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ARM CANDY by Jill Kargman

ARM CANDY

By Jill Kargman

Pub Date: May 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-525-95159-9
Publisher: Dutton

Iconic muse of the New York City art scene contemplates cougardom as 40 looms.

Eden is sure her ethereal beauty will be her ticket out of her backwater hometown. Drawn to Manhattan by the lure of a modeling career, the fetching high-school dropout, after a brief stint as head groupie to a rock star, latches on to Wes, a sensitive, bespectacled architecture student. Soon, however, an older man, Otto, a painter at the top of the art heap, notices 19-year-old Eden and whisks her away to his rarified world of international jetsetters, well-heeled collectors and post-Warhol hedonism. Otto paints Eden in various states of undress, and, overnight, she’s a worldwide sensation, beating out Demi Moore for glossy cover space. Otto and Eden cohabit, travel the world and produce a son, but they never marry. Through it all, Eden turns to her trash-talking high-school buddy Allison for moral support. Allison’s fluency in the latest argot, and her role as cynical foil to Eden’s at times enervating guilelessness, enliven the book, but not often enough. When Otto seduces his latest dewy assistant, Eden storms out, heading uptown, where her looks, still holding at 39, net another conquest: Chase, scion of old-money Upper East Siders, handsome enough to flummox an entire gay bar even if he’s only there for Broadway Karaoke. He falls hard for Eden, although she’s 12 years older, scandalizing his mother Brooke. His grandmother Ruthie urges Chase to bust out of his noblesse oblige and throw off the yoke of Brooke and his “Hitchcock blonde” girlfriend Liesel, whom Chase has kept hankering after the diamond in Ruthie’s vault way too long. When Liesel dumps him, Chase’s path to Eden is clear, but a chance encounter reopens Eden’s roads not taken, with predictable results.

Despite some witty banter, there is little to distinguish this book, or Eden as a character, from others of the chick-lit genre.