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From one of the most consistently astute and engaging social commentators of our day comes another look at the tough and tender women of New York City -- this time, through the lens of where they live. One Fifth Avenue, the Art Deco beauty towering over one of Manhattan's oldest and most historically hip neighborhoods, is a one-of-a-kind address, the sort of building you h From one of the most consistently astute and engaging social commentators of our day comes another look at the tough and tender women of New York City -- this time, through the lens of where they live. One Fifth Avenue, the Art Deco beauty towering over one of Manhattan's oldest and most historically hip neighborhoods, is a one-of-a-kind address, the sort of building you have to earn your way into -- one way or another. For the women in Candace Bushnell's new novel, One Fifth Avenue, this edifice is essential to the lives they've carefully established -- or hope to establish. From the hedge fund king's wife to the aging gossip columnist to the free-spirited actress (a recent refugee from L.A.), each person's game plan for a rich life comes together under the soaring roof of this landmark building. Acutely observed and mercilessly witty, One Fifth Avenue is a modern-day story of old and new money, that same combustible mix that Edith Wharton mastered in her novels about New York's Gilded Age and F. Scott Fitzgerald illuminated in his Jazz Age tales. Many decades later, Bushnell's New Yorkers suffer the same passions as those fictional Manhattanites from eras past: They thirst for power, for social prominence, and for marriages that are successful--at least to the public eye. But Bushnell is an original, and One Fifth Avenue is so fresh that it reads as if sexual politics, real estate theft, and fortunes lost in a day have never happened before. From Sex and the City through four successive novels, Bushnell has revealed a gift for tapping into the zeitgeist of any New York minute and, as one critic put it, staying uncannily "just the slightest bit ahead of the curve." And with each book, she has deepened her range, but with a light touch that makes her complex literary accomplishments look easy. Her stories progress so nimbly and ring so true that it can seem as if anyone might write them -- when, in fact, no one writes novels quite like Candace Bushnell. Fortunately for us, with One Fifth Avenue, she has done it again.


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From one of the most consistently astute and engaging social commentators of our day comes another look at the tough and tender women of New York City -- this time, through the lens of where they live. One Fifth Avenue, the Art Deco beauty towering over one of Manhattan's oldest and most historically hip neighborhoods, is a one-of-a-kind address, the sort of building you h From one of the most consistently astute and engaging social commentators of our day comes another look at the tough and tender women of New York City -- this time, through the lens of where they live. One Fifth Avenue, the Art Deco beauty towering over one of Manhattan's oldest and most historically hip neighborhoods, is a one-of-a-kind address, the sort of building you have to earn your way into -- one way or another. For the women in Candace Bushnell's new novel, One Fifth Avenue, this edifice is essential to the lives they've carefully established -- or hope to establish. From the hedge fund king's wife to the aging gossip columnist to the free-spirited actress (a recent refugee from L.A.), each person's game plan for a rich life comes together under the soaring roof of this landmark building. Acutely observed and mercilessly witty, One Fifth Avenue is a modern-day story of old and new money, that same combustible mix that Edith Wharton mastered in her novels about New York's Gilded Age and F. Scott Fitzgerald illuminated in his Jazz Age tales. Many decades later, Bushnell's New Yorkers suffer the same passions as those fictional Manhattanites from eras past: They thirst for power, for social prominence, and for marriages that are successful--at least to the public eye. But Bushnell is an original, and One Fifth Avenue is so fresh that it reads as if sexual politics, real estate theft, and fortunes lost in a day have never happened before. From Sex and the City through four successive novels, Bushnell has revealed a gift for tapping into the zeitgeist of any New York minute and, as one critic put it, staying uncannily "just the slightest bit ahead of the curve." And with each book, she has deepened her range, but with a light touch that makes her complex literary accomplishments look easy. Her stories progress so nimbly and ring so true that it can seem as if anyone might write them -- when, in fact, no one writes novels quite like Candace Bushnell. Fortunately for us, with One Fifth Avenue, she has done it again.

30 review for One Fifth Avenue

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Don't do it. Don't spring the cash for the hardcover of Sex and the City creator Candace Bushnell's latest, One Fifth Avenue. Instead, eat an entire bag of Twizzler's, spend some money you don't have at a high end department store, look up on Facebook the shady college boyfriend that made you cry, research the current value of your home or 401K and then read all about how the big hedge fund managers are faring during the economic crisis. You'll feel about the same stomach pain if you waste your Don't do it. Don't spring the cash for the hardcover of Sex and the City creator Candace Bushnell's latest, One Fifth Avenue. Instead, eat an entire bag of Twizzler's, spend some money you don't have at a high end department store, look up on Facebook the shady college boyfriend that made you cry, research the current value of your home or 401K and then read all about how the big hedge fund managers are faring during the economic crisis. You'll feel about the same stomach pain if you waste your time reading this book. It's supposed to be a feminine Tom Wolfe commentary or modern Edith Wharton-style farce, and the Lily Bart that works her way into ruin is the old New York of the Sex and the City glory days. But if I want the stuff of Wolfe or Wharton, um, I'll read the real deal. When the stress of air travel prompts me to pick up some chicky fiction, I'd really just like a good story. This doesn't have it. Unless you think NYC co-op building politics are titillating, but in this era of good people trying to make their mortgage payments, I personally can't get into it. What is OK: The book does show how the fancy free fun of the former Sex and the City life can spin out of control into scaryville. Spending the rent money on Manolos a la Carrie Bradshaw is no longer fun but truly dangerous. Single women engaging in casual relationships in the coat closet at Bowery (or now, B Bar) are no longer strong feminist renegades but vapid climbers using their Brazilian waxes and Blackberries as tools to ensnare rich and successful dudes. And those elusive rich dudes? Bumbling idiots, emasculate and mean as snakes. The married women in the story are the worst. The young wife of a hedge fund manager is completely spineless, willing to give up career and original thought and be treated badly in exchange for jewelry she doesn't like. The biggest villain? The harpy wife and mom that starts a blog and is so pathetic she lives on a middle class income, miserably gnashing her teeth at not having millions in the bank or wearing clothes with a comma in the price tag. Ah ha! NOW you know why I did not like this book. This is definitely not a fun homage to shopping and shtuping. It's more like a horror movie with bad editing. There are even typos printed [shudder.:] Don't do it. Cost: $25.95 of wasted precious cash at the Fox News airport store, $15.57 at Amazon

