Title: The Carrie Diaries
Author: Candace Bushnell
416 pages, Published by Balzer + Bray, Ages 14 and up
Buy The Book: Amazon
The Carrie Diaries is the coming-of-age story of one of the most iconic characters of our generation.
Before Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw was a small-town girl who knew she wanted more. She’s ready for real life to start, but first she must navigate her senior year of high school. Up until now, Carrie and her friends have been inseparable. Then Sebastian Kydd comes into the picture, and a friend’s betrayal makes her question everything.
With an unforgettable cast of characters, The Carrie Diaries is the story of how a regular girl learns to think for herself and evolves into a sharp, insightful writer. Through adventures both audacious and poignant, we’ll see what brings Carrie to her beloved New York City, where her new life begins. (Summary provided by Balzer + Bray.)
I absolutely loved the television show Sex and the City, and I’m really excited for the prequel series, The Carrie Diaries. So, I spent yesterday reading the YA novel the prequel series is based on. It’s about Carrie’s senior year of high school and takes place in Castlebury, a small New England town where hamburgers topped with grilled onions and peppers are considered haute cuisine.
Highlights of the book include getting to see Carrie’s unique sense of style evolve as well as Carrie’s relationship with her mother. Carrie’s mother sounds like she was a rare woman for her time. Beautiful, talented, and driven, Carrie’s mother taught her a special brand of feminism. Carrie continues to develop her feminist views after her mother’s death. The death of her mother at a young age is a defining moment in Carrie’s life. Bushnell writes of the relationship with sensitivity and reminds me a bit of Judy Blume in some of the passages regarding Carrie and her mother.
One of my favorite aspects of Sex and the City was Carrie’s awesome fashion sense. Hermes scarf tied around her forehead anyone? Well a Hermes scarf makes an appearance in The Carrie Diaries and there is an awesome scene in which Carrie personalizes a purse that her mother left her after her sister nearly ruins it.
Carrie has two sisters, Dorrit and Missy. Dorrit is in junior high and dealing with their mother’s death by acting out. Missy is… Well there’s not much I can tell you about Missy because Bushnell never really develops the character. I know there’s only so much a writer can write within a novel, but I really would have liked to have known more about Missy. I finished the book unclear about her age. Is she in high school with Carrie? Junior high with Dorrit? This bugged me.
Carrie, of course, has a love interest. Sebastian, new kid in school and mysterious bad boy, proves to be a challenge for Carrie. Eventually they start dating but the complications don’t stop coming. In fact, it is obvious to pretty much everyone but Carrie that she can’t trust her best friend, Lali around Sebastian. Sebastian is a really great character, and I hope he makes an appearance in the next book.
The development of Carrie’s writing ability is one of the central plot lines in the book. Her struggle to figure out what she should be writing about and ultimately find her voice is an insight into the writer she becomes. Overall, I found The Carrie Diaries an enjoyable read. It is a fun look into the evolution of one of my favorite characters to grace American pop culture in the past twenty years. In fact, the second I finish writing this review I plan to read Summer and The City: A Carrie Diaries Novel.