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Killing Monica by Candace Bushnell

Killing Monica by Candace Bushnell

Pandy “PJ” Wallis is a renowned writer whose novels about a young woman making her way in Manhattan have spawned a series of blockbuster films. After the success of the Monica books and movies, Pandy wants to attempt something different: a historical novel based on her ancestor Lady Wallis. But Pandy’s publishers and audience only want her to keep cranking out more Monica-as does her greedy husband, Jonny, who’s gone deeply in debt to finance his new restaurant in Las Vegas. 

When her marriage crumbles and the boathouse of her family home in Connecticut goes up in flames, Pandy suddenly realizes she has an opportunity to reinvent herself. But to do so, she will have to reconcile with her ex-best friend and former partner in crime, SondraBeth Schnowzer, who plays Monica on the big screen-and who may have her own reasons to derail Pandy’s startling change of plan.

I am normally a 2-3 books a week kind of person. I devour books. Normally, I read before I head into work and before I go to bed of a night and all weekend in between moments of eating. I have not read a single book since before we went to Thailand – over two months ago. I have picked up a few and gotten to about page three before calling it quits. Whatever the reason, I simply cannot read at the moment.

We have finally kind of somewhat settled into our new house, with our little family (me, Pete, Bump, Dot, Woof) and our new routines; surely, I found myself thinking, surely now I will be able to get into a book? I looked at my bookshelf and reefed through a few of the many boxes of books still yet to be unpacked in our back room in search of light read and preferably something that I had not read before.

I landed on Candace Bushnell’s Killing Monica because it sounded like one of those guilty pleasure reads that are based around New York and things I can’t afford and levels of glamour that I will never understand nor attain and a story line that I could give or take. I like to think of books like these as ‘gateway books’ – the books that get you back on the horse and reading again. I looked up Killing Monica on GoodReads and it was not pretty. Most people gave it a single, sad, lone little star but the average was brought up from that handful of people that SIMPLY LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THE BOOK SO HERE ARE FIVE STARS AND MY FIRST BORN CHILD.

I have never liked the idea of giving a book a bad review. Sure, I may not enjoy all books that I read but I just put that down to personal preference; if I don’t like a book, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it was terrible (besides The Fictional Woman by Tara Moss which was truly hideous and the only book I have ever thrown out). I went into Killing Monica knowing that it was going to be a very light, simple read which is exactly what I needed. With that knowledge and yes, that expectation, I was able to appreciate the somewhat ridiculous plot, the underdeveloped characters and the very basic prose.

When I was reading a little bit about the book online, a number of reviewers had said that Killing Monica was a very highly-anticipated novel from the woman who brought us Sex and the City, and that this release nowhere near stood up to the level of her previous work. I will admit that I have not read the Sex and the City novel (though I am completely and unashamedly obsessed with the series), nor have I read any of Bushnell’s other titles. Having said that, I do not doubt that this does not stand up to her other strong, developed female characters.

The protagonist of Killing Monica, PJ Wallis, is kind of Carrie-esque in that she is a writer, independent and witty, however comes apart when it comes to love. The other female characters in Killing Monica are very Hollywood/LA and exactly what you would expect from your everyday chick-lit read (slim, fabulous, annoying, etc.), but as I said, I expected this. The main storyline follows the roller-coaster relationship, and eventually, marriage and divorce, she has with celebrity chef Jonny Balaga, and again, it was very undercooked and two-dimensional. It was also incredibly hard to connect with or relate to as both PJ and Jonny are famous, wealthy (.. or so it seems) and live a lifestyle that most people will never experience.

I enjoyed this book as it was easy to digest and again, (I cannot stress the importance of this enough) I knew exactly the kind of book I was about to read. This is a holiday read, a book that requires no deep thought and is something you can enjoy momentarily. As soon as I finish this piece and post it, I doubt I will give the book much thought besides when the hot pink spine catches my eye on the bookshelf. I am grateful to Killing Monica as it has reignited my reading and reminded me how much I love it once more. It’s a gateway book and should be enjoyed as such.

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