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Shopgirl: A Novella
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Shopgirl: A Novella

3.41 of 5 stars 3.41  ·  rating details  ·  27,490 ratings  ·  2,111 reviews
One of the most acclaimed and beloved entertainers, Steve Martin is quickly becoming recognized as a gorgeous writer capable of being at once melancholy and tart, achingly innocent and astonishingly ironic (Elle). A frequent contributor to both The New Yorker and the New York Times as well as the author of the New York Times bestseller Pure Drivel, Martin is once again poi ...more
Hardcover, 130 pages
Published September 11th 2000 by Hyperio (first published 2000)
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Jason Koivu
Welcome to Steve Martin's gallery of portraits!

The subject is the vacuous LA social scene.

First up and the focal point of the show: Mirabelle Buttersfield

Miss Buttersfield is a wallflower coming into her own. She works at a high-end clothing store. Her thoughts on romance and relationships are juvenile.


Next we have a brief study on Jeremy.

He begins as a slacker an evolves into a more successful bit of trite pomposity. His thoughts on romance and relationships are juvenile.


The next subject is
...more
Shannon
OH, what an utterly FASCINATING look into the totally important and equally fascinating stereotypes regarding heterosexual sexual relationships. Everyone in this book could have died in a fire, and I wouldn't have cared. The girl, I hate her. I refuse to believe this girl is smart, everything she does indicates that she is a complete idiot. But the reader is supposed to accept that she is smart because Steve Martin cleverly includes this in the narration by saying something like "She is smart. S ...more
T G
May 08, 2008 T G rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: chumps
Shelves: in-my-library
A haunting tale...in that I am still haunted by Martin's borderline misogynistic caricatures of women (and what he thinks we do in public restrooms (page 101)). He writes like a child who got a thesaurus for Christmas but has never read a great book, or been allowed to use the f-word, or met a woman, owned a pair of testicles (page 18), or employed an editor.

Don't believe me? Check out how he named his main character: Mirabelle Buttersfield. No one is named Mirabelle Buttersfield! Unless the au
...more
Laura
Steve Martin, how I love you.

But please, please, please don't write anything ever again.

Kisses,
Laura

PS: Please stop being in movies involving the words "dozen" or "bride" in the title. K thanx.

PPS: Also, if you specifically note on one page that your character does not have a couch, only a FUTON OH MY GOD HOW CLICHED IS THAT, as a really lazy way of saying she "isn't grown up yet," and then later say that a visitor to the character's apartment never saw her cat as it HID UNDER THE COUCH, serious
...more
Theresa Abney
"She knows that she needs new friends but introductions are hard to come by when your natural state is shyness." p.4

"However, Jeremy does have one outstanding quality. He likes her. And this quality in a person makes them infinitely interesting to the person being liked." p.8

"She is offering herself to him on the outside chance that he will hold her afterward. She feels very practical about this and vows not to feel bad if things don't work out. After all, she tells herself, she isn't really inv
...more
Shaindel
May 10, 2008 Shaindel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Steve Martin fans, novella fans, people with emotions :-)
I read this book out of curiosity because I'd always wondered what kind of writer Steve Martin is. (I mean, I'd used his quote "I think I did pretty well, considering all I started out with was a bunch of blank paper" for YEARS in writing classes, at the tops of syllabi, etc. I could at least see what he'd done with that blank paper.)

I was pleasantly surprised. I *really* liked this novella. It was the right size for the story. I think too often writers cram a lot into a short story or stretch o
...more
Lissa
I picked up Shopgirl at the Strand for $4.95. I had heard of it vaguely as the movie with Steven Martin in it as an adaptation of the book Steve Martin wrote. I purchased it as a book that I could take with me on vacation and have it be ultimately disposable. Sometimes this trick backfires on me as I end up really liking a book and toting it home with me regardless of my original intentions. This is not one of those times.

Shopgirl tells the story of depressed, artist Mirabelle who works behind
...more
Jesse
Steve Martin is surprisingly adept at prose. A master of the comedic genre, Mr. Martin manages without pretentiousness to imbue the story of a slightly imbalanced shopgirl, Mirabelle, a veritable everyday girl with little to do of anything, with a mirth and understanding that undercuts all of his celebrity and stand-up.

