>Passport: New York Guest Review Bergdorf Blondes

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Bergdorf BlondesPlum Sykes’ beguiling debut welcomes readers to the glamorous world of Park Avenue Princesses, the girls who careen through Manhattan in search of the perfect Fake Bake (tan acquired from Portofino Tanning Salon), a ride on a PJ (private jet) with the ATM (rich boyfriend), and the ever-elusive fiancé?.

With invitations to high-profile baby showers and benefits, more Marc Jacobs clothes than is decent, and a department store heiress for a best friend, our heroine, known only as Moi, is living at the peak of New York society. But what is Moi to do when her engagement falls apart? Can she ever find happiness in a city filled with the distractions of Front Row Girls, dermatologists, premieres, and eyebrow waxes? Is it possible to find love in a town where her friends think that the secret to happiness is getting invited to the Van Cleef and Arpels uber-private sample sale? And how is she going to deal with the endless phone calls from her mother in England demanding that she get married to the earl next door?

With enormous wit and an insider’s eye, Sykes captures the nuances of the rich and spoiled in a heartwarming social satire, featuring a lovable “champagne bubble of a girl” who’s just looking for love (and maybe the perfect pair of Chloe jeans).

Readers of chick lit are often swayed to purchase books simply by the pretty colors and designs they use for the covers. I admit it; I’m guilty of that. I read Bergdorf Blondes years ago, attracted to the book only by its color, jewels, and sparkles on the front cover. There was no synopsis on the back of the book to guide my decision and I thought why not? After all, it was a New York Times Best Seller! Worst. Decision. Ever.

Here’s why:
Sometimes with chick lit, you have a baseline that must be met in order to be satisfied with the book. The story must be witty, funny, charming, and produce a wish that you were the main protagonist of the book. The first time I read this book, I thought, not too bad. However, rereading this book proved much more difficult than originally anticipated. The beginning of the book was extremely slow moving. You get bogged down in the most superficial, shallow existence imaginable.

The story (if you can even call it that) revolves around an unnamed storyteller and her best friend, Julie Bergdorf, trying to find a PH (potential husband). Not because they want to be in love and find a soul mate, but because being engaged gives you great skin. The rest of the pages are pages filled with vacuous, mind-numbing shenanigans. I wonder if the author was paid every time she mentioned a designer by name, Marc Jacobs, D&G, and Vera Wang just to name a few. Did I mention the story includes a page with abbreviations just in case you aren’t in the know, like PAP (Park Avenue Princesses) and ANA (anorexic)?

It’s unfathomable to me that people might actually live this way. I found the pretentiousness of this book slightly obnoxious. I didn’t feel myself sympathizing with the main character at all. In fact, I wanted to slap her and say WAKE UP! She allowed herself to be judgmental of all her friends, while entering into one dysfunctional relationship after another. If you strip away everything, the story might have been decent…maybe.

Overall, I wouldn’t read this book again. Trust me, twice is enough. I didn’t feel this book was that horrible upon my first reading, but the reread was excruciating. If you don’t mind your heroine being extremely callous, superficial, annoyingly mindless, and downright asinine then this might be the book for you!

~Allison (honorary Chick-lit Doll)

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Plum Sykes was born in London and educated at Oxford. She is a contributing editor at Vogue, where she writes on fashion, society, and Hollywood. She has also written for Vanity Fair. Her first novel, Bergdorf Blondes, was a runaway national bestseller and has been translated into fifteen languages. She lives in London and New York City.

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