I rarely read young-adult fiction. The trivial, teenager plot, immature issues, and the characters that are usually inexperience and widely unaware of life drive me away from this genre. I never bothered to waste my time on a book geared toward teenagers since it would undoubtedly be a trite, high school melodrama. That is until I picked up Candace Bushnell’s Summer and the City and finished it the same day.
Candace Bushnell is the author of the beloved, best-selling novel Sex and the City, which the HBO TV series is based on. After watching the entire series of Sex and the City, since the reruns practically monopolize Entertainment every morning of the week, I became a bona fide Sex and City fan. While simultaneously writing a paper about the relationship between the city and women in 18th century England and watching Sex and the City, I came upon the realization that Bushnell’s popular book was quite revolutionary and empowering for women.
Bushnell’s Sex and the City can be seen as feminist text since it involves four strong-willed, independent women who each have careers of their own, have the freedom to wander the streets of New York unchaperoned, and have sexual relations with whomever they choose. For a long period, women were not permitted to explore the city by themselves, have a career of their own, or have sexual relations with various partners. I instantly fell in love with Sex and the City because it depicted four brilliant yet flawed female characters struggling to find themselves as young, independent women, with only one another for support.
I was inspired to read The Carrie Diaries, though the cover looks like it is trying to attract my high school sister and her friends, because it is the coming-of-age story of my heroine Carrie Bradshaw in New York City during the 1980’s. The sequel to The Carrie Diaries called Summer and the City is closer to Sex and the City, in which Carrie Bradshaw is the quintessential New York gal and a successful columnist for the New York Times.
Summer and the City dives into how Carrie, the small town girl or the country “sparrow” as Samantha calls her, becomes a New Yorker. From the beginning of the novel, Carrie is an audacious, high-spirited girl who is determined to become a famous writer. Though she meets, some men that are enchanting, intelligent, and utterly attractive, Carrie’s main focus is to prosper as a playwright and to remain in the glamorous, crazy city on her own luck. Despite complications in New York, Carrie shows resilience and plans on making a life for herself in the Big Apple by her own means. Carrie’s idealism, boldness, and confidence are traits that every young girl should admire and embrace.
This book is also an inspirational read for younger girls and woman alike since it delves into feminism and confronts many of the problems we, as women, still face today. When Carrie meets Miranda campaigning to stop female prostitution outside of Saks she is introduced to a host of women’s issues. The most moving scene, that conveys the girls’ true sense of independence and strength, is when both Samantha and Carrie decide to leave the materialistic items, a Chanel purse for Carrie and designer suits for Samantha, that their men bought for them behind and embrace the New York wilderness without these men. Summer and the City is great read about truly fearless and unstoppable women, who will put up a fight to achieve what they want. After all, there is nothing more daring and groundbreaking then women trying to climb their way to the top in a city that was once considered only a man’s playground.