To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyses reviews to verify trustworthiness.
I liked the book but almost put it down a couple of times in the first 4-5 chapters. I’m glad I didn’t. The stories are convoluted but relatable. From depression to surviving love and loss to learning how to change and to embrace that change in oneself, this isn’t precisely a feel-good story but I was content with the ending.
Steve Martin is a man and a mind of many facets. It is entirely wrong to consider this his first writing, as some of the other reviewers have, since he has been writing in many media for many years and is highly skilled. Beyond his remarkable stand-up comedy, which must surely have been written in some form or other before he delivered the material, his NEW YORKER pieces are almost always fabulous, and his PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE is a masterful piece of playwriting and a magnificent play. Now that SHOP GIRL is on the way to becoming a film starring Martin himself (some sly wit suggested that Winona Ryder might be the shop girl), this book is well worth buying and considering in detail. The coming fascination will be to see the extent to which Martin's concept, execution and characters are retained in the film, or how much will be sacrificed to the God of Hollywood Format and Popularity. Who will, in the end, portray the shop girl, an understated role that will call for subtle power from the 'right' actress. In SHOP GIRL Martin does not put a word wrong. If there is any criticism one might make, it would be that the prose is if anything a little spare, the mordant wit slightly too dry, the book a novella fleshed out with wide margins and few lines per page to produce some heft and justify the price tag. But these are mere nits being picked and should not deter the reader. As it is, this is an entirely satisfying and delightful book. If the reader discovers--as I did--that it reads with remarkable fluidity and elegance, there is an explanation (given by Martin himself in a PBS interview) that should be helpful to many writers: he reads his text aloud to himself, and in the process can detect words sequences or juxtapositions that generate dissonance. There is no dissonance here. Of course Martin has access to the media and to publication and screenplay adaptation based on his justifiably fine reputation. So, one asks, what will his next oeuvre be? If SHOP GIRL is any indication, it will be worth waiting for, indeed.
I didn't think Steve Martin had a serious bone in his body, but he apparently does, if this book is any indication. Don't get the wrong idea though, this book still has some very funny moments. Meet Mirabelle, a 28-year old innocent from Vermont working in the out-of-date glove department of an up-scale Beverly Hills department store. Mirabelle is depressed and has been ever since her image of her father as a hero was shattered. She is painfully shy and desperately wants someone to hold her. Enter Jeremy, a sluggish product of the California Public Schools system who has not learned how to treat a lady. Enter Ray Porter, a 50-something software millionaire who has not leanred to treat a lady either, but in a totally different way then Jeremy. As you can probably guess, all sorts of shmoopy relationship squabbles ensue. When I bought this book, I was afraid of the shmoopy stuff. About halfway through, however, I realized that I had laughed more than I had rolled my eyes. By the end of the book I realized that I had thoroughly enjoyed the story and was hoping for more. I think that Martin was able to keep me reading through the narrator's witty observations and comments. It really put a male perspective on the entire relationship scene and made this book worth the time it took to read it.
This isn't the kind of book I would normally read, I bought it mainly because I enjoy everything Steve Martin does. Pure Drivel, his collection of essays and articles, caused me to laugh so hard it hurt. I was expecting the same kind of insight and irony in this book. I was taken by surprise however. While this book is full of clever quips and observations, it is also very insightful in it's explorations of love and loneliness and what people do to avoid that loneliness. The main characters, Mirabelle and Ray, are written very three dimensional. The author doesn't flinch at showing the little girl neediness of Mirabelle as well as her endearing innocence. Likewise, Ray Porter is shown to be a shallow user but without making excuses for him the author also shows that he is a decent man. The secondary characters also recieve a non-judgemental exploration of who and why they are what they are. The ending had just the right touch. It wasn't the fairy tale, happy ending but a realistic, life-goes-on ending that had happiness in it. This book packs a rich dense narrative into 128 pages. It makes you care for Mirabelle and the people in her life. I'm glad I tried a book I wouldn't normally have read. Mr. Martin has written an enjoyable, fluid first novel and I look forward to more.
If you like this book you will love the movie too ..because it is more delicately focused on the heart than the ruminations of the mind. This book is so lovely. It is such an insightful observation of the openness of youth and the unconsciousness of self protection that can only, through heartbreak, make one capable of experiencing empathy.
This book was one of the rare few that manages to both digust me and delight me at the same time. This is not a light book by any means. I was expecting it to be, so I sort of got knocked out by it. I alternated between hating the main character (Mirabelle),wishing she'd get herself together and completely sympathizing with her (and her deep depression) in a way I haven't been able to with any other character in any other book. Martin is a great writer, and manages to blend humor with the serious subject of loneliness. He never gives Mirabelle too much credit, but he never dismisses her, either. He writes with a remarkable amount of tenderness. The characters that filled this book (only three, besides Mirabelle) were neither celebrated or ridiculed, instead just came into their own, on their own terms. It's very rare that characters in a book can step out of the pages and breathe, but Martin makes that happen. I'm not sure what else to write, because I don't want to spoil the book. I would highly recommend it. It's a quick read, and it's not exactly a joyous one, but you will find it hard to put down this book.
I have read several books by Martin, including his biography. His intelligence, humor, and understanding of human nature comes through in all. I was attracted to this novella after seeing the movie of the same title. The characters of Ray and Mirabelle rang true, sweet, but sad. The book is a little "rougher" in depiction of their behavior and the language, more hard edged. The author's take on what both Ray and Mirabelle get and take from the relationship on page 77 is brilliant. What we say,how we act, is so often misunderstood and when the truth comes out we are surprised and confused. Martin would make a good psychiatrist. The poor reviews of the work seem to be from readers expecting a "wild and crazy guy" rather than an astute observer of people and relationships.
Recommended to me by a friend. A quick read. But.....there is real depth in this writing and thought provoling interactions among the characters. Frequently the voice in my head was saying "that reminds me of......"