She used to detest being labeled a "sex-and-shopping novelist," but now Judith Krantz accepts that it "will unquestionably be the first line in my obituary," so she's preempted the pundits by using it as the title of her breezy, earthy memoir. "On balance," Krantz concludes, "sex and shopping are both excellent things"--and she's had plenty of both. In her opening chapter, on the night train to Paris in 1949, about-to-be-21-year-old Judy Tarcher realizes, "Now that I was old enough to vote, I was old enough to lose my virginity." Thirty-three years later, when her husband wants to reach her in a hurry, he knows her habits well enough to find her in Beverly Hills, "dallying at the Saint Laurent boutique." In between, Krantz offers a frank account of her affluent childhood in New York City; college years at Wellesley; premarital affairs that led to a 1953 abortion (about which she is matter-of-fact and guilt-free); marriage to television executive Steve Krantz; and, of course, the string of bestsellers that began with Scruples, published when she was 50. Although Krantz settles a few scores (mostly with carping critics) in her blunt narrative, by and large it describes with infectious gusto a glamorous life enjoyed to the hilt. --Wendy Smith
From Publishers Weekly
That demure, well-behaved and virginal Judy Tarcher, a Wellesley graduate from a wealthy and proper Jewish family who ultimately became Judith Krantz, author of such steamy, sex-drenched bestsellers as Scruples, Princess Daisy and Mistral's Daughter, seems to surprise even Krantz herself. Nevertheless, here Krantz gleefully charts her transformation from one of the most studious and least popular girls at Manhattan's exclusive Birch Wathen School to one of the publishing industry's most f?ted stars. The story of the intervening years is both entertaining and instructive. Nearly 50 when she embarked on her authorial career, Krantz (now 70) maintains that her early life--particularly a post-college year in Paris, during which she briefly lived in an abandoned brothel, and her connections, via her socially prominent parents and her TV-producer husband, to many real-life equivalents of her glamorous jet-set characters--provided rich material for her fiction, and she proves this point by providing blow-by-blow accounts of how various personal experiences and encounters worked their way into her novels. She also notes that, for her, autobiography is a kind of therapy, allowing her to analyze and come to terms with her often-fraught relationship with her emotionally distant parents and to get to the roots of various personal neuroses and anxieties. Like her novels, then, this is a story of a life of wealth and privilege also laced with heartache. But, narrated in a chatty, down-to-earth voice, it's also a stylish, fun read with an appealing blend of entertaining froth and savvy insight. 24 pages of photos not seen by PW. Author tour. (May)
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