest recesses of my soul and put them down on paper. Compared to the hundreds of books out there who portray almost all young women as brash, trash-mouthed,spunky or funky,agressive, over-sexed career superwomen who MUST HAVE IT ALL, including the dashing, macho, hunky superhero with perfect abs...UGH! I'll take shy, sensitive Mirabella and the very real Ray Porter any day. This book is a treasure, with its well-rounded, flesh-and-bone characters, wonderful plot, and keen insight into the male and female psyche...all the while keeping us turning page after page, not wanting it to end. Mr. Martin, I hope you write another one. Your book is a treasure.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I finished reading this novella in one day and when I did, I immediately started reading it again. Martin's writing is terrific. The characters come alive and it is hard not to think about them after putting the novella down. Everyone knows a Mirabelle, Jeremy, or Ray. I only wish that every book is as enjoyable as this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book demonstrates the power of showbiz celebrity. Neither a nobody nor a serious writer would have had the nerve to submit this to an editor. It failed my 30 page boredom threshold, but I continued thinking that I may be missing something. The discussion at the local book club confirmed that I wasn¿t. Weak story, poorly developed characters, and a patronizing, plodding and distant third person narration style. Yes, there were a few witty observations, but then also some gratuitous prurience. This may be enough for a sketch or column, but padding it into a `novella¿ is a bit of a stretch. No doubt the author tired of it too, hence the abrupt ending. I¿m just glad I saved the money by borrowing it from the library. Sorry for being so harsh, but I had just read `Talking it Over¿ and `Love etc.¿ by Julian Barnes. I would suggest all the `glowing reviewers¿ take a look at these to see how a really skilled writer puts himself into his characters shoes.