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Sex and Shopping: Confessions of a Nice Jewish Girl Hardcover – May 1, 2000

3.9 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 422 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (May 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312251963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312251963
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,368,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Anyone who ever read one of Judith Krantz's novels and wondered exactly where she finds her fascinating ideas will have that mystery resolved by SEX AND SHOPPING. Trite though it may be to say, Mrs. Krantz has led a life more amazing than most fiction.
Maybe it just has been luck, or maybe she really was born under a lucky star, but her life has been filled with magic. She was born to two successful European Jewish immigrants to New York who gave her every advantage educationally and materially--except perhaps mother love. Barbara Walters set her up with her husband, even provided the dress she would wear when they met. (Admittedly, they had not yet grown up to be Great Dames; they still just were a couple of eager girls.) Her brother married Shari Lewis. She and her husband sold their co-op on Central Park West to David and Helen Gurley Brown. By her own report, the entire ride's gone that way.
Immediately following World War II, right after Judy had graduated from college (Seven Sisters, it goes without saying), her father placed her for a year with an impoverished aristocrat in Paris. At the time, Judy barely understood French. By the end of the year, she spoke a perfect, fluent, Parisian-accented version, in which she can converse to this day. Anybody who read SCRUPLES, her first blockbuster, will remember that this is a history that her heroine shared. Oh, yes, and Judy also finally lost her virginity in the City of Love.
She writes bluntly about the sexual conventions of her generation, strange by contemporary standards. In those pre-birth control days, she ended up needing an abortion. And she had the abortion the day before she had her first date with her husband.
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Format: Hardcover
This autobiography was actually more enjoyable than Judith Krantz's latest book "The Jewels of Tessa Kent." I had no idea she was brought up in such a wealth family. Unfortunately, the wealth did not bring happiness. Her mother, whom she was constantly trying to please, was cold and aloof and her father, who Ms. Krantz adored, was more interested in his many mistresses than he was his children.
The book is written in a friendly, almost chatty way. I felt that I got to know a little bit about the author - the good parts of her life anyway - she left out anything bad happening and even put a somewhat sunny glow on alcoholism and abortion. The only time I got the impression that her life was not going as expected was when she discussed her first boyfriend (a total jerk) who sexually molested her at the age of 15.
Yet, the book is very enjoyable. I would recommend it.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I wasn't going to write this review, but this book was so bad I just had to.
I couldn't wait to get this book home and dig into it -- I love adventurous women! But what a disappointment -- it was horrible; I couldn't even finish the last third of it.
Let me sum up Ms. Krantz's opinion of herself in three words: "I am AMAZING." She takes narcisissm to an all-time high. Yes, it is an autobiography, but her constant sounding off about how great she is at everything she does made me nauseous. By the way, she actually had that "amazing" quote above in the book, as an excerpt from her journal (actually, her word was SUBLIME, all caps, but you get the picture). Her books set all kinds of records, she landscapes better than professionals, she handles herself wonderfully on television, she's run just about every department at Good Housekeeping magazine, and she's a damn fine friend. Oh yeah -- did I mention she was so wonderful at gymnastics, including the trapeze, that her instructor told her to take it easy when new students attended class because she was so good the instructor didn't want the new students "discouraged"? Yep, it's all there in the book.
I won't even go into her popularity with men -- of course every man she dated asked her to marry him. That's because she's so cute. I know because she told me. In the book.
She also fails to realize what an American princess she is. Her lamenting of having to go out to the deli on a dark, stormy night to get chicken soup for her sick husband because it was the housekeeper's night off will really make your heart bleed. To this day, she is still traumatized by that night (yes, she actually said this).
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By A Customer on April 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
As a jewish girl I have lived with many of the same experiences as Judith. I enjoy shopping as well as sex, and these are just some of the things I as well as other readers can relate to. If you want an interesting read with real life experiences this is the book for you. For those of you who want to read a book that can keep you interested, but not one that takes for days to finish ,this book took me about 3 and I am not a fast reader.
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By A Customer on February 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
When I checked out this book, I was not quite sure what to expect. However, after reading the first few pages, I knew this was going to be a very good read. Judith Krantz is a wonderful storyteller (there is not one dry or boring moment) and she has led a fascinating life! (Many of her experiences you will recognize from her 10 books.) I definitely recommend that any fan read this book; I was sorry to finish it!
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