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Janey Wilcox has been a celebrity wannabe for much of her young life, and when we meet her in TRADING UP she has at last...
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Janey Wilcox has been a celebrity wannabe for much of her young life, and when we meet her in TRADING UP she has at last achieved many of her goals. She has made it big as a model for Victoria's Secret and has therefore become famous; she has at last been able to buy the car of her dreams; and has even been able to buy her own house in NY's exclusive Hamptons, which means she no longer has to choose boyfriends on the basis of who owns a Hamptons house she can summer in. While Janey has realized many of her ambitions, she hasn't yet realized all of them. She has yet to be taken seriously as an actress, and she hasn't found the man of her dreams. But that second thing, at least, is about to change.
In one of the early scenes in the novel, Janey finally gets invited to the most exclusive of all Hampton parties, which means, at least to her, that she has really made it. There, she runs into some of Hollywood's leading personalities, into the creme de la creme of NY society, and also into some people from her past she'd rather not have seen again. However, in the course of the party, she is introduced to and is charmed--captivated--by a handsome, successful man who soon thereafter becomes her boyfriend. But Janey's lilfe will never be simple, both because of who she is and also because of her past somewhat not always good girlish behavior, therefore it's not long before Janey's great new life begins to fray a bit at the edges.
At that particular moment, the talk of the town was Peter Cannon, an entertainment lawyer who had bilked several celebrity clients out of an estimated $35 million. In the months and years that would follow, there would be more scandals, billions of dollars lost, and the general ripping off of the American public. But in the meantime, "the Peter Cannon affair" had involved enough bold-faced names to at least temporarily satisfy gossip-hungry New Yorkers. Everyone who was anyone either knew Peter or knew someone he had thrillingly cheated - and after all, they asked themselves, shouldn't his clients have known better?
One of the victims was a thirty-one-year-old rock musician named Digger. Digger was one of those one-name wonders who, like so many great artists, had modest beginnings coupled with slightly freakish looks. He hailed from Des Moines, Iowa, had dirty blond hair and frighteningly white translucent skin through which one could see blue veins, and was given to wearing porkpie hats, which were his trademark.
On the Friday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend, he was calmly sitting by the pool at his $100,000 summer rental in Sagaponack in the Hamptons, smoking a filterless cigarette and watching his wife, Patty, who was heatedly talking on the phone.
Digger stubbed out his cigarette in a pot of chrysanthemums (there was a small pile of cigarette butts in the pot that would later be removed by the gardener), and leaned back on a teak chaise lounge. It was quite a beautiful day and he really couldn't understand what all the fuss over Peter Cannon was about. Being the sort of person who considered his purpose in life to be that of a higher nature than the grubby pursuit of filthy lucre, Digger had no real concept of the value of money. His manager estimated he had lost close to a million dollars, but to Digger, a million dollars was a shadowy abstract concept that could only be understood in terms of music. He figured he could earn back the million dollars by writing one hit song, but on that pleasant afternoon, ensconced in the lazy luxury of a Hamptons day, he seemed to be alone in his laissez-faire attitude.
His beloved wife, Patty, was in a stew, and for the past half hour had been blathering away on the phone to her sister, Janey Wilcox, a famous Victoria's Secret model.
As he gazed across the gunite pool to the gazebo where Patty sat hunched over the telephone, taking in her pleasing, slightly zaftig figure clad in a white one-piece bathing suit, she glanced up and their eyes met in mutual understanding. Patty stood up and began walking toward him, and as usual he was struck by the simplicity of her all-American beauty: the reddish blond hair that hung halfway down her back, the cute snub nose smattered with freckles, and her round blue eyes. Her older sister, Janey, was considered "a great beauty," but Digger had never seen it that way. Although Janey and Patty shared the same snub nose, Janey's face was too crafty and feral to attract him - and besides, he thought that Janey, with her screwed-up values about status and money, her flippant, arrogant airs, and her obsession with herself was, quite simply, a narcissistic asshole.
And now Patty stood before him, holding out the phone. "Janey wants to talk to you," she said. He pulled back his lips in a grimace, revealing small, unevenly spaced yellow teeth, and took the phone from Patty's hand.
"What's up?" he asked.
"Oh Digger." Janey's musical, slightly accented voice that always put him on edge came tinkling down the line. "I'm so sorry. I always knew Peter was going to do something really, really stupid. I should have warned you."