Mirabelle meets both a fledgling creature Jeremy and a middle-aged millionaire Ray Porter. The short novella explores with a flat, unflinching, and sometimes almost dull eye the c
...more
Evan
The eponymous 28-year-old shopgirl of this book, Mirabelle, works in the stultifyingly dull job of selling gloves at Neiman's in Beverly Hills and yearns for love but isn't sure how to go about it, accepting what she can get, including the affections a well-to-do 50-year-old traveling businessman. Even though he should know better, he wants to play both ends against the middle; hurt on all sides is inevitable. There's plenty of arrested development to go around; the 50-year-old knows as little a ...more
Emily
Bored, I checked this out of the library one day, and I have to say, I found it surprisingly affecting. It's easy to sneer at Steve Martin for being a lit-pretender, but this wasn't a pretentious book in the least. It's a melancholy (not depressive), wise, and well-drawn portrait of a young woman in a sad, tender, no-strings-attached relationship with a wealthy older man who cares for her, but does not love her, and while this may sound banal, there's something extraordinary about this ability o ...more
Diane
Apr 08, 2008 Diane rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like words
Recommended to Diane by: Co-worker
This book was a surprise to me, loaned for on-the-plane reading after I'd finished the book I'd brought on the trip.

I had low expectations of the writing and the story. Both were pleasant surprises. Written in almost elegant prose, the characters in their small lives unfold. Vignettes of their lives are neat and complete, stacking on top of and inside one another, until the chain of experiences moves each character to a different place. It may seem insignificant or that the characters just drift
...more
Rebecca
Mar 22, 2008 Rebecca rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Allison, Ellen S., Tamara
Shelves: age-adult-books
I re-read this during the snowstorm and liked it almost as much as the first time. I have not seen the movie, because it can't be as good as the book. I have not written down any favorite quotes, because I would have basically been transcribing the book. The novella is short and the story is quiet, with only three (maybe four) main characters. I've probably never identified with an adult character as much as I do Mirabelle (even though she suffers from clinical depression and I do not). How Stev ...more
Nicky
The story wants to be deep. It wants to paint a delicate picture of the world and wow you with its simple truths. It wants to sing straight into your heart, but it doesn't realize that it's tone deaf and, well, stupid. The only thing you can really do is pat it on the head and say, "Poor thing," and then maybe give it a piece of pie because its life will be filled with nothing but disappointment.
Jessica
Ack. In his zeal, perhaps, to convince the world
that he's a serious author, Steve Martin writes a really, really terrible book. Kindly, one might call it spare, modern, zen-like; honestly, one might call it artificial, pretentious, and boring as hell. Its a coming of age novella about one emotionally crippled shopgirl named Mirabelle and her dalliances with a flake named Jeremy and a pompous older guy with the personality of a paper plate, named Ray Porter. Poor, artistic, dumb glove-selling Mir
...more
EJ
I love Steve Martin. <---This was how I was going to begin this review. Cushioning the harsh criticism with true admiration. Before I continued ...after that first line I decided I was much too harsh and I went into other goodreads reviews of this book to see how close my opinion was with the general public...and I found what I had predicted I would find. A whole bunch of people who loved his book. In between those admirers i found a few, who like me, love his work and want to make known how ...more
Tina Rae
Jan 17, 2011 Tina Rae rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: steve martin film fans
How can a movie that seemed so horrible and so sad be such an amazing book when the novel and screen play were written by the same person? Shouldn't they be, i don't know.. the same? It just doesn't make sense. Anyway, this was a wonderful book. Yes, it made me cry just as much as the movie did but the book was just so much better. The book leaves you more at peace with the ending. The movie just throws the ending at you and expects you to accept it. Thankfully, my favorite movie line was in the ...more
Kelly
"Just three months later, it happens to Ray...a 45-year-old woman ...touches his heart and then breaks it flat. It is then Ray's turn to experience Mirabelle's despair, to see its walls and colors. Only then does he realize what he has done to Mirabelle, how wanting a square inch of her and nor all of her has damaged them both."

That's about the best quote I can pick to illustrate what this novel is like. This falls under those quietly heartbreaking pieces that I like. It's not amazing or ground
...more
Bark's Book Nonsense
I read and really enjoyed Martin's The Pleasure of my Company a few years ago. It was quirky and sweet and I found it very funny in parts. I was hoping for more of the same with Shopgirl when I stumbled across this unabridged audio but for some reason it's not working for me.

At all.

I'm finding myself bored and annoyed. It's about a 28 year old woman who works in a shop selling "gloves no one wants to buy" and lives like a newly graduated college student. She's lonely and shy and wants to meet a
...more
Kristyn Conner
I will start off by saying that I expected for this little novella to be funnier. I mean, come on... it's Steve Martin we're talking about here. However, after being told that each of the characters is actually a bit more comical in the film adaption of the book, I can forgive Martin of this slight paperback disappointment and move on.

Overall, I rather enjoyed this one-hundred-something page little beauty. Martin surely can write prose better than I anticipated, and for less than $4, this novel
...more
Sheila
I don't know why, but I almost want to perceive the story of the relationship of Mirabelle and Ray Porter as the author's parable of all relationships between older men and younger women.