  2. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I don't care what you think. I liked it! I don't care what you think. I liked it!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sam Still Reading

    There's a couple of things you need to remember when you start to read this book: 1. There are lots of characters, seemingly only linked by a very thin thread. Don't worry, you will start to remember who they are and who they love and hate after 50 pages or so. 2. It's a fairy tale, so please don't be too disappointed about how it all turns out. 3. Best read in large chunks (eg. holiday reading) rather than 20 minutes a day on a train- you'll forget who's doing who and who hates who. In One Fifth Av There's a couple of things you need to remember when you start to read this book: 1. There are lots of characters, seemingly only linked by a very thin thread. Don't worry, you will start to remember who they are and who they love and hate after 50 pages or so. 2. It's a fairy tale, so please don't be too disappointed about how it all turns out. 3. Best read in large chunks (eg. holiday reading) rather than 20 minutes a day on a train- you'll forget who's doing who and who hates who. In One Fifth Avenue, the characters aren't all best buddies like Sex in the City. This is more about people only linked because they live or know someone in the apartment building, One Fifth (Avenue). Once again, the author does a great character study of a number of imaginatively named people (Thayer Core, anyone?). This is a nice holiday/aeroplane read. There are a couple of references to Sex and the City (the show, not the book) and what a big success the movie was. Not required in my book- and considering the remark about the movie was more than likely made *before* the movie was widely distributed, it's a little disturbing. A couple of typos too- in one paragraph the name of the character is suddenly the same as another (dead) character. Don't pay full price, but don't expect Lipstick Jungle either (though I think it's better than that).

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    This book made me grateful that I do not lead a life like the one it portrayed. I feel like the upper class lifestyle that Bushnell describes is too superficial and artificial for me to really appreciate it. I am baffled that there are people that actually live their lives in such a supercilious manner towards others just because they have more money. I am also baffled that people can actually spend that much money on objects and luxuries. I am not sure which character I despised more - Lola or This book made me grateful that I do not lead a life like the one it portrayed. I feel like the upper class lifestyle that Bushnell describes is too superficial and artificial for me to really appreciate it. I am baffled that there are people that actually live their lives in such a supercilious manner towards others just because they have more money. I am also baffled that people can actually spend that much money on objects and luxuries. I am not sure which character I despised more - Lola or Paul Rice. Lola was not only the most self-centered, spoiled and self-righteous person I've ever heard of, but she never changed for the better. Paul, on the other hand, became so consumed by money and power, that he turned into a cruel ruthless individual. As some consolation for their remorseless behavior, I think they both got what they deserved in the end. My favorite character was Annalisa Rice because she had the most compassion for others. The book provided some entertainment, but I never felt satisfied or happy when putting the book down; instead, I felt sad for the human race and discouraged by how obsessed and materialistic we have become.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Karina

    2.5... I wanted to read something light and hopefully funny in between a serious read but this was overly long and not at all funny. I've never read Sex & the City or watched any of the shows or movies and reading this I don't care to read any of Bushnell's writing. Her characters were all snotty and uninteresting to me and I think my IQ level went down a few hundred points... (I used to be a genius.. LOL- total joke!!) The whole book was about middle-aged New Yorkers worried about $$$ and more 2.5... I wanted to read something light and hopefully funny in between a serious read but this was overly long and not at all funny. I've never read Sex & the City or watched any of the shows or movies and reading this I don't care to read any of Bushnell's writing. Her characters were all snotty and uninteresting to me and I think my IQ level went down a few hundred points... (I used to be a genius.. LOL- total joke!!) The whole book was about middle-aged New Yorkers worried about $$$ and more $$$ and having desperate sex the whole time... Maybe Chicklit isn't my genre...?

