Review

Lipstick Jungle

by Candace Bushnell

Candace Bushnell's sexy female friends are still having sex in
the city, just not as often since they are prowling the lipstick
jungle of New York's most competitive and high profile industries
--- fashion, publishing, filmmaking --- to secure the corner
offices, multi-million dollar salaries and billboard recognition.
The three friends --- Nico, Victory and Wendy --- are linked by
their ambitions and their belief in one another.

The days of see-and-be-seen lunches at "café society" hot
spots like "Michael's" or three martini meetings at "21" in
Manhattan have become the domain of forty-something women who have
moved out of the bedroom and into the boardroom. Bushnell's message
to her mass audience of women in "Sex and the City" was to embrace
and enjoy sexuality with confidence. LIPSTICK JUNGLE heralds career
aspirations, hard work, success, and power as the secrets to
attracting the opposite sex. "It's a jungle out there," a jungle of
women with naked ambition and sheer attitude.

Although LIPSTICK JUNGLE is more about longer relationships with
men than one-night stands and role reversal is predominant, there
is a "giddy with excitement" and a "die from anticipation" sexual
tension that is tempting to those who loved Samantha's ("Sex and
the City") older woman-younger man relationship.

"Every woman knows that you have to combine at least two men to
make one decent one" --- maybe not. I will never forget an article
in the August 2004 issue of Town and Country written by
David Brown, husband of Helen Gurley Brown, icon of the feminist
movement and author of the groundbreaking international bestseller,
SEX AND THE SINGLE GIRL and founding editor of Cosmopolitan.
Mr. Brown lovingly stated, "I'm never jealous of my celebrity wife.
I've never felt less of a man because she was more of a
woman."

Red is a symbol of passion, lust, power, heat, confidence and sex
appeal, and in today's jungle, red is the only color on the
cover of Bushnell's new book. Fittingly, "golden-reddish" haired
Nico O'Neilly is editor-in-chief of Bonfire Magazine (I
loved the connotation here) and is obsessed with being the first
female CEO of the Splatch-Verner publishing division. Her timing
and tactics are masterful. Feeling like nothing is new in her life,
Nico takes a "hot male model who was eager to trade in his
underwear for boy-toy status." Meanwhile, at home Nico's husband of
14 years, Seymour, is happy to teach one class at Columbia
University, plan dinner parties and coach her on The Art of
War
in the office.

Victory Ford's rise to billboard recognition begins with the
dazzling annual fashion week in New York and a less than victorious
show. When the media and her peers reject her line, Victory
rebounds with naked ambition and develops partnerships that result
in her own couture line. Satisfied with her single and childless
status, Victory treads cautiously with adoring billionaire
boyfriend Lyne Bennett, who indulges Victory with his wealth,
private jet and spur-of-the-moment trips, but acts as if he owns
her. Victory wants to make billions in her own way and buy her own
jet.

Wendy Healy is a distraught wife trying to keep her stay-at-home
husband's extravagant spending and her three young children under
control, but as President of Parador Pictures she is wildly
successful and garners the Oscars to prove it. Unhappy with the
role reversal, Wendy's ego-driven husband Shane demands a divorce
and custody of the kids because of Wendy's hectic schedule. Wendy
is in her forties, rich and successful and unthreatened by the male
ego.

 

Candace Bushnell is one female who has successfully secured a place
for herself in the lipstick jungle. The six-foot banner in the
window of Borders Books announcing the release of LIPSTICK JUNGLE,
a 20-city author tour and national television publicity affirms
that she is the reigning tigress of the lipstick jungle. In fact,
if I were to name a lipstick after Bushnell, I would call it
"Manhattan Tigress." Publicity of this magnitude and expense is
reserved for A-list authors whose next book is eagerly awaited by a
mass audience.

From the runways of New York and Paris, the excitement of the
Cannes Film Festival on the French Riviera, the sleek Manhattan
boardrooms, and the New York Times bestseller list, Victory,
Wendy, Nico and Candace are "staying in the game" and toasting with
Dom Perignon as tigresses in the lipstick jungle.

Reviewed by Hillary Wagy on January 11, 2011

Lipstick Jungle
by Candace Bushnell

  • Publication Date: September 6, 2005
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • ISBN-10: 0786868198
  • ISBN-13: 9780786868193