Iím not the sort of person who believes that books that are difficult
to read are always good or that popular books are always bad. Iím always,
actually, looking for insightful books that are also accessible and fairly easy
to read. Itís nice to occasionally find books that leave you with thoughts
to ponder even while the pages fly by.
I think Shopgirl fits this category. Steve Martin (well known for his
largely comedic acting, but heís also written a couple of screenplays)
shows his more serious side in this novella. It's about a relationship between a lonely
twenty-something artist who works at Neiman Marcus in L. A. and a wealthy man
twice her age.
Martinís prose isnít the most honed it could be, but itís direct
and to the point. H
e draws interesting characters quickly in the setting he
knows the most about: the surface world of Los Angeles (which he satirized in
L. A. Story, a 1991 comedy film he wrote and co-produced). When I first
heard that Steve Martin had written a serious novella (not that it doesnít
have its humor), I think I would have been more cynical if I hadnít seen
him act well in a serious role in the Lawrence Kasdan film Grand Canyon
and didnít know that heíd written screenplays as well. And my lack
of cynicism was confirmed: I truly enjoyed the book.
Not that I think this particular book will be added to the canon of great literature.
But itís well worth following Mirabelle on her adventures.