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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Review: The Carrie Diaries

Last weekend, The Writer and I were meandering through Target and I decided I wanted a new book to read. I've been working on the classics, but I wanted one of those girly novels that I don't have to concentrate very hard to get through.  I found The Carrie Diaries and thought it would be perfect, since I am admittedly obsessed with Sex and the City.

While I admit I didn't finish reading Candace Bushnell's original Sex and the City due to the fact that I found SJP's Carrie much more lovable than her original portrayal, I don't see many links between the Carrie of The Carrie Diaries and the Carrie of the TV series.  I'd thought that, since The Carrie Diaries had been published after the story had been made popular through television and cinema, the "prequel" would fit into that story line. It does not.

First of all, "The Carrie Diaries" has Carrie and her two younger sisters being raised by her father after her mother has passed away.  In Season 4, I believe, Carrie's editor at Vogue (the one who surprised her in the Vogue Closet in his briefs) asks Carrie about her father and Carrie replies, "There's not much to tell...He skipped out on my mom and me when I was pretty young." She is then shown peeking at an antique photo of her and her father that she keeps in a copy of Salinger's Catcher in the Rye.

Next, in Season 5, Carrie reunites with her high school boyfriend, Jeremy, who is seeking mental health treatment in Connecticut.  "Jeremy" is no where to be found in The Carrie Diaries.  Throughout the series, Carrie mentions at least one other high school boyfriend, as well.  The Carrie of TCD has one boyfriend, Sebastian, with whom she does not have sex with. In fact, she states multiple times that she is still a virgin and spends a good amount of time whining about how everyone else is "doing it."

In TCD, Carrie talks about cooking at home from Julia Child's cookbook to provide stability for her younger sister.  I'm fairly certain Carrie never mentions siblings in the series.  She also "stores sweaters in [her] oven," "Triscuits from the mid-80's," and "an old bottle of Kahlua, somewhere."  She loves that Aiden and Big cook. That doesn't sound like someone who'd make coq au vin in high school, does it?

I don't buy the whole swim team/diving thing. I just don't. At the end of TCD, Carrie has been accepted to Brown and many of her classmates were heading for Ivy League schools.  The valedictorian of my graduating class tried to get into Brown, and failed.  Maybe it is massively different if you are the daughter of an alumnus, as the Carrie of TCD is purported to be.  Aside from that, Carrie never specifically mentions her education in the TV series, but again, Brown?!

In one of the earlier seasons, Carrie is held up at gunpoint and robbed of her bag, jewelry, and Manolos.  She says she's never been mugged before, but in TCD, her purse is lifted almost immediately upon arrival.  Also, she contacts Samantha Jones, a cousin of a high school acquaintance who's in advertising, as a last resort after having her bag stolen.  The second SATC movie states that she met Samantha while Samantha was bartending at CBGB.  The second movie also has Miranda as the first of her three friends that she connects with.

There are many, many more inconsistencies that turned me off to the book.  Nor did I find certain aspects of it believable, such as Carrie's grasp on her sexuality as a seventeen year old.  If you read it without expecting the HBO Carrie, it's a quick and easy read.  I read it in a single afternoon.

I understand differences between the original book and the TV series/movies, but once the show and movies have gained such popularity, you'd think Ms. Bushnell would think to collaborate with the stories that people are most familiar with.  I was disappointed.

Grade: D


Carrie said...

Books to TV shows are never consistant. I'm ashamed to admit I've never watched a single episode of Sex and the City. Maybe I'll try the books first, and then show, as to curb the disappointment?

The Remarkable (Rambunctious) Redhead said...

Honestly, skip the books. They pale in comparison to the movies.

Normally and especially with the classics, I support the book over the movie, but with SATC, I'm much more in favor of the series and movies.

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