  6. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    I most enjoyed the underlying theme on how easily all people misconstrue the actions of others, and even further, how these false assumptions are taken so deeply personally that we literally start living our lives in reaction to what we think we see in other people's behavior. I really appreciated seeing how Bushnell presents the deep, emotional attachments people make to the perceived thoughts and motivations of others, and how dramatically lives can change from the narrow-minded and false judg I most enjoyed the underlying theme on how easily all people misconstrue the actions of others, and even further, how these false assumptions are taken so deeply personally that we literally start living our lives in reaction to what we think we see in other people's behavior. I really appreciated seeing how Bushnell presents the deep, emotional attachments people make to the perceived thoughts and motivations of others, and how dramatically lives can change from the narrow-minded and false judgments we all make. One person's reality of a situation can be wildly different from that of their neighbor's/lover's/family's/etc, and One Fifth represents to me a very light-hearted tome to the necessity of mastering nonjudgmental communication and, most importantly, limiting our personal attachment to the behaviors of others. If you take this book for it's face value (reading superficially)—much how the characters go about their lives—you'll think it's only about social climbing and frivolous gossip. Frankly, look harder. No one in life hands you an explanation manual about your experiences. I'm surprised at the scathing reviews decrying the frivolity of this novel. Do readers need the author to conclude with a Spark Notes-style explanation of "what the book is about?" in order to find intellectual meaning? Take the final line of the book. "Accept good fortune and damn the rest." In this line, Bushnell does offer a concluding overview of the book's theme. To one viewer, this means embracing greed. But there is a much deeper theme here. Bushnell concludes with the fundamental outlines of gratitude, something many of the One Fifth characters lack.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Laurel-Rain

    In an Art Deco building in one of Manhattan’s oldest and most hip neighborhoods, a conclave of fictional Manhattanites reside; they are a mix of old and new money, a power-hungry and socially eager group that will do almost anything to maintain their residences – and hence, their social positions – in this piece of real estate that represents so much more to each of them. Thus begins the tale of One Fifth Avenue. First, we meet some of the elder residents – those who have the respect of the other In an Art Deco building in one of Manhattan’s oldest and most hip neighborhoods, a conclave of fictional Manhattanites reside; they are a mix of old and new money, a power-hungry and socially eager group that will do almost anything to maintain their residences – and hence, their social positions – in this piece of real estate that represents so much more to each of them. Thus begins the tale of One Fifth Avenue. First, we meet some of the elder residents – those who have the respect of the others. We meet Louise Houghton, who has been in the building for more than thirty years – and is nearly 100 years old – who occupies the penthouse apartment that hovers like three tiers on a wedding cake, above all the others. Then we see Enid Merle, whose apartment on the thirteenth floor is the best (after the penthouse, of course) and is next to her nephew Philip Oakland, a writer. She, too, is elderly. Louise and Enid are the historians for the place, and know “where all the bodies are buried”. Schiffer Diamond, an actress, has primarily lived in LA for the past several years, but after obtaining a part in a TV series, she returns to her small unit at One Fifth Avenue. Billy Litchfield resides on lower Fifth Avenue and has little money. However, he acts as a kind of concierge to the very rich, and thus has entrée into the soirees and special events attended by the very rich. He is in and out of One Fifth Avenue, mixing with the residents as if he belongs. On the very bottom floor, Mindy and James Gooch reside, with their 13-year-old computer-whiz of a son. Theirs is a cramped unit with a series of box-like rooms – they were formerly luggage space – but Mindy Gooch is the head of the board for the cooperative apartment building. She wields some power in enforcing the rules and keeping out the unsavory potential residents. But the residents shun her and exclude her from the social events. When Louise Houghton dies unexpectedly – strangely put, since she is so old, but everyone expected her to live forever – her prime penthouse apartment is “up for grabs”. Enter Paul and Annalisa Rich, the new rich – he is a hedge fund billionaire and she, a former attorney – and more drama begins. When the Rices buy the penthouse for 20 million, they are welcomed – at first. Then a series of events, coupled with Paul Rice’s arrogant and paranoid behavior, lead to a warring of various factions, until in the end, everyone wants Paul out. He, on the other hand, with his money, greed and power, hopes to eliminate the others. Mixed with various romances and the sexually-charged liaisons of the characters, we have a dramatic tale of power and lust gone mad. What will happen to ultimately tip the balance of power and who will end up reigning? What sabotage will finally lead to tragedy, and who will end up paying the highest price? These characters, richly drawn and compelling, remind us of Bushnell’s other works – "Sex and the City" and "Lipstick Jungle" – and their antics kept me turning the pages eagerly until the final act.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    I've never read anything by Candace Bushnell, but considering she was behind Sex and the City, she seemed worth a try. Now, I'm not going to say her other books are bad, but based on this I might never find out. This book was drawn out, tedious and a complete waste of time. I kept battering to get through it just so I could move onto something else. New York is, I assume, supposed to be romanticised in this book considering every character seems to have some form of love for either the city itsel I've never read anything by Candace Bushnell, but considering she was behind Sex and the City, she seemed worth a try. Now, I'm not going to say her other books are bad, but based on this I might never find out. This book was drawn out, tedious and a complete waste of time. I kept battering to get through it just so I could move onto something else. New York is, I assume, supposed to be romanticised in this book considering every character seems to have some form of love for either the city itself or One Fifth Avenue. Instead, the city is portrayed as dull, filled with wannabe socialites and people who have their own dreams and put down one another's. Is there supposed to be a battle of young and old? A clash of old culture versus the new internet-age that's infiltrating everywhere? I guess there is, but it's very poorly done. From Enid's immediate dislike to Lola to Mindy's pursuing of her own blog, there is absolutely nothing interesting here. Be it the middle aged woman who is unhappy in her marriage and blogs about that rather than trying to fix it, or the young girl from a rich background who is one of the most easily dislikable and bratty characters I've ever come across, or even Enid, who just seems to be a cranky and interfering old woman... I'd assumed, based on Sex and the City being in her back catalogue that this would have some diversity in the female characters, but something that brings them together. Sadly, everyone is dull and unlikeable. Whether it's being handed everything on a plate or changing yourself entirely to fit in with a rich society you don't care for, One Fifth Avenue was not exciting in any form to me. So much time was spent on the petty politics of the building itself that it proved a struggle to get through. There were so many characters that it was all too easy to forget who did what and who was linked by what thin thread. If you read in bulk, you retain the information, but barely. Will I ever read a book by Candace Bushnell again? I doubt it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Summer

