Book Review: Summer and the City by Candace Bushnell

summer and the citySummer and the City by Candace Bushnell is the sequel to The Carrie Diaries. The novel picks up right where the previous one left off, introducing us to the Samantha Jones, the one we all know and love from Sex and the City.

Carrie is meeting Samantha for the first time. Samantha is Donna LaDonna’s, a former schoolmate of Carrie’s, cousin. Carrie hasn’t even been in New York for more than 20 minutes and she has already had her purse stolen, which contains all of her money and the address to her apartment for the summer. Carrie is in New York to attend a writing workshop at The New School. After heading over to Samantha’s for the night, they head out to a party. The next day, Carrie figures out where she is supposed to be living and manages to get back on track for her summer in the city.

Throughout the novel, Carrie is introduced to life as a New Yorker. She meets influential men and women by attending parties and classes at The New School. Between partying, deciding when to lose her virginity, and making new friends, Carrie manages to write a play or two that she hopes will give her enough leverage to get out of going to Brown in the fall and continue her fabulous life in New York as a writer.

I really enjoyed the second installment of The Carrie Diaries. Not only are we introduced to Samantha in this sequel, we are also introduced to Miranda, and briefly introduced to Charlotte. Hey, hey, the gang’s all here! It’s really cool to imagine their lives before Sex and the City, but it’s even cooler to actually read about it. Samantha is only 25 in this novel, Miranda is a spunky feminist who is protesting porn, and Charlotte is just the same, dreaming of the perfect wedding.

True to fashion, Carrie falls in love with an older man, Bernard. She is overcome with love, just the way Carrie always is in Sex and the City, and obsesses over this guy day in and day out. It’s too funny to imagine Carrie falling in love with older guys over and over again, although I will always favor Mr. Big.

Carrie’s fashion sense in the novel is hilarious. She buys all of her stuff from a cheap vintage shop, borrows from Samantha, or gets stuff for free. Some of my oh-so-favorite outfits from the novel include: red vinyl pants, a Chinese robe, and hospital scrubs. I also love the fact that she basically has one cocktail dress and wears it everywhere. Somewhere between this novel and the show Sex and the City is where Carrie acquired money and a fashion sense, because in this summer adventure, Carrie is everything but fashionable.

I thought that the student/teacher relationship between Carrie’s friend and their New School teacher was kind of absurd. It was thrown into the mix of issues and was kind of awkward. I knew from almost the beginning of the novel that this relationship was going on, but it never really developed, it just came to a sudden halt and then disappeared off the pages.

Overall, I’d say this is one of the better sequels that I have read. I really like when a sequel picks up right when the first book ended. Not only did The Carrie Diaries leave me wanting more, but Summer and the City ended with a pretty big cliffhanger. I’m hoping that there is another book introduced into this series. In the meantime, I am going to watch Sex and the City, starting with season one. Maybe I’ll catch some similarities between the books and the show.

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