The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell

carrie diaries
Even though you know you’re not supposed to watch it because it deals with lots of, a-hem, “mature” topics, I’m guessing many of the female teens (and probably lots of dudes as well) who read this blog have followed, or at the very least caught an episode of the uber-popular HBO cable show Sex and the City. It would be hard not to. From 1998-2004, it seemed that Sarah Jessica Parker’s face as fictional sex columnist Carrie Bradshaw was on the side of every building, bus and subway here in NYC. But what some of you might not know is that the idea for Carrie’s character originally came from a book of REAL collected advice columns by Candace Bushnell, also called Sex and the City that the TV show was based on. Now Bushnell has imagined Carrie’s humble beginnings as a small town high school senior in The Carrie Diaries—a book you can assure your mom that, unlike the show, is TOTALLY appropriate for you! What’s most fun about The Carrie Diaries is discovering the origins of all of grown-up Carrie’s personality quirks. (Because SJP IS CB to me, I couldn’t help picturing the teenage Carrie as SJP from her Square Pegs days) Her penchant for one-of-kind shoes is shown through the vintage white leather go-go boots she sports on the first day of school. When her bratty little sis trashes one of her favorite bags, she makes it over into a fashionable showstopper, clearly foreshadowing all the fabulous future bags and outfits to come. She has three other best friends who play significant roles in her life, and of course, she’s torn between two boys, playa and Mr. Big-in-training Sebastian and sweet but boring George. She’s also dying to become a writer, any kind of writer, and gets her big break through penning a naughty but oh-so-true anonymous advice column in the school paper. Sound familiar? But my absolute favorite part of The Carrie Diaries has got to be the very last line of the book, which lays the groundwork for one of the grown-up Carrie’s most seminal relationships. I was beaming so broadly when I closed the cover that everyone on the subway must have thought I was nuts. Some critics have already said that the book, set in the 1980’s, is too dated for modern teen readers. But c’mon. You all know this show. Even if you didn’t live through the 80’s, current pop culture is still saturated with 80’s references. So if you’re a fan of the show, the original book, or the movie (and soon to be released sequel) you’ll definitely want to pick this up. And if you’ve never even seen the show and just want to read some intelligent, funny, solid chick lit, then you’ll want to pick it up, too! Seriously, when it comes to The Carrie Diaries, it’s a win-win situation.

9 thoughts on “The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell

  1. Wasn’t it so much fun! I think teen readers are going to be a better audience than the adults. It’s one thing to think of SJB/Square Pegs as Teen Carrie; I did, too. It’s another to say “but in the TV show Carrie said x, and this book says y.” I think teen readers will have that perfect match of aware of Carrie so wanting this book, but not so personal about their feelings for TVCarrie as adult viewers.

  2. I loved it too! It reads so easily, and I agree with what you said about the 80s. Our kids at school are covered in 80s fashion, are listening to music that is heavily influenced by 80s bands (if they’re not listening to the 80s bands as well). If we don’t have a problem with them reading the future, why not the not so distant past? I can’t wait to give it to my niece!

  3. Wasn’t de facto accordingly infinitely fun! I suppose teen readers are force to betoken a finer affair than the adults. It’s solitary responsibility to conceive of SJB/Square Pegs since Teen Carrie; I did, remarkably. It’s deeper to disclose “but effect the TV ring in Carrie spoken x, also this narrative says y.” I credit teen readers entrust believe that discharge struggle of slick of Carrie thereupon enthusiasm this book, but not then symptomatic about their affection for TVCarrie seeing risque viewers.

  4. If you want a Carrie with less sex (well, a little) and more nerdiness in NYC, you could try the 19-year-old genius in Carrie Pilby, which is being released this summer by Harlequin Teen!

  5. Fine to suggest another title, but please don’t use this space for self-promotion.

  6. I have to say this book bothered me a lot. My review brings up most of what I didn’t like (why does Carrie fall down all the time?), but I didn’t mention what bugged me the most because I didn’t want to be a spoiler – and that was the girl-on-girl jealousy at the end.

    The best part of Sex and the City (besides the clothes) were the relationships between Carrie and her friends, and I think The Carrie Diaries sabotaged that solidarity. SPOILER FOLLOWS: Jealousy is offered as motivation for one girl’s lifelong enmity and the betrayal of Carrie by her best friend. I’m a girl, I’ve been a girl, I’ve experienced envy from both sides, but never this severe.

    Whenever I take issue with a “message sent” by a book, I always feel like an old fuddy-duddy, but the message Candace Bushnell is sending is: girls – you can’t trust ’em. And teen girls are the LAST people who should be hearing that message.


  7. Of course, I respect your opinion, Paula–we all take away something different from every book we read. That aspect of the book didn’t strike me as much as some others, you never know what parts are going to hit home.

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