When Candace Bushnell published the Carrie Diaries, I bought the book and read it in an effort to get excited about the upcoming movie and get a glimpse into what she imagined her famed character, Carrie Bradshaw, was like as a teenager. Dear Diary, it was a mistake.
Not only did it seem like the book was written over the course of a weekend in an effort to tap into a new, younger audience for the franchise (and to make a couple extra bucks), the writing was bad AND the character didn’t fit in with traits or things we’ve learned about Ms. Bradshaw in the show.
First off — Bushnell used bizarre phrases to describe Carrie’s thoughts and feelings that didn’t make sense. At one point Carrie described a feeling in her stomach like light shining through diamonds when she sees a guy she likes. What does that even mean? Are there sharp pains? Is you stomach hot? Cold? Do you feel like you are glowing? Do you feel heavy? Or maybe just bloated with purple prose?
I know writing for a younger audience can be challenging at times (trust me, I do it every day at a teen news site), but seriously, just use metaphors and analogies that are clear and practical, not weird.
Another odd thing, aside from the fact that the book meanders along as Carrie complains about her crush and wanting to be a writer (but seldom DOES anything inspiring or noteworthy), toward the end of the book teenage Carrie makes Coq au Vin for her friend, sisters and father (her favorite dish to make, supposedly). Well, as any SATC fan knows, in the show, Carrie used her oven for storage, I HIGHLY doubt anyone who makes a dish and likes to cook from the Julia Child cook book would cease to use their kitchen. Those skills don’t curdle in the fridge.
In addition to several annoying moments of, “Would Carrie really be like this?” there was also a naming issue. A woman nicknamed “Bunny” who is not in fact, the mother of Trey MacDougal, the ex-husband of Charlotte in the show — meets Carrie and has an effect on her future. I won’t spoil who she is or how she affects Carrie (in case you do read this against my advice), but it is not related to the matriarch of the same name. Anyway, couldn’t Bushnell think of another name?
I know these things seem like three minor details, but they are just a couple of examples of the larger problem, it was a bad book and there’s not point in wasting time writing about it. If this had not been The Carrie Diaries, but some other YA novel about a teen (which it could have been), people wouldn’t have read it.
The worst part about it was, after reading this young adult novel (and I’ve read my fair share), I felt like chucking it out the window and asking Bushnell if she ever even watched the show that built her career. There was nothing fun, charismatic or interesting about it. I mean, yes, she created the characters, but there’s so much more to them and what the fans know about them from the series. She could have done so much more with it!
Why write such a stupid book? Well, according to one Jezebel writer, who went to a publicity event for the book, it’s probably best to not ask … anything about it. I just don’t get it at all… the grotesque publicity for Sex and the City 2, the back tracking on important themes of love, sex and feminism in the films — the whole thing is just too much.
Why revive a phenomenal franchise and then as Charlotte would say, “wrap it in brown paper and just smear some dog poo on it!?”