"How would you know?" Digger asked, picking a piece of tobacco out of his teeth.
"Well I dated him a few years ago," she said. "But only for a couple of weeks. He called everyone a fucking Polack ..."
Digger said nothing. His real last name was Wachanski, and he wondered if Janey had intended the insult. "So ...?" he asked.
"So I always knew he was a creep. Darling, I'm so upset. What are you going to do?"
Digger looked at Patty and grinned. "Well, I figure if he needs my money that badly he can keep it."
There was a gasp on the other end of the line and then a small silence, followed by Janey's melodic laugh. "How terribly, terribly ... Buddhist of you," she said, unable to keep a slight sneering tone out of her voice. And then, not knowing what else to say, she added, "I suppose I'll be seeing you at Mimi Kilroy's tonight."
"Mimi who?" Digger asked, adopting the same bored tone of voice he employed when someone asked him about Britney Spears. He knew exactly who Mimi Kilroy was, but, as she came from that segment of society that, like so many of his generation, he reviled - i.e., WASP Republican - he had no intention of giving Janey this satisfaction.
"Mimi Kilroy," Janey said, with mock patience. "Senator Kilroy's daughter..."
"Oh, right," Digger said. But he was no longer paying attention. Patty had sat down next to him and, shifting his weight, he wrapped a skinny leg around her waist. She turned her face toward his and touched his shoulder, and as usual he felt an overwhelming desire for her. "Gotta go," he said, clicking the OFF button on the phone. He pulled Patty on top of him and began kissing her face. He was deeply and romantically in love with his wife in a completely uncynical manner, and as far as he was concerned, that was all that mattered. Peter and Janey could go fuck themselves, he thought; and they probably would.
Well, really, Janey Wilcox thought. If Digger cared so little about money, why shouldn't he give some to her?
She peered through the windshield of her silver Porsche Boxster convertible at the endless stream of cars jammed up in front of her on the Long Island Expressway. It was so passé to be stuck in traffic on the way out to the Hamptons, especially if you were a supermodel. If she had an extra million, she thought, the first thing she'd do would be to take the seaplane out to the Hamptons, and then she'd get an assistant who would drive her car out for her, just like all of the rich men she knew. But that was the problem with New York: No matter how successful you thought you were, there was always someone who was richer, more successful, more famous ... the idea of it was sometimes enough to make you want to give up. But the sight of the gleaming silver hood of her car revived her a little, and she reminded herself that at this point in her life there was no reason to give up - and every reason to press on. With a little self-control and discipline, she might finally get everything she'd always wanted.
Her pink Chanel sunglasses had slipped down her nose and she pushed them up, feeling a little thrill of satisfaction at owning the must-have accessory of the summer. Janey was one of those people for whom the superficial comfortingly masks an inner void, and yet if anyone had called her shallow she would have been genuinely shocked. Janey Wilcox was a particular type of beautiful woman, who, acknowledged only for her looks, is convinced that she has great reserves of untapped talents. Hidden under her glossy, nearly perfect exterior was, she believed, some sort of genius who would someday make a significant contribution to the world, most likely artistic as opposed to commercial. The fact that there was no evidence to support this hope didn't dissuade her, and, indeed, she believed herself equal to anyone. If she were to meet Tolstoy, for instance, she was quite sure that he would immediately embrace her as a kindred spirit.
The traffic had slowed to twenty miles an hour, and Janey drummed her left hand on the steering wheel, her eighteen-karat-gold Bulgari watch flashing in the sun. Her fingers were long and slender - a fortune teller had once said that her hands were "artistic: - marred only by stubby fingertips with nails bitten to the quick. In the past nine months, ever since she'd been picked, Cinderella-like, to star in the new Victoria's Secret campaign, every makeup artist in town had pleaded with her to stop biting her nails, but it was an old childhood habit she couldn't break. The physical pain she inflicted on herself was a perverse way of controlling the emotional pain the world had inflicted on her.
And now, the frustration of sitting in traffic while imagining the seaplane flying overhead bearing the smarter members of the New York social set nearly drew her fingers to her mouth, but for once, she hesitated. She didn't really need to bite her nails - after all, she was finally on top of the world herself. Just a year ago, at thirty-two, she'd been practically washed up - her acting and modeling career had ground to a halt and she was so broke she'd had to borrow money from her rich lovers to pay her rent. And then there had been those shameful three weeks when she was so desperate she'd actually considered becoming a real estate agent and had even taken four classes. But hadn't fate stepped in and saved her, and hadn't she known it would all along? And glancing at herself in the rearview mirror, she reminded herself that she was far too beautiful to fail.
