From Publishers Weekly
Although HBO's Sex and the City has won Emmy, Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe awards, film studies lecturers Akass and McCabe are peeved that some find the show a "'worthless pile of swill' with no cultural relevance." With this wide-ranging collection of essays, they set out to dispute that view, calling on various contributors to reveal the myriad ways of interpreting the show's plot and characterization. Sex's narrator, Carrie Bradshaw (played by Sarah Jessica Parker), details the exploits of gal pals Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte, simultaneously exploring issues of sex, independence and relationships from a decidedly female perspective. The book's most heated debate centers on whether the overall image of women on the show is positive or negative. Are Carrie and company third-wave feminists who won't conform to a preconceived image of emancipation? Or are they enmeshed in a traditional yearning for Mr. Right? In the 21st century, according to most contributors, happy endings are relative. The book covers a wide array of topics, such as the symbiotic relationship between fashion and costume, and historical representations (by Woody Allen and Theodore Dreiser, among others) of single New York women. Some writers criticize the show's image of men and the instances of lesbian homoeroticism, claiming both detract from the celebration of women, sex and gay life. Others enjoy walking in Carrie's Manolo Blahniks. Most of the analysis is thought provoking, and the majority of the clearly written arguments allow readers to make the final judgment. Some viewers may not crave such scrutiny, but other fans will enjoy the added depth. Photos.
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Sex and the City
, with its trendsetting fashions and frank discussions about sex, has been iconic from the get-go, and these collected essays analyze its commentary about modern-day society. Joanna di Mattia examines Carrie's reactions to her two most significant suitors, the sexually exciting Mr. Big and the romantically inclined Aiden. David Greven compares the strange guys the women often encounter to The X-Files
"freaks of the week." Astrid Henry sees the women's enduring friendship as the biggest symbol of female empowerment in the show. "One of the most important themes is the value of female friendships and the role of these friendships in helping each of the . . . characters to understand herself and her life," Henry notes. And what book on Sex and the City
would be complete without a mention of those famous Manolo Blahniks? Sarah Niblock examines the shoes' creator and their significance in an urban setting. Anyone who loves Sex and the City
and appreciates how it reflects contemporary times will want to read these smart, accessible essays. Kristine HuntleyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved