Kirkus Reviews QR Code
TRADING UP by Candace Bushnell

TRADING UP

By Candace Bushnell

Pub Date: July 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-7868-6818-X
Publisher: Hyperion

Rapacious social climber gets the rich husband and fame she’s always desired—and it’s far from enough.

This being the fifth from Bushnell (Sex and the City, 1996; Four Blondes, 2000, etc.), one expects generous lashings of fashion, sex, and New York City—and such expectations are more than rewarded. Stage center in this gaudy little bauble is Janey Wilcox, a morally challenged model at the upper end of the allowed age spectrum (early 30s) who’s managed to stay on top as one of the lithe, lingerie-clad Victoria’s Secret vixens. Sick of not-so-subtly trading sex with powerful Manhattan men for favors, invites, meals, and money, she decides that she needs to do what “friends” do (thinking of other people as anything but accessories and tools is somewhat of a stretch for Janey) and get a rich husband. The poor sucker is Selden Rose, a basically nice guy from Chicago who’s CEO of a successful cable movie channel. A quick romance ends in marriage and an Italian honeymoon that quickly has Janey throwing tantrums at being so far away from good shopping. Ensconced in their New York apartment, Janey quickly comes to realize that she could have married much better than Selden. Though she’s a past master of the New York scene and the neuroses and accoutrements of its more fabulous denizens, Bushnell runs into more than a few snags when she tries to rev this lumbering, chaotic novel forward. It’s all well and good to create a creature as devastatingly cold-hearted and childish as Janey just so we can stand back and watch the chaos ensue (à la Valley of the Dolls, too bluntly alluded to), but a lurching, frequently stalled plot gets in the way to an almost embarrassing degree.

A nearly nonexistent sense of humor unfortunately negates any vicarious pleasure to be got from either Bushnell’s better observations or Janey’s monstrous diva-tude.