Sabra Embury's Reviews > Shopgirl

Shopgirl by Steve Martin
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's review
Feb 03, 2011

it was amazing
Read in February, 2011

I read this in one sitting and it was better than I expected it to be. I was curious to see Steve Martin's writing after hearing to him do an interview on NPR about it years ago. And then the movie came out, giving the book attention again, which I also forgot about--aside from it being on the vast hard copy queue in my Netflix account, somewhere between Roadhouse and the Man Who Knew Too Much.

Then browsing books in the Silverlake library today, I found Shopgirl in the local section and felt as though it would be the perfect time to read it.

At first, I had some doubt, hearing initial sentences in the voice of Steve Martin, picturing him reading the book to me--as I read it; it was distracting, though it was my own damn fault for refusing to take it seriously.

Then miraculously, after a few chuckles, laughs, and reluctancies to stop long enough to check my email, or get a glass of water, I was fully immersed and dedicated until I hit the end.

The book catches its stride after the first dozen pages; momentum sparked by bits of wit, and intriguing archetypes (wealthy, horny, lonely man/naive, vulnerable sex toy artist type) which are easy to fathom. There are enough lessons in the categories of men, women, dating, sex and depression for Shopgirl to be more substantial than some dicky pulp pop fest.

It's very straight-forward, with nil attempts at technical acrobatics. Anyone nitpicking for a flourish of language or details intricacy will have a heyday of fodder for pompous remarks to feel smarter than the average person, but let's see the same people feign the experience that gives the book's characters their depth, their heart, their accidental cruelty--all with such accessibility.


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message 1: by Doug (new)

Doug Steve Martin is amazing. The guy is a true Renaissance man.

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