Her car phone rang and she pressed the green button, thinking that it must be her agent, Tommy. A year ago, Tommy wouldn't even return her calls, but ever since she'd landed the Victoria's Secret campaign and had her face plastered on billboards and featured in every magazine in America, Tommy was her new best friend, checking in with her several times a day and keeping her apprised of the latest gossip. Indeed, it had been Tommy who had informed her that morning that Peter Cannon had been arrested in his office yesterday, and they'd had a delicious chat dissecting Peter's character flaws, the main one being that Peter had lost his head working with celebrities and had somehow fancied that he'd become a celebrity himself New York might have been the land of reinventions but everybody knew there was an unbreachable line between "celebrities" and "service people," and lawyers, for all their education and expertise, are still "service people." Peter's story was now circulating as a cautionary tale: When one tried to circumvent the natural laws of celebrity and fame, the result was likely to be arrest and a possible jail sentence.
But instead of Tommy's sycophantic "Hi gorgeous," a woman's voice with a clipped English accent inquired, "Janey Wilcox, please."
"This is Janey," Janey said, knowing immediately that the person calling was the assistant to someone in the entertainment industry, as it had recently become de rigueur in that field to employ an English assistant.
"I have Mr. Comstock Dibble on the phone. Can you take the call?" And before Janey could respond, Comstock himself came on the line.
"Janey," he said gruffly, as if he intended to get right to the point. Janey hadn't seen or heard from Comstock Dibble for nearly a year, and the sound of his voice brought back a host of unpleasant associations. Comstock Dibble had been her lover the summer before, and Janey had actually fancied herself in love with him - until he suddenly became engaged to Mauve Binchely, a tall, reedy socialite. His rejection of her in favor of another woman (and one who wasn't, Janey thought, even remotely pretty) had been made all the more bitter by the fact that this was a scenario that had repeated itself many times in the past. While men were perfectly happy to date her, when it came to the ultimate union of marriage, they always seemed to spurn her in favor of a more "suitable" candidate.
On the other hand, Comstock Dibble, the head of Parador Pictures, was one of the most powerful men in the movie business, and it was entirely possible that he was calling to offer her a part in his next film. So, although she longed to teach him a lesson - even if that lesson was simply that she wasn't impressed by him anymore - she knew it would be wiser to tread lightly. That was what surviving in New York was all about putting aside your personal feelings in favor of the possibility of advancing your position. And so, in a voice that was cold (but not nearly as cold as she would have liked), Janey said, "Yes, Comstock?"
His next words, however, sent a jolt of fear through her body. "Janey," he said. "You know that you and I have always been friends."
Excerpted from Trading Up by Candace Bushnell Copyright © 2003 by Candace Bushnell. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted October 14, 2007
i expected great things when i bought this book. i thought the creator of sex and the city must be an amazing author to come up with that show, but i was so wrong. her writing is horrible! this book was such a waste of money, i only finished reading it because i wanted to try and get my money's worth out of it but that definitely didn't happen. there was no real story, it was dead from beginning to end and had absolutely no point to it. i hope nobody else wastes their money on this garbage.
3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 12, 2010
it was so bad I had to return the book after a few pages. I kept falling asleep or daydreaming. It couldn't hold onto me. She's a good author but missed the mark on this one altogether.
2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 25, 2008
I also read Sex and the City and 4 Blondes prior to reading this. I was kind of disappointed when I opened the book and realized that the author was focusing this book on Janey from 4 Blondes. She was my least favorite story of the 4 stories in that book. She was so ridiculously over the top with everything and maybe there are actually women like this in NYC, but I much enjoyed reading about Carrie Bradshaw and some of the other 'blondes' in 4 Blondes. It was light summer reading and that was fine, but I'm just glad I found this at a garage sale for 50 cents rather than actually buying it at the bookstore! However, I would recommend Bushnell's other books. This one was just average.
2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I appreciated the character of Janey Wilcox. Hated her at times, pitied her at times, and then just found her outrageous. Got better and better toward the end. Great beach read. If you like Sex in the City, you will like this book.
