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Shopgirl
Shopgirl
Shopgirl
Audiobook3 hours

Shopgirl

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

3/5

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About this audiobook

THE BESTSELLING NOVEL BY STEVE MARTIN
IS NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE

Mirabelle is the "shopgirl" of the title, a young woman, beautiful in a wallflowerish kind of way, who works behind the glove counter at Neiman Marcus "selling things that nobody buys anymore..."
Mirabelle captures the attention of Ray Porter, a wealthy businessman almost twice her age. As they tentatively embark on a relationship, they struggle to decipher the language of love--with consequences that are both comic and heartbreaking. Filled with the kind of witty, discerning observations that have brought Steve Martin critical success, Shopgirl is a work of disarming tenderness.
LanguageEnglish
Release dateOct 1, 2000
ISBN9780743563789
Shopgirl

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Reviews for Shopgirl

Rating: 3.062367115520907 out of 5 stars
3/5

1,411 ratings63 reviews

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  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
    2/5
    Although I found the writing beautiful initially, I quickly got bored.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Steve Martin's got a talent for writing.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    a little forlorn.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Steve Martin's use of language has always fascinated me. Even in his days of comedy he could twist the language and make it mean something one had never thought of before. In Shopgirl, his mastery of language illustrates the awkwardness, the spaces, the flaws of his characters while engaging us in an interesting story. It's the observations about the world around them, rather than the characters' observations which make this book so fun to read.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    I recently watched L.A. Story, and thought to myself, "holy mackerel. This Steve Martin fellow can write." So that's how Shopgirl ended up in my library queue.At times blunt, and at others lyrical, this is a sparse and bittersweet novella about an affair between Ray, a 50-something divorced millionaire, and Mirabelle, the titular 20-something shopgirl. If you're looking for typical "chick lit" (and I dislike that term, but it is what it is), go elsewhere.I've noticed other reviewers object to this book, calling it (or the author) misogynistic because of the way Martin writes the Ray/Mirabelle relationship, or Mirabelle herself and the other female characters. (Given the character of Lisa, they have a point.) But my view is this -- a good writer creates characters that have their own internal logic, a weird honesty that doesn't preclude the fact that they may be lying (intentionally or un-) to themselves or their partners, or abusing one another's trust (again, intentionally or un-). Good novels have truths in them, waiting to be unearthed by the reader: truths about relationships, human nature, society, whatever you bring to the book. In this respect, Shopgirl was a treasure trove, at least for me.Favorite sentence: "Mirabelle's mind floats in space, and the five fingers that pull her toward him are received into her heart like a psalm."
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Well, glancing down at the last review when I started writing this, I see I like this more than that reviewer did. Why? Firstly, it's concise - to me, a virtue. Secondly, it's pretty tough on the very human trait of self-delusion without being too censorious. The only people it doesn't really spare are those who see relationships from an unashamedly predatory viewpoint. Thirdly, as you'd expect, it's funny. Though undeniably a male take on relationships and motivation, it's a fairly nuanced one, albeit delivered more as commentary than narrative. Seeing the film adaption afterwards, I felt it works better as a novella. Despite the brevity, there's more depth to it. Would I have read it if it wasn't by Steve Martin? Probably not, as my motivation was to see how well he'd write fiction.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    He never uses a lot of dialogue which I usually find somewhat frustrating. But he just writes the most beautifully constructed sentences. Lots of smart, dry humor. I loved this book.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Nice little story of a rich computer guy and a Nordstrom's salesgirl.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Mirabelle is a glove saleslady at Neimans. She is young and immature, looking for love in all the wrong places. She meets Jeremy is is more immature than she, and then she meets wealthy Ray Porter, who is much older than she. He wines and dines her, but does not provide the love and security she craves.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    "She moved from Vermont hoping to begin her life, and now she is stranded in the vast openness of L.A. She keeps working to make connections, but the pile of near misses is starting to overwhelm her. What Mirabelle needs is some omniscient voice to illuminate and spotlight her, and to inform everyone that this one has value, this one over here, the one sitting in the bar by herself, and then to find her counterpart and bring him to her."Shopgirl offers a glimpse into the mismanaged lives of Mirabelle, Jeremy, and Ray Porter. Mirabelle, a self-proclaimed artist, is depressed, medicated, and lonely. She's 28 and works the glove counter at Neiman Marcus. On very rare occasions she draws; her artwork is stunning and bleak. She worries. Mirabelle moved out to L.A. to find her self.Jeremy is 26 and stencils logos onto amplifiers for a living. He sees this as art. Jeremy has no ambitions and absolutely no clue. Today is all that matters to Jeremy. He meets Mirabelle at the laundromat and they have a short and awkward courtship.Ray Porter is a recently divorce millionaire and is nearly twice as old as Mirabelle. He's a genius and socially sophisticated, he's also terribly self-absorbed. He is intently looking although he's not certain what he's looking for. Ray Porter is kind and vulgar. He takes more than a passing interest in Mirabelle.This novella is subtle. Steve Martin uses his trademark dry humor to make the isolation and incompetence of these characters not only palatable, but enjoyable. Ray Porter's coarse language and near adolescent sexuality makes an oddly appropriate paring to Mirabelle's insularity. Jeremy's eventual metamorphosis sets the tone for a book that is, ultimately, about growing up. Captivating.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Surprisingly moving story of single girl Mirabelle finding --and losing-- love at Neiman Marcus. It's as much a commentary on current dating mores as it is on finding true love. Martin's almost-degree in Philsophy shows through in a darkly comic way.
  • Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
    1/5
    Shopgirl is a novella of good intentions that manages to fall flatter than the fluorescent lighting at Neiman Marcus it's always waxing unpoetic about. Ray, a rich divorced 50-something businessman, meets Mirabelle, an poor depressive 20-something, over a glove counter. They start a non-relationship in which Ray buys her lots of stuff and insists they remain casual and Mirabelle wants more undergoes the mood rollercoaster. It ends badly, but the experience teaches Ray about responsibility (and pseudo-parenting) and teaches Mirabelle to follow her bliss. Err, also a punk named Jason grows a brain and becomes cool enough to become Mirabelle's age-appropriate sugar daddy.Steve Martin has to the very distressing tendency to write what the message of the story is, rather than writing the story and letting it develop organically. I mean, seriously, adding actual dialog? It wouldn't hurt. Clearly the characters are intended to come off as miserable but sympathetic, but really what they come off as is incredibly pathetic. Poorly drawn pawns, lacking any emotional maturity and self-driven motivational determination (except when the plot requires it to appear magically).
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    I loved this read and wasn't even disappointed by the movie version !!!
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    A very dark little book about the rituals of dating in the 21st century. I found it difficult to relate to any of the main characters, but maybe I'm just to old to "get it." Mirabelle - the title character - is more to be pitied than admired. And "Mr. Ray Porter" seems nearly alien in the way he relates to women - a machine-like predator of sorts. While Martin tries to convey that both characters are still works-in-progress, still "becoming," they don't quite reach a level where you can actually like them or identify with them. Even Mirabelle's struggle with clinical depression doesn't make her a sympathetic character. I have always liked Martin as an entertainer, and also enjoyed his recent memoir (also a bit dark in parts), but this novella simply remained a bit too grim to be an enjoyable read.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    I am generally leery of any book written by an actor or singer. Actually, I am leery of any medium made by an artist that usually does something else. I admit that I saw the movie first. I didn't think that I would like it, but the synopsis seemed interesting and I had recently realized that I liked Steve Martin and I love most of what Claire Danes does. I loved the movie, and I was blown away that Steve Martin could write such a gem.I didn't rush out and by the book despite my appreciation for the movie . Whenever I was at a bookstore, I would pick it up and look at. I would flip through it and then put it down. Books seem to get more expensive, so I tend to be more selective of what I buy, and I didn't think that Shopgirl would be a wise investment. It's a short book, only 144 pages or so. I can rip through that many pages in a couple of hours. Eventually, I gave into the urge and picked it up and took it home. I didn't regret the purchase, like countless others that I have made in the heat of the moment.Steve Martin can write. I grew to love all the characters in a matter of a few pages. Mirabelle is lonely and depressed and spends her days at Neiman Marcus selling gloves. She does little more than lean against the glass counter all day. She understands that she should be doing more in life, but she seems to have accepted a life where she is merely a bystander. She spends her nights drawing dead things and talking to her cats as she waits for her life to start. She dates Jeremy, who at first glance is the epitome of a loser, and then Ray Porter, a successful man who wants to possess her with no strings attached. Each interaction between the characters adds layers of dimension to all of them and at the end of the book, you are left with three very real people. Steve Martin truly has a talent with characterization, and his word choice and phrasing is wonderful. With such insight, it makes you want to crawl into Steve Martin's head and live in there for a while. The end of the book comes much too soon, but the ending leaves you "mostly" content with the future that seems to be laid out for the characters. It is a beautiful and well written little book. It's like a small bite of something delicious. It's worth it.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    This book was slim but amazing. I had no idea Steve Martin could write, and particularly, not like this. (Of course then I read the author bio in the back and saw that he had won Emmys for his writing.) Every sentence in this novella is beautifully and delicately constructed and packs a punch. I wanted there to be 500 more pages! A very simple story of Mirabelle, the glove girl at Neiman's, and the men who fall into her orbit - it is just a wonder of writing. I loved how everything was arranged and the words were perfect. I WANT MORE!
