Bergdorf Blondes (2004)
Author: Plum Sykes
Genre: Chick Lit
Moi is the narrator of this affair. She is not blonde but brunette. She is originally from England, American mother, comes to New York for work after college. Moi dates a series of four men throughout the book, but if the reader catches small hints, and remembers the Bridget Jones formula (Mother knows best), then the reader will be able to guess the reassuring ending. Mummy encourages Moi to marry the Earl’s son next door. Moi trots off to New York where she meets her best friend Julie Bergdorf. Moi is a social butterfly, enjoying the perks of the rich life. Julie thinks that finances make women glow so she prods Moi to go husband hunting. Moi bags an artist first at an exclusive party held by a Park Avenue grande dame, a Muffy. It is a fairy tale romance; he sends flowers, picks fabulous restaurants, and snag lots of gossip column attention. Though, there are warning signs. He does not give her a wedding ring. He stops having sex with her. He would accuse Moi of being selfish (when he was the one acting selfish) and obsessed with sex (he couldn’t even talk about their sexual problems). The finale straw, where the reader knows that he is the ultimate bad guy: he doesn’t even know her favorite brand. During the first episode of trouble with her fiancé, Moi has taken him to L.A. to meet her friends and stay at a luxury hotel. He is a monster who ignores her. Moi meets Charlie Dunlain for the first time. He is a movie writer/director who kids around with her, making her laugh. She decides to introduce him to Julie, even though that is breaking Julie’s rule of “no artists.” Charlie begins to date Julie, but keeps popping up in Moi’s life. A married man takes Moi to Cannes, and subsequently he leaves her stranded. Charlie buys her a ticket home after her credit card is rejected. After Moi’s engagement is broken, Julie takes her to Paris to recover. Moi attempts suicide with pills, Charlie finds her. She is mortified. He breaks up with Julie, though Julie remains in denial as no one breaks up with Julie Bergdorf. Moi’s apartment is burgled and she flees to a hotel. She can’t open her door, she sits down for a cry, and Charlie pops out of the room next door. He invites her in; they have wild, happy sex. He leaves the next day, with no messages. SPOILER: Moi returns to England for her dad’s birthday. Charlie is actually the Earl’s son next door. Issues get resolved. They continue having great sex with 450-second kisses. She humbly admits that Charlie is the coup d'état of her sexual exploits.
Julie Bergdof: Moi’s best friend, heiress
Jolene and Lara: two other friends, not much screen time, both engaged
Charlie Dunlain: movie director/writer
Muffy: older socialite, queen of parties
Geographical Setting: Manhattan, New York. Stiddy-on-the-Wold, England. Cannes Film Festival. Paris, France. Lake Como (a prince’s hidden estate)
Time Period: Present Day (2004)
If readers enjoyed Sex in the City or Four Blondes by Candace Bushnell, they might like Bergdorf Blondes. This book is a nicer version of the socialite/party girl life in NYC. Reader may relate to Moi as she is not blonde, not an heiress, and actually works at a fashion magazine. Though, her life is exciting as she hustles. She gives vague tips, such as how to avoid paying money for an apartment. Details: The book is laden with details of the physical world. The reader will be emerged in fashion names, restaurants, party decorations, flowers, hotels, beauty processes (hair, nails, skins, waxes), food, and drinks of the fabulously rich. If readers enjoy watching Paris Hilton or other celebrity in the news, then this book would allow them to imagine what their life is really like. Romance: Bad ones and good ones. Cover: Mimics a board game, where most of the moves are related to the materialistic party life.
Similar Authors: Candace Bushnell Sex in the City, Jane Austin Pride and Prejudice, and Helen Fielding Bridget Jones's Diary.
Red Flags: Materialistic; not for readers who might be offended by worldly excesses. Sex; Sykes does not go into graphic detail but uses code words, such as ‘visiting Brazil.’ Anorexia is considered desirable, described as ‘ana.’ Dating men brings on bouts where the main character will refuse to eat. The engagement took Moi to a new level, where even her friends were frightened of her ‘ana,’ they described the look more as the aftermath of a drug habit than the original starved look. One Suicide Attempt. Adultery/Infidelity.