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Shopgirl    by Steve Martin order for
by Steve Martin
Order:  USA  Can
Theia, 2001 (2000)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Angela Landreth

In Shopgirl, Steve Martin crafts a quaint combination of coming of age and love story. It is about a twenty-eight year old woman named Mirabelle who, by her own choice, leads a mundane existence. She seldom has the opportunity to meet people while working behind the glove counter at Nieman Marcus. There Mirabelle sells the rarely worn, high-end accessories of a bygone era to the occasional customer who intrudes upon her monotonous existence. Her few friends ignore her as often as they socialize with her. She has had a couple of dates with the younger Jeremy, who is attracted by her passing similarity to Olive Oyl.

Then a pair of Nieman Marcus gloves appears at her apartment, accompanied by an invitation to dinner with the customer who purchased them. This opens the door to a new relationship for Mirabelle, who, surprisingly, agrees to meet Ray Porter. Ray is an older, established businessman, looking for an uncomplicated, non-monogamous relationship - which he explains to Mirabelle on a subsequent date. This leads to misunderstanding, since Mirabelle assumes that Ray is trying to overcome obstacles so that they can be together, while Ray is baffled because he cannot just keep her compartmentalized to his life while in Los Angeles.

As this progresses, Mirabelle explores her relationship with her parents, where she currently is in life, and what changes she needs to make to get where she wants to be (told in the third person). There is not a great deal of depth to the main characters, though they do develop through the novella. Many would assume a book by Steve Martin to be full of jokes and one-liners; while humor is present in Shopgirl, it primarily takes a sensitive look at a woman coming to terms with her life, and growing in maturity. Overall, I'd recommend it as a good rainy weekend's read.

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