I was looking for a book that I could finish over the weekend when I saw Steve Martin on television. Then I remember I had his book Shopgirl. I’ve read Martin’s An Object of Beauty and that book put him on the list of writers that I enjoy reading. So I immediately started reading Shopgirl because I knew that it would be comfortable, unobtrusive and immersive. I think I finished it in two hours.
I love Martin’s characters; especially the main character Mirabelle. The delicate and flawed nature of hers felt so genuine. When you find yourself in a book, you like it a lot more, no matter what. You hang onto the question “What will she do now?” with more curiosity. Unfortunately, you cannot experience this excitement in characters that you cannot identify with yourself. And I can say it is hard to find.
Only then does he realize what he has done to Mirabelle, how wanting a square inch of her and not all of her has damaged them both, and how he cannot justify his actions except that, well, it was life.Shopgirl – Steve Martin
Obviously, there is also a film with Claire Danes as Mirabelle. I cannot think of a better actress for this role. She has been one of my favourite actresses since her role in Romeo & Juliet, which I believe is the perfect match for her. See the trailer below and please either read the book or watch the movie. Enjoy!
About the book: Shopgirl
One of our country’s most acclaimed and beloved entertainers, Steve Martin has written a novella that is unexpectedly perceptive about relationships and life. Martin is profoundly wise when it comes to the inner workings of the human heart. Mirabelle is the “shopgirl” of the title, a young woman, beautiful in a wallflowerish kind of way, who works behind the glove counter at Neiman Marcus “selling things that nobody buys anymore . . .”
Slightly lost, slightly off-kilter, very shy, Mirabelle charms because of all that she is not: not glamorous, not aggressive, not self-aggrandizing. Still there is something about her that is irresistible. Mirabelle captures the attention of Ray Porter, a wealthy businessman almost twice her age. As they tentatively embark on a relationship, they both struggle to decipher the language of love with consequences that are both comic and heartbreaking. Filled with the kind of witty, discerning observations that have brought Steve Martin critical success, Shopgirl is a work of disarming tenderness.
About the author: Steve Martin
Stephen Glenn Martin is an American actor, comedian, writer, filmmaker, and musician. Martin came to public notice in the 1960s as a writer for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and later as a frequent guest on The Tonight Show.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: