I was born in New York but spent my teens and 20s in London. It is hilarious, hard-edged, delightful, harsh, elegant and fun. This makes it a far more accurate representation of Manhattan than the fairytale version presented on HBO. There is no other kind in Bushnell's world.
New York can feel as tough for a single woman in her 30s today as it did for Ellen Olenska, the year-old separated wife in Wharton's The Age of Innocence, who moves back to the city from Europe hoping for a new life, only to find herself socially shunned and trapped by conventions. It is perhaps more accurate to see Bushnell as the modern flame carrier of an established literary tradition: It is hilarious, hard-edged, delightful, harsh, elegant and fun. She occasionally "tortures" her boyfriend for no reason, she "makes" people take drugs with her, she even smiles "meanly". This makes it a far more accurate representation of Manhattan than the fairytale version presented on HBO. I was born in New York but spent my teens and 20s in London. This makes the character more compelling and sympathetic than she would otherwise be, without undermining her essential nature. Oh yeah — one of those! No fear of disease, psychopaths or stalkers. When I moved back as a single woman in my early 30s I was amazed at how much more socially conventional the city felt compared to London with regards to marriage and women. But Sex and the City captures a certain essence of what being a single woman is still all about. And Bushnell, despite her financial straits, was absolutely part of this set. Carrie's life, and particularly her love life, grabbed the public's attention and Bushnell was faced with a question many female columnists today still struggle to answer: Readers delighted in matching the column's characters to their real-life counterparts: Anyone who thinks the New York that Bushnell presents, in which everyone is fascinated with who's marrying whom and where the groom works, comes from another era has clearly never read the New York Times on a Sunday. None of these, unfortunately, are exclusive to s Manhattan. In the show, the sex — and there was at least one mind-blowing sexual encounter in pretty much every episode — is all in the pursuit of some kind of fantastical orgasmic self-indulgence, while what little sex there is in the book is faintly embarrassing, largely depersonalised and generally happens just to ward off loneliness. In the early 90s, Candace Bushnell was a thirtysomething woman in New York who, according to her friend Jay McInerney himself no party slouch , "was doing advanced postgraduate work in the subject of going out on the town". By and large, the characters avoid close personal connections: She didn't have to sleep on foam for much longer. Is "Gregory Roque", maker of conspiracy movies, Oliver Stone? Yet even if the setting can feel very particular, the essential issues Carrie faces as a single woman are universal. Judging from her understandable irritation with journalists and readers who assume she simply is Carrie, Bushnell never quite resolved these questions. Like Parker, Bushnell excels at giving her self-destructive character a voice that is cut through with self-awareness. After all, as Bushnell shows in the relationship between Carrie and Big who, unlike in the show, we never see having sex , real relationships mean real vulnerability and that, nearly always, leads to real pain. But to say that Mr Big is based on Bushnell's boyfriend is to say that Carrie is Bushnell, a tidy connection that she has always resisted. Bushnell is all too aware of the public perception of her and she satirises both it and herself in the last column in this book, when Carrie tells her friend Sam about her new story idea:
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