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Sweet and simple...although I might also be confusing it with the movie that made me cry and cry (in a good way).
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    I really liked this little teeny tiny book.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    I found this novella rather unusual in two respects: it's one of those stories that start out being "charming," but it develops a "darker" side; and the very omniscient third-person narrator tells us so much about what is going on inside the characters that it's intrusive. The story is about Mirabelle, the shopgirl of the title, a college-educated aspiring artist who settles for a job at the glove counter in an upscale LA department store. We learn that she has come to LA to escape her Vermont family. She suffers from depression, and she seems quite passive about what happens in her life. We learn (I think) that one of the key reasons fo leaving her family was her developing sexuality and her certainty that her parents cannot accept it. There is some explicit sex and vulgar language, which alter the tone of the story from the initial presentation.Mirabelle meets Ray, a millionaire from Seattle who travels regularly to LA on business. They begin an affair, characterized explicitly by the narrator as being based on different understandings of what things mean. These bried sequences of "this is what he said--this is what he meant by it--this is how she understood it" are entertaining and perhaps even insightful, but they make the narrator into another character and give the story the feel of a screenplay rather than a novella. Reading Shopgirl is definitely a different experience from that of reading a novel in which you have to figure things out from what the characters do. Unless Martin is playing a deep game around errors being made by an omniscient narrator (an interpretation for which I saw no evidence), he is supplying everything he thinks we need to understand the events he describes.There are a couple of secondary characters who help fill out the story and show us alternatives to the two main characters. As with Ray and Mirabelle, the narrator tells us what we need to know about these characters. Overall the story is fun, but the style and narrative technique do not send me out looking for more of the same.
  • Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
    1/5
    Nice, in it's way. Funny sometimes. Poignant and sad sometimes. I didn't appreciate the cavalier use of the "F" word, and the revelations the story ultimately offers us seem pretty minimal.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    A nice little character driven novella about 4 people coping with loneliness and making connections.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    This short novel starts very well. Simply written with detached emotion but much empathy, Martin describes with great minutiae his three main characters who quietly ebb in and out of each others lives and finally reunite in a neat but not stereotypical ending. The one major flaw are the subplots. There is something to be made of two of the secondary characters but Martin leaves us cold with loose ends which ultimately takes away from the main story.
  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
    2/5
    Steve Martin tells a good story, but the whole time I was reading this short novella I felt like I was in some surreal story that was taking over my grip on reality. I'm not sure why that was. Perhaps it was because the characters are so pathetically lonely that I felt hollow inside. It was a good, quick read.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    I loved this book! I bought the book about a year ago and didn't know what to think of it, until I decided to read it on the plane to Whitehorse. While it is a very simplistic storyline, it also a complicated one, dealing with human relationships and also where one belongs. Highly recommended. It may seem like a simple read, but it is also a very deep book.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    This short novella by the well-known comedian is tough for me to judge: it's a love story about people I don't know in relationships of a sort that I know nothing about. Still, it felt authentic & showed characters showing growth through their encounters with each other.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    This little book surprised me: Martin's style, the perceptive nuances of his characters. Lots of emotion in a small package!
  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
    2/5
    It was OK. If this movie is an accurate portrayal of his worldview, Steve Martin has a very pessimistic view of the world.A nice quick read, and they made it into a movie.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    This novella is slim and quick to read but elegant and haunting. The sparse language used by Martin truly conveys Mirabelle's loneliness.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    A short little book that is a character study. Not a whole lot happens, but you try to understand a character. I'm not sure Steve Martin really understands a woman's mind, at least that was how I felt when reading the book. Still, I did enjoy reading this book.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Another quick read; I had read and enjoyed THE PLEASURE OF MY COMPANY and SHOPGIRL had much of the same feel... A much more understated and restrained, yet quirky humor, than one might expect from a Wild and Crazy guy, that still touched on poignant romantic relations.