Diane's Reviews > Shopgirl

Shopgirl by Steve Martin
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Apr 08, 08

Recommended to Diane by: Co-worker
Recommended for: People who like words
Read in April, 2008

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, but isn't that a lot like life? We may want each moment, each choice to be significant and important, but it's the everyday journey that has significance and the places it takes us that have significance.

Mirabelle, the shopgirl with a history of depression and small artistic talent whose triumph is getting through each day, is likeable because she doesn't wallow. She wants to be someone to somebody. Ray, the older man who pursues her, disappoints and hurts her and stays part of her life afterward, is lost, generous and clueless. And Jeremy grows up without ever knowing how much of a loser he was.
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Malbadeen I can't believe I'm about to defend a character - and yet,
I LOVED Ray. I didn't think he was "lost" or "clueless", I thought his relationship with her was sweet and his unwillingness to make it something more than it was, showed sacrife and acknowledgment on his part of what he would be taking from her if he did.


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