ImageTitle : Trading Up

Author : Candace Bushnell

ISBN-10 : 0786890878

ISBN-13 : 978-0786890873

Paperback : 600 pages

The Plot :

‘Trading Up’ is a sequel to ‘4 Blondes’ by Candace Bushnell. For those who haven’t read 4 Blondes, it just introduces us to Janey Wilcox, the main character of Trading Up. At the end of 4 Blondes, Janey signs a contract with Victoria’s Secret as a model. Trading Up deals with a slightly older and more wiser Janey Wilcox, who is determined to make it to the top. In this book we are given an in-depth look into Janey’s now successful life and her rise and fall in the high society scene.

The book is set in the year 2000 in New York City. Janey is on her way out to the Hamptons when she receives a phone call from Comstock Dibble, the head of Parador Pictures. Not having heard from him for almost a year, it brings back unpleasant memories, as he was her lover and just as she allowed herself to fall madly in love with him, he got engaged to socialite Mauve Binchley. Janey finally came to the realization that “while men were perfectly happy to date her, when it came to the ultimate union of marriage they always seemed to spurn her”.

The purpose of Comstock’s phone call was to order Janey not to make any trouble for him as they were both attending top socialite Mimi Kilroy’s party that evening. As Janey’s sarcastic side came out, Comstock threatened her and after a string of expletives hung up the phone. Janey was extremely thrilled to have been invited to Mimi’s party. In the past Mimi had barely even acknowledged Janey’s presence and even seemingly made it a point to ignore her. But now that Janey had finally made a name for herself in New York, Mimi was suddenly acting like her best friend.

At Mimi’s party Janey is introduced to Selden Rose, the head of the cable channel MovieTime, — and who eventually she marries.The rest of the novel explores Janey’s trials and tribulations in trying to successfully make it in high society life. It is not an easy ride for her as issues from her past are brought out into the open and threaten to ruin her reputation forever.

It seems as if her only goal in life is to be a top player in the society scene and she will do whatever it takes to get there. Janey continually struggles with her torrid past as a consummate seducer of powerful men and is known in many circles as a semi-prostitute. Determined to become a movie producer, Janey attempts to maneuver her way to the top of the New York social scene by any means necessary, including using her younger sister and her brother-in-law, a popular rock star, for her own ends.

Eventually it is revealed that Janey’s reputation as a prostitute is rather well-deserved and a past indiscretion with a powerful media mogul is publicly revealed. Janey’s reputation is ruined and she splits from her husband, fleeing to Los Angeles. She manages to get a screenplay, written by her many years ago, into the right hands in Hollywood and is all set to embark on a new journey as a Hollywood movie producer.

Janey is one of those leading characters that you love to hate. She is shallow and uses everyone to achieve some goal of hers with no regard for them. To her everyone is a pawn in the game she is playing to reach the top. Yes, she’s got flaws, but Candace Bushnell – through her spiteful, greedy cast – truly conveys the artificial life of moneyed America. It is a quick read but the plot progresses very slowly.


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