BOOK REVIEW: Killing Monica by Candace Bushnell
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell
PJ/Pandy/Pandemonia Wallis is best known as the author of a series of books whose main character has gone on to be the central focus of a series of movies, and has become something of an icon for women everywhere.
Pandy’s character Monica is a more successful, more attractive, more feminist version of Pandy herself, and when Pandy got married, so did Monica. But now Pandy’s getting divorced, and people are saying that it’s time for Monica, now in her forties, to venture into online dating.
But Pandy doesn’t want to write Monica books anymore, Pandy wants to write literature, but her first attempt at a serious book has been rejected, her ex-husband is trying to take money from her that she doesn’t have, and she’s experiencing something of a nervous breakdown.
The premise sounds interesting enough, and Candace Bushnell has quite a few books under her belt, so one could be forgiven for thinking that this book would have some kind of substance.
And, maybe if the main character didn’t have a serious case of Rich White Girl Syndrome, it would have been much easier to digest.
Pandy prides herself on being a feminist.
Sometimes, Pandy wondered who she would be without Monica. But then she realized, when you ask yourself that question, what you’re really asking is: Who would you be without a label? And we all have them: Mother. Wife. Single Girl. Career Woman. Soccer Mom. But what do we do when we find that our label no longer applies? Who do we become when our label expires?
But then attributes strange things to being a feminist.
“Money,” MJ confirmed, nodding her turbaned head. “That’s what life is about. You know how they say that if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything? Well, I say that if you don’t have your money, you don’t have anything.”
“I couldn’t agree more,” Pandy said. MJ, she decided, was a true feminist.
And makes assumptions about every woman.
“For a while, when I was in my twenties and some of my friends started getting married, I thought maybe I might get married, too. But every time I tried to imagine my wedding, I couldn’t. Can you imagine a woman who can’t even picture her own wedding?”
Possibly because of Pandy’s attitude, or maybe because of the lack of… anything much at all, this book is a rather boring read, with the first half failing even at its attempts to be a parody. The second half of the book has more substance, but compared to the first half it doesn’t have to try very hard to make this claim.
The second half of this book takes a look inside an unhealthy relationship, one experienced by a self-proclaimed feminist. But perhaps the second half of the book would have held more power and been more of a shock had said feminist been more of a, well… feminist.
At the end of the book, this reader found herself severely underwhelmed. Certain elements of this book, certain secrets could have been handled better, given more gravitas, turned this into a more meaningful read.
All things considered, this book fails at being a parody, fails at being a serious read, and all that we’re left with is inconsequential, boring fluff, and way too much telling.
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