A Year in Books/Day 85: Shopgirl

  • Title: Shopgirl
  • Author: Steve Martin
  • Year Published: 2000 (Hyperion)
  • Year Purchased: 2002
  • Source: A bookstore in Buffalo, New York.
  • About: Yes, this is a novella by that Steve Martin. It’s a surprisingly quiet, well-written and effective story about a young Neiman Marcus employee making her way delicately through the post-collegiate world of adult dating and responsibilities. By the time she becomes involved with an older man, you are invested in the heroine and her choices. Martin makes her world intriguing and inviting, even though nothing much happens there. The ability to transform every day emotions, via imagination, into something fresh yet realistic, requires a solid and subtle skill. Although it’s now well-known how multi-talented the comic truly is (banjo, anyone?), twelve years ago this slim little volume was an eye-opener.
  • Motivation: I was curious. It was on sale. I needed a quick read for the car ride home.
  • Times Read: 1
  • Random Excerpt/Page 21: “But that night, the voice does not come, and she quietly folds herself up and leaves the bar. The voice is to come on Tuesday.”
  • Happiness Scale: 8