    One Fifth Avenue takes us on a tour of the New York City, socially elite crowd of one of the most prestigious buildings in which to live. The reader follows many of the residents of One Fifth, though difficult to track at first, through their triumphs and "misfortunes," as they go about their daily, wealthy lives. As you can tell from the rating, I was not a fan of this book. My intention was to read this as a sort of brain-candy, guilty pleasure read between heavier novels. Unfortunately, it di One Fifth Avenue takes us on a tour of the New York City, socially elite crowd of one of the most prestigious buildings in which to live. The reader follows many of the residents of One Fifth, though difficult to track at first, through their triumphs and "misfortunes," as they go about their daily, wealthy lives. As you can tell from the rating, I was not a fan of this book. My intention was to read this as a sort of brain-candy, guilty pleasure read between heavier novels. Unfortunately, it did not quite read like a brain candy novel. Instead, we are tormented by the trials and tribulations that face these "poor" souls - wealth, status, he-said-she-said, my-life-sucks-because-I-don't-want-to-work-and-can't-find-a-wealthy-husband... You get the idea. I mean, who can't sympathize with a snobby 22-year-old girl, whose never had to work a day in her life, who absolutely MUST have the $6,000/month apartment and who becomes tormented because the man she's using for money won't marry her? And don't forget her parents, who went broke trying to pay her rent and asked her to leave the city - this was all just a clever ruse to show her they don't love her anymore. Outrageous. My genuine hope is that this was intended to be a satire. If so, it would be much more enjoyable to read. It would take some tweaking to better convey the satire, but I think it is a much more plausible story than attempting to take these characters seriously.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Prabhjot Kaur

    The one book that I like by Candace Bushnell isn't even about her most iconic character. One Fifth Avenue is about a landmark building in New York city. When I read the blurb, I wasn't expecting much because a landmark novel isn't enticing and it is definitely something I don't normally read but I decided to give it a go. It has a lot of characters and I believe the main character of this is the landmark building only. When a resident of the building dies, her place is up for grabs with money of The one book that I like by Candace Bushnell isn't even about her most iconic character. One Fifth Avenue is about a landmark building in New York city. When I read the blurb, I wasn't expecting much because a landmark novel isn't enticing and it is definitely something I don't normally read but I decided to give it a go. It has a lot of characters and I believe the main character of this is the landmark building only. When a resident of the building dies, her place is up for grabs with money of course. Then starts the debate about who would get the place. It had some laugh out loud moments but what really struck with me was how realistic some of the things were. I have seen this happen in real life when people were fighting over who gets the place where a person had died. It is not for everyone but I didn't mind it. 3 stars

  11. 4 out of 5

    Elevate Difference

    I prefer not to make New Year’s Resolutions. However, there is one that I intend to make and keep. I will never read a "chick lit" book again. For years, the vapidity of this genre has enthralled millions of women and kept the printing presses running at publishers’ establishments. I frankly refuse to even glance through something of this standard ever. I read One Fifth Avenue on a whim. A college friend suggested it to me after I admitted that I had never watched Sex and the City. “It’s Candace I prefer not to make New Year’s Resolutions. However, there is one that I intend to make and keep. I will never read a "chick lit" book again. For years, the vapidity of this genre has enthralled millions of women and kept the printing presses running at publishers’ establishments. I frankly refuse to even glance through something of this standard ever. I read One Fifth Avenue on a whim. A college friend suggested it to me after I admitted that I had never watched Sex and the City. “It’s Candace Bushnell, you’ll love it!” she exclaimed. Gosh was she wrong. And my ire was indomitable once I read this passage between the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Philip and his lover-to-be Lola: "Every girl wants to get married now. And they want to do it while they’re young." "I thought they wanted to have careers and take over the world by thirty." "That was older Gen Y," Lola said. "All the girls I know want to get married have kids right away." Supposedly, girls my age want to marry young so that they don’t end up unhappy like their mothers. Could there be a more uninformed conclusion? Bushnell's work is meritless. I struggled to keep my eyes open. Boring. Boring. Boring. Even mass-produced paperback editions of Stephen King hold more excitement than the pages of One Fifth Avenue. Not to mention that there is a completely unrealistic portrayal of New York City. All too often chick lit writers fail to capture the city’s ethnic and racial diversity. This appears to be the case here. Where is the pathos? All I could note was the pettiness and the general banality of the characters. The novel supposedly covers the tension between old and new money in modern age New York. However, Bushnell does not even deserve comparison to the likes of Wharton and Fitzgerald who successfully covered such material in The Age of Innocence and The Great Gatsby, respectively. When its rich proprietor of One Fifth Avenue dies, the life of each resident is simultaneously impacted. Never doubt that the super rich have grave problems. Indeed, pathetic Mindy Gooch lives in the smallest apartment of the building. And her husband James has his sights set on the elusive, young Lola. The couple epitomizes the middle-aged unhappiness that the other characters exude. In keeping with the tradition of escapist literature, nothing entirely terrible happens to any of the characters. The romantic subplot involving an aging actress and her former flame Philip is favorably resolved. One of Bushnell’s characters laments the demise of good literature. Ironic, considering Bushnell began the trend and served in a capacity to perpetuate it. Next stop for this book: my trashcan. Review by Anita Sonawane

  12. 5 out of 5

    Megs ♥

    I tend to like Bushnell's YA works more than her chick lit type of books. I absolutely loved both books in the Carrie Diaries, but this book along with Sex and the City are books I couldn't get into. I tend to like Bushnell's YA works more than her chick lit type of books. I absolutely loved both books in the Carrie Diaries, but this book along with Sex and the City are books I couldn't get into.

