Review: Killing Monica

Published June 23rd 2015, 305 pages

Author: Candace Bushnell

Overview from the Author’s Site:

Pandy “PJ” Wallis is a renowned writer whose novels about a young woman making her way in Manhattan have spawned a series of blockbuster films. After the success of the Monica books and movies, Pandy wants to attempt something different: a historical novel based on her ancestor Lady Wallis. But Pandy’s publishers and audience only want her to keep cranking out more Monica—as does her greedy husband, Jonny, who’s gone deeply in debt to finance his new restaurant in Las Vegas.

When her marriage crumbles and the boathouse of her family home in Connecticut goes up in flames, Pandy suddenly realizes she has an opportunity to reinvent herself. But to do so, she will have to reconcile with her ex–best friend and former partner in crime, SondraBeth Schnowzer, who plays Monica on the big screen—and who may have her own reasons to derail Pandy’s startling change of plan.

In KILLING MONICA, Candace Bushnell spoofs and skewers her way through pop culture, celebrity worship, fame, and the meaning of identity. With her trademark humor and style, this is Bushnell’s sharpest, funniest book to date.

Personal Review

First things first, this book is A LOT when you read it. Pandy (our MC) got her big break when she created the character of Monica. It landed her a book deal with multiple books followed by a feature film in the works. The only problem is that Pandy’s life has become all about Monica and people no longer seem to be interested in anything else that she has to offer as a writer – only all things Monica allowed.  Like any author (or person) who gets pigeon-holed into wanting more, she becomes agitated as she’s more than just Monica and she dreams of expanding into more historical fiction. Sadly her publisher rejects this and will only accept another Monica book.

As a word of caution for those that might need it – there is a lot of cursing, heavy drinking, drugs, sex, and vulgarity throughout the book. It all goes together and makes sense in Pandy’s universe as her lifestyle is one of a city socialite partier, but it might turn off some readers – for me, I didn’t mind it as it were things the character was surround by or participated in. The more difficult part was that Pandy was in her 40s (her exact age is hard to pin down) and she’s on the party schedule of someone younger in their 20s. I’m okay with someone that age partying and staying up all night, but it’s hard to believe that someone can keep going at that age without becoming exhausted – or it could just be me as it’s not something I can do anymore and I’m not even close to 40 yet.

We go through Pandy’s life where she makes bad choices in love and can’t seem to get off the roller coaster that is her life.  She has a frenemy relationship with Sondra Beth Schnowzer. Pandy and her used to be best friends until they had a falling out. However, as Sondra Beth is playing Monica in the movie, then Pandy and her are forced to spend time together again. Together they go through a lot of crazy interactions that become a whirlwind of words to the reader. Honestly, I’ve read some confusing books before and never walked away going WTF as I did with this one.

The craziest part about this whole novel is that everything is revolving around the character Monica, but you don’t really get to know what makes this character such a phenomenon. I wish the author would spend less time on the crazy events and random details that aren’t necessary in the story to focus on who Monica is and why people actually care so much about this character. Without this essential information, the reader either has to come up with their version of Monica (is she a style icon like Carrie, is she a version of another Sex and the City character, or is she something else entirely?) Monica is just a popular character that we’re told is loved and everyone wants to be a part of anything she’s involved in whether it’s another book or the upcoming movie.

I enjoyed the Carrie Diaries, but this is a far cry from the witty satirical novels that this author has been known to do. I don’t understand sometime how this was written by the same author as the characters didn’t make sense as they all seemed to be going through the motions just to reach the ending (the twist at the end did surprise me in a way), but by the time you get there you feel like you wasted your time.

While I plan to never read this book again in my life and will donate it as soon as the COVID pandemic the world is going through allows, I honestly thought this novel has potential. If the author focused more on describing Monica, the environment (clothes, apartments, or general atmospheres), etc. and less on just throwing one crazy dramatic event after another at the reader, then I think this book was have been more well-received by this reader. I wouldn’t recommend this book at all to any reader, but like any review you can take my opinion with a grain of salt and always pick up a copy yourself to form your own opinions.

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