A shy young woman toils in relative obscurity, unseen and unappreciated by her contemporaries (men and women alike), still emotionally a child waiting to bloom; an older man takes notice of her and is able to appreciate her youth and freshness and need for someone to notice.

Of course, there's the sex; but furth
...more
Holly
Main theme I gathered from this book is that "pain changes our lives." or is what makes us grow.

When I first started this book, I was like "oh, brother." But I kept reading because a friend recommended it to me and I trust his opinion on things. I ended up really enjoying the read. And, although it was a bit racey and graphic, I found myself identifying with some of the characters thoughts and feelings.

Here is one of my favorite about how one person believes what they have said is understood on
...more
Daniel
There are a handful of writers I've come across who've successfully broken the "show, don't tell" rule every writer is taught. Kurt Vonnegut was one, and Steve Martin is another. It'd be hard to imagine Vonnegut in "Breakfast of Champions," for example, giving the reader all the information he wants to convey about Kilgore Trout, Dwayne Hoover and Eliot Rosewater through action and dialogue alone. Similarly, Martin in "Shopgirl," which is almost completely lacking in dialogue, spends most of the ...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
I saw the movie (based on this book) last year sometime, so I knew what to expect in terms of plot and characters. But I wish I'd read this before watching the movie, because I would have understood - not all the characters better, but Ray Porter in particular, who doesn't come off so well in the movie.

Shopgirl is about a young woman, Mirabelle, who works in the glove department of Neiman's - which means she rarely ever sees a customer. She's an artist, and takes medication for depression. She
...more
Jennifer
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura
It's a story about loneliness. The people are pretty messed up and the environment (Los Angeles) is straight up consumerism at it's worse. And despite the loneliness and the crass consumerism, the characters still strive for connections.
Beth Sniffs Books
A longer review perhaps to come. This novella is quite different from Martin's The Pleasure of My Company. I do think SHOPGIRL is a modern coming of age story -- personal, love, and work life after college. I also really like the melancholy mood of the story -- especially in the beginning -- it gave me the feels.

This was a re-read for me but I was mildly shocked at some of the language choices used in SHOPGIRL. I still enjoyed the story but I typically don't read books with any profanity or des
...more
Filmon Ghirmai
Steve Martin, I would have never pictured him writing a book like this, painting such vivid images into your mind when he describes the most intimate moments of this book. Even though this isn’t the best book put out there it still has some quality to it. He does a good job with making the imagery aspect of it look pretty good. His detail that was incorporated in his imagery was well played out and made for a good scenery whenever the main character got into a conversation or interaction with an ...more
Andrea
i LOVE this book! even though steve martin is all about telling rather than showing, the book is still wonderful despite the (possibly deliberate?) ignored golden writing rule. it just goes to show that truly great post-postmodern writing can do that and get away with it. although, i wouldn't consider shopgirl to fall under the post-postmodern category, yet it's one of the category's most commonly used technique. however, shopgirl is a novella, and i don't know too many rules about how the novel ...more
Lynn
I remember hearing about this book years ago, and at the time, the reviews were pretty positive. So I picked this up as sale book in iTunes. The more I read, the more disappointed I grew. I kept thinking about the initially good reviews I remembered seeing and being confused. So it was a relief to sign in here and see that the most recent reviewers share my opinion.

The writing style is driven by description, not dialogue. At first I thought this was a stylistic device Martin was using before we
...more
Kelly
Almost everything about this book works surprisingly well. The tone and style of the narration brings the reader very effectively into the life of Mirabelle, a girl who is lonely and longing to connect with other people. She doesn't get the opportunity to do so very often since she is both shy and employed at the glove counter of Neiman Marcus that seldom has any customers.

It is at the glove counter that Mirabelle meets Ray Porter. Ray Porter is a well-appointed older gentleman who treats Mirabe
...more
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Does anyone know the quote of what is said at the very end of the movie? 2 76 Aug 16, 2012 06:31AM  
class-less 3 56 Aug 16, 2012 06:30AM  
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Stephen Glenn "Steve" Martin is an American actor, comedian, writer, playwright, producer, musician, and composer. He was raised in Southern California in a Baptist family, where his early influences were working at Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm and working magic and comedy acts at these and other smaller venues in the area. His ascent to fame picked up when he became a writer for the Smothers ...more
More about Steve Martin...
Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life An Object of Beauty The Pleasure of My Company Pure Drivel Picasso at the Lapin Agile and Other Plays

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“It's pain that changes our lives.” 472 likes
“...it is not the big events that hurt the most but rather the smallest questionable shift in tone at the end of a spoken word that can plow most deeply into the heart.” 270 likes
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