  13. 5 out of 5

    ☼♎ Carmen the Bootyshaker Temptress ☼♎

    Rated 3.5 stars

  14. 4 out of 5

    Love Fool

    One Fifth Avenue, the Art Deco beauty towering over one of Manhattan's oldest and most historically hip neighborhoods, is a one-of-a-kind address, the sort of building you have to earn your way into--one way or another. For the women in Candace Bushnell's new novel, One Fifth Avenue, this edifice is essential to the lives they've carefully established--or hope to establish. From the hedge fund king's wife to the aging gossip columnist to the free-spirited actress (a recent refugee from L.A.), ea One Fifth Avenue, the Art Deco beauty towering over one of Manhattan's oldest and most historically hip neighborhoods, is a one-of-a-kind address, the sort of building you have to earn your way into--one way or another. For the women in Candace Bushnell's new novel, One Fifth Avenue, this edifice is essential to the lives they've carefully established--or hope to establish. From the hedge fund king's wife to the aging gossip columnist to the free-spirited actress (a recent refugee from L.A.), each person's game plan for a rich life comes together under the soaring roof of this landmark building. I know I have been harsh when it comes to Candace Bushnell's books, I either LOVE them or HATE them. This one I loved. I thought it was funny and slightly true about NYC. There are a lot of characters in this book and normally my head would hurt too much with remembering each story but Candace does a really good job with explaining and getting you hooked with each tale. This book is smart and lets you in the lives of the rich and famous, a realistic tale of their lives. I sometimes think she makes NYC sound like a scary place and the people that live in this great city sound evil in her other books but not with this one. This time she got it right.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shiloh

    I must say I really liked Lipstick Jungle, but this was not another group of women trying to have it all in the big city. The book starts off pretty slow because there are so many characters to keep track of, and I was trying to pin one down as the main character. And there really isn't one. Lola was interesting--she brings a lot of conflict to the story, but it's definitely not about her. I think this is a good story about greed and what people will do to get ahead. I must say I really liked Lipstick Jungle, but this was not another group of women trying to have it all in the big city. The book starts off pretty slow because there are so many characters to keep track of, and I was trying to pin one down as the main character. And there really isn't one. Lola was interesting--she brings a lot of conflict to the story, but it's definitely not about her. I think this is a good story about greed and what people will do to get ahead.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Agnė

    2.5 out of 5 Although, I really liked Candace Bushnell's writing, the content of One Fifth Avenue, her chick lit novel, wasn't that great. First off, there's not much of a story, just a year or so in the lives of a bunch of rich and mostly unlikable people. In fact, there are so many characters that at first it's hard to keep track of who is who and, frankly, to care about any of them. However, Candace Bushnell did a great job portraying the emptiness and ugliness of one's life when the main focus 2.5 out of 5 Although, I really liked Candace Bushnell's writing, the content of One Fifth Avenue, her chick lit novel, wasn't that great. First off, there's not much of a story, just a year or so in the lives of a bunch of rich and mostly unlikable people. In fact, there are so many characters that at first it's hard to keep track of who is who and, frankly, to care about any of them. However, Candace Bushnell did a great job portraying the emptiness and ugliness of one's life when the main focus is money, status, power, and fame. The lack of life purpose, materialism, thirst for social approval, anxiety, depression, pill popping, the absence of genuine human connection, and all the other wonders of a modern Western lifestyle are on display in One Fifth Avenue. Unfortunately, if I had to pick one adjective to describe this novel, it would be depressing. And it's really hard to enjoy a book when you don't like anyone in it and reading it makes you feel depressed.