1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 19, 2006
I really wanted to like this book. Hoping this book to be the sassy next installment of girl power, I was willing to read all 563 pages waiting for either sweet revenge or the total collapse of the main character's world. This story had just enought to keep you going but was a real let-down when it came to the climax.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 10, 2013
Posted July 15, 2013
Posted April 13, 2009
If you like Sex & The City and find New York society interesting, this is a great book. If you watch "The Real Houswives of New York City", you will start looking similarities from the book and the show. Lots of fun.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 29, 2009
I read this book after reading Lipstick Jungle and One Fifth Avenue - both of which I loved. However, this book I found to be veryslow moving until the end and had way too much back story in it. I did not like the character of Janey Wilcox. I felt she was childish and really had no depth the her. I found myself skimming some of the page and really just wanting to be done with it. I am happy that I only spent $6 for this book as I got it as a last chance bargain.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 6, 2009
This book is boring and shallow. The characters are, at best, two dimensional and offer little reprieve from the trite and overly simplistic plot. I can't imagine why anyone would enjoy this pile of dribble, unless they are as uninteresting, superficial and petty as the characters in this book. Perhaps an overseas flight is the only reason to read this tragic waste of paper because this book offers a minor reprieve from the mind numbing boredom. However, after completing this hackneyed piece of garbage I doubt very seriously that it was any more entertaining than reading the safety instructions in the pocket of my seat.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 11, 2008
I wish I had better things to say but this book was such a huge disappointment. I was expecting all of the glitz and glamor that surrounded her other characters and received none. The story line was non existent, the characters were boring, and I had to drag myself to read it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 11, 2007
This is one of my favorite books and I have read it a few times. Bushnell's style of writing is not for everyone but I think this book is entertaining, sassy, full of details, and funny. I am obsessed with sex and the city and this book is just as great. Trading Up has WAY more personality and spice than any of those other 'chick' books! I liked this one better than Lipstick Jungle. I can't wait for her next novel!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 20, 2007
At first, I read the preview of the book in the front flap, and I thought it was going to be a great funny book, turns out it's not! Trading Up was one of the worsts books ever and even worse, I threw away the tag before I could return it! so I decided to finish reading and it was horrible!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 9, 2007
I LOVED THIS BOOK. THE FIRST BOOK TO IT '4 BLONDES' IS GREAT TOO. THIS BOOK HAS A GREAT CONTINUOUS STORY ABOUT 'JANEY', I REALLY FELL IN LOVE WITH 'JANEY'. I COULDN'T PUT THE BOOK DOWN. IT'S FUNNY, ENTERTAINING AND A GREAT READ. I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE IF SHE WRITES MORE OF THESE TYPES!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 24, 2006
Posted July 19, 2006
I had read 4 Blondes and although I didn't love it, Janey Wilcox was my favorite character in that novel so I was sure I would enjoy this book. Wrong. This book moved very slowly, and is divided into 3 'books' and I didn't even really begin getting into it until 'Book Three' a little late if you ask me. None of the characters are all that likeable and many of the side stories don't go anywhere and leave you wondering what happened with those people. It is a long read and I wouldn't waste your time with it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 11, 2006
(As titled in the story)...I loved this book so much! It was a great beach read & perfect for those 'lazy days & nights'. i loved the whole book, but the end killed it. i wanted to know more about mimi's 'surprise' & what happens with janey. if anyone knows, ugh, lucky you!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 11, 2006
I gotta say, I loved Sex and the city (shows) so I first read '4 Blondes' which was also excellent. So Trading Up was my latest purchase to kill air time on the plane. It was very long, slightly drawn out story line. If you want a plot or some real clear conclusion to the story, don't read this book. Really all it is, is a very shallow look and probably very realistic look into the lives of these ridiculously rich/beautiful women, primarily Janey. It's funny, it's sad and sometimes you just want to jump in and punch her in the face for the silly things she does and says. But I believe it would have been half as interesting otherwise. However, Candace is a very excellent writer, very descriptive. You feel like your there with the characters, like your inside the gossip tree and you get to know every little detail. So be prepared to spend more time getting to know Janey rather than seeing the book draw a real conclusion.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 18, 2006
I was disappointed by this book. The prose is long and drawn out, while vague at the same time. I could not figure out whether to feel sorry for her or despise her. Chapters 13 through 15 were the only part of the book that kept my attention, and it took a long time to get there. Normally, I love to devour books, this one took five months to read. So if you are unemployed and have nothing better to do, then go ahead and borrow it from some one but do not waste your money buying it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.