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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Getting to Know Carrie

I caught the Sex and the City wave closer to the second season of the HBO series.  I just happened to watch an episode while on vacation years ago and was shocked at the explicit language and adult situations.  It certainly got my attention because it seemed like the first time a drama captured the realistic girlfriend conversations and idiosyncrasies of female friendships. 

Since I did not have access to extended cable programming at home it was a while before I was able to watch SATC on a regular basis.  I made it my mission to collect the entire series over the years.  I went to my local used bookstore, Edward McKay Used Books & More, and found some of the series on VHS and DVD.  For the seasons I could not locate there, I engaged in eBay bidding on auctions and luckily was able to complete the entire series eventually.

I proceeded to watch an episode every night so that I could get up to speed from the very beginning.  It was a ritual I looked forward to on a daily basis.  During the course of this mission, SATC began in syndication and ran late at night.  So, most nights I got a double dose of this enjoyable series.  By the time the first SATC movie came out, I watched the entire series at least three times. 

What was so intriguing you may ask?  Well, in addition to the 'real' language and situations, it was the characters of Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte.  I admired the fashionable, freely-expressive Carrie who had the perfect profession of free-spirited writer.  I enjoyed watching the sexual antics of Samantha and looked up to her ability to play power games with the best of them.  Miranda is the character I most identified with with her sharp wit, sometimes abrasive attitude, but soft, gooey center.  Charlotte made me appreciate the benefits of being a well-mannered, 'proper' girl with grace and social etiquette.

So, the author of SATC, Candace Bushnell, was on CBS' The Early Show this past spring promoting her new book, Summer and the City.  She explained that it was a follow-up to the 2010 book called, The Carrie Diaries.  I was like, where have I been?  Why haven't I picked up these books yet?  Other than the fact that I am a really slow reader I thought there was just no good excuse to pass this by.  This was an opportunity for some good summer reading.  So, I proceeded to order the books from my local library.  Before I knew it the books came in and it was time for me to get started.  Just recently my library changed their grace period from three weeks down to two weeks so I knew I was seriously under the gun to get these books finished.  And, seeing as how I'm an extremely slow reader, the pressure was on! 

First, I read The Carrie Diaries.  This story takes place during Carrie's senior year of high school in Connecticut.  Seeing as how I grew up in Connecticut and remember my senior year of high school all too vividly there was definitely a connection.  It was great to get the background story of Carrie's life before The City.  The fun part was being able to visualize her 15 to 20 years before we were introduced to her in the HBO series, Sex and the City.  I had a point of reference.  Immediately I felt like I was rekindling an old friendship.  Getting to know Carrie's family life and the kind of student and friend she was brought a deeper insight, meaning, and appreciation for the character we grew to love in the HBO series.  I believe I read this book in less than two days!  It was a fun read.

Second, I picked up the sequel to The Carrie Diaries called Summer and the City.  This book captures Carrie's journey immediately after she graduates high school.  We are introduced to Samantha, Miranda, and at the very end, Charlotte.  It is fun being able to use your point of reference from watching these characters on television and then being able to visualize the younger version of each character.  We get to see them when they are in the midst of developing a new friendship and female bond.  Again, reading these books was a pleasure because it felt like you were catching up with old girlfriends.  There are even some characters, like Capote Duncan, who we are introduced to in the book and who also appear in the HBO series, Sex and the City.  I believe I read this one in less than two days as well.

Bottom line, if you are a fan of the HBO series Sex and the City and have not caught up on Carrie's life before she hit Manhattan then I certainly recommend both The Carrie Diaries and Summer and the City.  They will leave you wanting even more of the early relationship between Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte.

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