  17. 5 out of 5

    A. S.

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I really had high hopes for this chick-lit novel. I mean, it was being compared to the best of Edith Wharton on the inside flap! Clearly I should not be as naive as to believe everything that is written for a book promotion. I am especially glad I did not pay for this book; while I'm willing to shell out for certain guilty pleasure novels (Sweet Valley series, I'm lookin' at you!) One Fifth Avenue isn't even worth the paper on which it's printed. The politics surrounding housing co-ops are intere I really had high hopes for this chick-lit novel. I mean, it was being compared to the best of Edith Wharton on the inside flap! Clearly I should not be as naive as to believe everything that is written for a book promotion. I am especially glad I did not pay for this book; while I'm willing to shell out for certain guilty pleasure novels (Sweet Valley series, I'm lookin' at you!) One Fifth Avenue isn't even worth the paper on which it's printed. The politics surrounding housing co-ops are interesting, so this had the potential to be more compelling. I've never been in a building like that, but I've lived in places where the development board is super strict and can be bribed and swayed into making certain decisions. The characters however, are not realistic at all. There isn't a single male character with whom I could sympathize. I often consider myself a bit of a male-hater, but even I can't go this far; the males are either conniving, greedy, and snobbish, or emasculated, or so focused on their sexual urges they seem less like Homo sapiens and more like gorillas. Most of the women aren't much better, as they are either vapid, idiotic, greedy, and social-climbing, or spineless liars. By far, the most hateable character in the novel is Lola Fabrikant, a 22 year old obsessed with bedding wealthy men so that she doesn't need to work a single day in her life. She connives to stay on top, but because she is so idiotic, she can't even gain my sympathies as a bitchy, over-the-top villain with biting retorts. She just seems dumb and shallow, the type of person I'd like to slap silly if I ever met. She also never learns or grows as a person; I kept looking for character development and personal growth, but she essentially stays the same from the first pages to the last. Bushnell's description of wealth also seems a far cry from reality. In what world are the Gooches, with nearly a million in savings, considered middle class? Middle class is lower six-figures in income and below, and that's pushing it. Mindy Gooch is not only a shrill harpy, but a bad mother, letting her son get away with cutting another resident's (Paul Rice) Internet cables and causing him to lose millions. Even though Paul Rice is supposed to be a child-hating villain, I felt it was an injustice to allow the kid to get away with vandalism and what could have been disasterous if Rice had been working with national security issues. Philip doesn't deserve Schiffer--he's so focused on sex and appearing with a younger woman that it makes him lose his spine and never let Lola go. Why exactly would Schiffer want someone who cannot make decisions for himself? His aunt Enid took care of Lola--he couldn't even do that for himself. And because of the lack of characterization, I'm not sure why Philip didn't want to marry Schiffer from the get-go. She seems to be the only female character that cooks not only for herself but for her lover as well and seems to be reasonably intelligent. I don't buy Philip's excuse that she was too flighty; if anything, this could describe Philip himself. The lack of intelligent narrative voice (something Wharton did extremely well) means the reader cannot grasp these complexities. The whole deal with the Bloody Mary cross was introduced, but was a poor plot device. I kept wondering if the cross would lead to something significant because it was mentioned several times early on, but then the book shifted focus onto Philip's and, to a lesser degree, Paul Gooch's sex lives. When the importance was finally revealed, it wasn't that significant and I figured out the twist. With so many characters, it was hard to figure out why seemingly unimportant characters that didn't get much paragraph space (Paul Rice, Billy Litchfield, Sandy and Sandy's dancer wife, and Flossie) were supposed to inspire the reader's sympathy. Many of those background characters had the glimmers of personality and conscience, but they, plus Enid and Schiffer as well, were given the shaft. Thus, there was almost no character that became redeemed at all. It makes me wonder what the point of the novel was.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Justine

    Okay yes. This selection is definitely worth judging. But when one is abroad and at a train station trying to purchase a book, the options are few and far between. Let it be known that it was between this and other selections that were WAY more unsavory. (As a rule, I do not read books that contain the word "keeper" in the title. Nor do I read anything that could be put into screen form and then set to Coldplay knockoff soundtracks that are supposed to make me cry. Ick.) This is my first foray in Okay yes. This selection is definitely worth judging. But when one is abroad and at a train station trying to purchase a book, the options are few and far between. Let it be known that it was between this and other selections that were WAY more unsavory. (As a rule, I do not read books that contain the word "keeper" in the title. Nor do I read anything that could be put into screen form and then set to Coldplay knockoff soundtracks that are supposed to make me cry. Ick.) This is my first foray into the genre known as chick-lit, and if noting else, I've probably started at the top. Candace Bushnell has built an empire around a subgenre of Manhattan-oriented, Hamptoned-out, financey, bitchy characters, many of whom have been turned into prime time shows. Given that I was expected obscene amounts of crap, I'm happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Whereas I could have received Sex And the City rewritten, I got something far more tragic. One of the interesting things about One Fifth Avenue (the elite Manhattan apartment when artists, writers, finance people (heaven forbid!) and whoseewhatsit measure their wealth and status and bicker in a way that is all too stereotypical) is how pervasively unhappy everyone is. Even the chipper, up-on-top old money that is perfectly content seems to be sad and old and lonely and dying. Happiness, when attained, is stretched thin and meaningless. I am confused, I will admit, about the point. The writing is snappy and as delicious and guilty as a gossip column, but does Bushnell endorse her characters? Is this meant to be a window to show how vapid an entire subset can be? My impression is that this entire book probably shouldn't be taken too seriously. Anything that turns everyone into such a caricature (one hopes) can't be real. All in all, I left this book with the same feeling I get when Fergie's "The Labels of Love" lurks its way onto my ipod on shuffle. I'm caught between doing a little dance and wanting to vomit. Knock knock. Who's there? Orange. Orange who? Orange you glad your snobbery is based on intelligence and education rather than wealth and possessions?

