Book Review: Summer and the City

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

I just finished Candace Bushnell's Summer and the City, the sequel to her prequel The Carrie Diaries, which I received as a birthday present last year. This novel follows Carrie Bradshaw (protagonist of the oh-so-popular TV show "Sex and the City") as she spends the summer in New York before her freshman year at Brown.

As Carrie attends a writing workshop, she lives in Samantha Jones' apartment, since Samantha is too preoccupied with her fiance Charlie at his place (any SATC viewer knows this engagement won't last a second). Soon she meets Miranda Hobbes, the romantically disillusioned pro-life activist/feminist. Carrie gets carried away (pun intended) by all that NYC has to offer: shopping, parties, men, and the promise of a brighter future.

Unfortunately, as much as I loved Carrie in the TV show, she's a pretty obnoxious 17-year-old in this book. She was pretty immature and naive in The Carrie Diaries, but it's obvious she hasn't grown a bit. In fact, with a newly stroked ego when it comes to her writing abilities, she's downright pompous.

She foolishly gets involved with a recently-divorced 30-something playwright named Bernard Singer. Bernard just wants a little sex pet, but Carrie believes he's "The One" and proceeds to lie about her age, call him every 30 minutes, and make a complete joke out of herself.

There are blatant inconsistencies between the books and the show, mainly about Carrie's de-virginization story. But when the climax of a novel coincides with a character's first climax, you know there's not much substance. Technically, this book's considered young-adult, but I worry that teenage girls are going to get the wrong ideas about love and life.

Carrie and her friends were horrible role models when they were young (and many would argue, even in their 30's), so read this story for entertainment, not instructional, purposes. Don't believe everything people say, don't have sex out of peer pressure, and DON'T drop out of school for a life in a big city thinking you can rely on sheer willpower. Trust me, get an education and a job--the big city will still be there when you've gained some experience.

So unless you're a hardcore "Sex and the City" fan, pass this book up. Carrie's just a self-centered, misguided twit, and there's too many novels out there with more worthy female leads. I'm about to start Crossed, the sequel to Ally Condie's Matched, so I hope main character Cassia proves stronger and smarter than miss Carrie Bradshaw.