Shopgirl - Steve Martin I’m pretty torn on how I feel about this one. There were parts that I wasn’t crazy about (when Martin seems to be trying too hard to either get a laugh by nudge-nudging your ribs or seem “deep” by making his characters have mind-blowing epiphanies when it just doesn’t seem natural), but there were parts that I also really enjoyed. Mirabelle Butterfield (god, what a name – I hated that awful, fake name) was actually a pretty relatable character in that she is always on the outside looking in, struggling with anxiety and depression while trying to be a part of something and make her way in the world. Her love interest, Mr. Ray Porter, is a 50-something-year-old millionaire with the mindset and actions of a teenage boy, wanting to play with Mirabelle like a toy until he gets sick of her. He actually reminded me a bit of the great Gatsby – he’s mysterious and elusive and has a throws a lot of money around to impress Mirabelle. It takes Ray a while to realize just how fragile Mirabelle is and what it means to be in a relationship, how to give and take instead of just using her up and expecting everything to be okay. Meanwhile there’s Jeremy, who’s at the same point emotionally speaking as Ray, but he’s still in his twenties like Mirabelle. He’s awkward and clueless and his first “dates” with Mirabelle are kind of cute in how awful they are.

I think the main reason I’m torn on how I rate and feel about this one is because it’s by Steve Martin. This is the first book I’ve read by him and I still want to read [book: Born Standing Up] and [book: An Object of Beauty]. He’s such a jack-of-all-trades, not just a brilliant comedian but an author, musician, playwright, and art critic. But with all this dabbling here and there I wonder if he’s spread himself too thin or trying too hard to be a modern renaissance man. I can’t be sure that all these efforts are genuine and true, not publicity stunts or methods of staying in the spotlight (which I seriously doubt but there’s a tiny niggling thought in the back of my head that they could be). Because there definitely are celebrities that write books just for the fifteen minutes of extra fame it gets them *cough, Snookie, Paris Hilton, cough*. I guess I just need to read some more of Martin’s work to get a better feel of who he is as a writer and what he’s trying to say, because I’d really like to believe him.