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mollydee

    had no intention of reading this book. Although a fan of the HBO show "Sex in the City", I was not sure I would want to read that book. I cannot remember when I purchased this book or why. But when I ran out of things to read, I grabbed this off of the shelf. And I got a nice surprise. This is not the normal kind of book I would read. Even the description did not entice me. I had a problem in the beginning keeping all of the inhabitants and want to be inhabitants of One Fifth Avenue straight. Onc had no intention of reading this book. Although a fan of the HBO show "Sex in the City", I was not sure I would want to read that book. I cannot remember when I purchased this book or why. But when I ran out of things to read, I grabbed this off of the shelf. And I got a nice surprise. This is not the normal kind of book I would read. Even the description did not entice me. I had a problem in the beginning keeping all of the inhabitants and want to be inhabitants of One Fifth Avenue straight. Once I was able to distinguish them and their personal traits, I started really enjoying the book. One Fifth Avenue is THE place to live. And this book centers on some of the more important people that inhabit the building. It is really a social commentary about real estate, the rich, how people will do almost anything to keep people from knowing what is wrong with their marraiges and lives. Candice really did her research because she talks about real estate (and at times jewelery, clothes, etc) like she would shoes in Sex In The City. But it is also about the people that do not have the money to live at One Fifth Avenue and the lengths they will go to to live there. There is enormous pressure on the families that the book focuses on to maintain their image and keep making sure they do not have someone plotting behind their back to sell their place at One Fifth Avenue to someone with more money. There are problems with job, marraiges, children, infidelity, life and death - this book has it all. You find yourself rooting for some characters, while hoping the others will get what is coming to them. I was not sure that the author was going to be able to wrap up all the loose ends as I got closer to the end of the book, but she did wonderfully. I am not rich, and I probably never will be. And if this book is any indication of what having money can do to you, you can keep your money and your property. I did enjoy this book and it is what I like to call a good summer read. I may check out more from Candace Bushnell.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    I simply loved this book. Read it over a week vacation and so worth it. The book has an excellent plot, which is basically totally random, but it follows the lives of some tenants in a building on one of the most prestigious avenues in New York. it jumps from person to person by chapter, which keeps the book quite interesting and you want to read the next chapter just to find out what happens. But all of the chapters/characters are just as intriguing, and of course, the characters all run into o I simply loved this book. Read it over a week vacation and so worth it. The book has an excellent plot, which is basically totally random, but it follows the lives of some tenants in a building on one of the most prestigious avenues in New York. it jumps from person to person by chapter, which keeps the book quite interesting and you want to read the next chapter just to find out what happens. But all of the chapters/characters are just as intriguing, and of course, the characters all run into other eventually, and the stories are intertwined. A disappointing aspect of this book is that the final two chapters never concludes what happens to the two main characters in depth, only through mention by other characters. Perhaps this is for the best, as the book would turn into a love-y romance novel if further invested in the characters that are first introduced in the beginning of the book. This book is real, about what happens to real-type people, and not just a story of the rich and glamorous with a happy fairy tale ending (although I must admit, many of the characters ARE rich and famous). Overall a great book that I have just yesterday picked up a book by the same author and can't wait to dive in. A- rating for the few slow partss and sex parts. Although the book does not go too much into detail in the sex parts, I would just rather it would keep more to the imagination, though not that much at all. I would be semi-embarrassed to recommend it to my Mom, is all.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    When I was a wee one, I used to write stories, and people in these stories had really unlikely names. My mom still has a tendency to say "That sounds like one of your made-up names!" However, I was eight. What is Candace Bushnell's excuse? The names in this book (in all her books) -- "Thayer Core"? "Lola Fabrikant"? -- I take as stabbingly irritating synecdoches for her overall style, which is hackneyed, hollow, and underimaginative under the guise of being sharply observant and classily cynical When I was a wee one, I used to write stories, and people in these stories had really unlikely names. My mom still has a tendency to say "That sounds like one of your made-up names!" However, I was eight. What is Candace Bushnell's excuse? The names in this book (in all her books) -- "Thayer Core"? "Lola Fabrikant"? -- I take as stabbingly irritating synecdoches for her overall style, which is hackneyed, hollow, and underimaginative under the guise of being sharply observant and classily cynical. Obviously, she stopped caring about plausibility and originality about 75 Sex and the City royalty checks ago... Or else she's eight. Does this review explain why I finished the book? It does not. Evidently I too have been taken in by whatever godless Manhattan bewitchment caused someone at the New York Times Book Review to call Bushnell "the philosopher queen of the social scene." Every time I saw this blurb on the back, I almost threw the book. But ultimately, I didn't. Sigh.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rosabelle Purnama

    I'm a huge fan of Sex and The City and love the four main characters. That is one of the reasons why I pick up this book and read it, hoping for the same feeling that I get from Sex and the City, Bushnell's most popular work, and I kinda miss Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda. But this book is far from SATC, there's lots of characters, but none I really like. In fact, i hate most of the characters. I found them annoying, superficial, and some of them are mean. I particularly despise Lola F I'm a huge fan of Sex and The City and love the four main characters. That is one of the reasons why I pick up this book and read it, hoping for the same feeling that I get from Sex and the City, Bushnell's most popular work, and I kinda miss Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda. But this book is far from SATC, there's lots of characters, but none I really like. In fact, i hate most of the characters. I found them annoying, superficial, and some of them are mean. I particularly despise Lola Fabrikant, aarrgghhh she's selfish, irritating, self destructive, ungrateful and superficial to the max! I am having trouble to get the main point of the story, and it feels like a collection of stories that are loosely connected. However, I still gave this book 2 stars, since it's still interesting to know about the inner lives of the rich, famous and the not-so famous.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte

