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Trading Up    by Candace Bushnell order for
Trading Up
by Candace Bushnell
Order:  USA  Can
Hyperion, 2003 (2003)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
* *   Reviewed by Sally Selvadurai

Janey Wilcox is the ultimate 'social climber'. Hailing from a middle class, middle America background, she has clawed and slept her way to the top of the social elite of New York society, and is determined to stay there. Janey never quite 'fits in' until she meets and befriends Mimi Paxton, one of New York's leading lights. Mimi has much in common with Janey; although she is 'old money', she too has made choices to remain living the life to which she is accustomed. Mimi did this by marrying George Paxton, a multimillionaire who can provide her with everything she has ever desired, except love.

Through her friendship with Mimi, Janey is finally recognized on the social scene, but she wants to be known as more than merely a Victoria's Secret model and has aspirations to write screenplays or produce films. In order to retain her friendship with Mimi, Janey decides to marry Seldon Rose, a very rich friend of Mimi's husband, since she cannot get the handsome Polo player that she'd like bed - he's reserved for Mimi, who becomes besotted by him. Gradually Janey's world begins to fall apart as her past indiscretions catch up with her. But Janey can manipulate as well as anyone, juggling people's feelings and their reactions, and managing to always come out on top.

Candace Bushnell leaves the reader feeling alternately incensed with and sympathetic to Janey's behaviour, wondering if she is justified in her reactions or if she is merely the worst kind of social user, who eats others for lunch before spitting out the remains. Ms. Bushnell's graphic descriptions of life in high-rolling New York society are compelling, and if they are even a little true, fascinating! A very readable novel.

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