    I didn't think this was a bad book at all. Yes, there are lots of characters and their goings-on can be hard to keep track of, especially if you don't read this book in a short span of time. A lot of the characters don't live in the the reality that most of us do. But that's why this is a work of fiction, and if you take it as such, it won't bug you so much! Also, it's a statement on the ridiculousness of the richest of the rich; and I think Bushnell is trying to make a point about the pursuit o I didn't think this was a bad book at all. Yes, there are lots of characters and their goings-on can be hard to keep track of, especially if you don't read this book in a short span of time. A lot of the characters don't live in the the reality that most of us do. But that's why this is a work of fiction, and if you take it as such, it won't bug you so much! Also, it's a statement on the ridiculousness of the richest of the rich; and I think Bushnell is trying to make a point about the pursuit of money being pointless by writing a book that is, essentially pointless, about characters pursuing money. She makes some good statements about the state of the world. It's surely not a great work of literature, but I enjoyed it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    I liked the writing but the characters were depressing & obnoxious. A hard combo to take for over 400 pages. Plus, I was hoping this would compare to my beloved Apartment 3B!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Megan Clark

    Best quote: "Jerry Bockman was a gross man. He had crude features and bad skin and orange hair, and looked like he should be hiding under a bridge demanding tolls from unsuspecting passerby." Best quote: "Jerry Bockman was a gross man. He had crude features and bad skin and orange hair, and looked like he should be hiding under a bridge demanding tolls from unsuspecting passerby."

  26. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    I liked it at the beginning but then it started getting weird. I don't rate anything I gave under 3 stars, but if I did, I would probably give it 2 stars. This just wasn't what I thought it was going to be. I liked it at the beginning but then it started getting weird. I don't rate anything I gave under 3 stars, but if I did, I would probably give it 2 stars. This just wasn't what I thought it was going to be.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Monica (crazy_4_books)

    entertaining book. I read it years ago, I don't have so I must have given it away to a friend or a student, but I remember it was fun to read. entertaining book. I read it years ago, I don't have so I must have given it away to a friend or a student, but I remember it was fun to read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    I wouldn’t have picked up this book, but my niece gave it to me for Christmas, thinking I would like it. Starting out slow, I thought I’d give it more than my usual 50 pages, so I’d go to 100. It was the perfect read for after Christmas, I didn’t need to really think and it was entertaining. Exactly what I want this time of year!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lora Ofelia

    One Fifth is definitely what I consider "fluff" reading material, read for a break from reality. I appreciate the large number of main characters woven into the story since this allows them to interact with one another. Being that the reality of life in New York is far from my scope of knowledge, I do appreciate a glimpse into that society - even if it has been deemed an extremely exaggerated glimpse. Although the concrete details/events of One Fifth seem unrealistic, I feel the book stays groun One Fifth is definitely what I consider "fluff" reading material, read for a break from reality. I appreciate the large number of main characters woven into the story since this allows them to interact with one another. Being that the reality of life in New York is far from my scope of knowledge, I do appreciate a glimpse into that society - even if it has been deemed an extremely exaggerated glimpse. Although the concrete details/events of One Fifth seem unrealistic, I feel the book stays grounded by the way Bushnell portrays each character with one connecting trait - dishonesty. From beginning to end dishonesty is a common trait in each and every character - young and old, emerging socialite and stifled corporate mom, unfaithful husband and struggling gossip columnist. This consistency of dishonesty in each character maintains a sense of reality throughout the story, making it somewhat believable that the characters could be real (ridiculous, but real). While I do appreciate having to look up the definition to a word or two during reading (penury, Watusi, pontificate, sommelier, etc.) Errors are not appreciated! Is publishing and releasing REALLY so controlled by deadlines that a manuscript cannot be viewed by an outsiders eyes to look for areas of improvement!? I hope not... The error/typo to which I'm referring is found on page 345 last paragraph line 13, "It was ironic that Sandy Brewer and Mrs. Enid Houghton should end up in the same sentence. If Mrs. Houghton had been alive..." In a work where clarification of characters, roles and status is so important to the story making sense avoiding an error/typo involving a character name is of utmost importance. Overall, a good, easy read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Michele

    Real Estate is the New Black This novel, One Fifth Avenue, gets its name from the Art Deco building in New York's ultra-hip Greenwich Village. Living there has a certain status to which the middle-aged main characters aspire. In "Sex and the City" it was shoes. In this book, it's real estate. Mindy Gooch is the building's board president. She's a bitter blogger, whose husband, James, writes a commercially successful novel. Schiffer Diamond is an actress who has a relationship with a fellow tenant, Real Estate is the New Black This novel, One Fifth Avenue, gets its name from the Art Deco building in New York's ultra-hip Greenwich Village. Living there has a certain status to which the middle-aged main characters aspire. In "Sex and the City" it was shoes. In this book, it's real estate. Mindy Gooch is the building's board president. She's a bitter blogger, whose husband, James, writes a commercially successful novel. Schiffer Diamond is an actress who has a relationship with a fellow tenant, a Pulitzer Prize and Oscar-winning author, Philip Oakland. Philip's Texan aunt, Enid Merle, is an 80-something gossip columnist; and the woman who has turned Philip's head is a schemer named Lola Fabrikant (what a name!) The designated bald, gay man is Billy Litchfield and the designated beauty queen is Annalisa Rice, who gets a strong lesson in the social rules of One Fifth Avenue. As a host of characters come and go (a LOT to keep track of particularly at first), the story is filled with competition for success and sexual tension and ultimately pulls together. There are philosophical generational conflicts (middle-age characters are "snobby," and 20-something characters are "without conscious") coupled with the age-old conflict of old and new money. Like Candace Bushnell's previous books, it's more about colorful characters than good writing. I believe both "Sex and the City" and "Lipstick Jungle" made better television series than books and my guess is the same is true for this title.

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