Book Reviews of Shopgirl

Shopgirl
Shopgirl
Author: Steve Martin
ISBN-13: 9780786866588
ISBN-10: 0786866586
Publication Date: 9/2000
Pages: 144
Rating:
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 105

3.2 stars, based on 105 ratings
Publisher: Theia
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

88 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Shopgirl on + 25 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
I read this book after I saw the movie. Oh, how I wish I hadn't. Steve Martin is a genious! This book has such eloquent observations and economy of phrasing...it's as if each sentence is a bite of the most delicious thing you've ever eaten, and you just don't want to finish chewing it. I can't say enough about how much I loved this book. Timeless themes, modern sensibilities, and beautiful writing: what more could a modern reader want from a modern novel?
reviewed Shopgirl on
Helpful Score: 9
I read this book after seeing the movie, looking for an explanation of some questions I had after seeing it. It did a good job answering my questions.

I was surprised and impressed by Steve Martin as a writer. It was an engaging read, written smartly with eloquent passages. I consider myself to have a broad and extensive vocabulary, but I found three words I had to look up. Pleasantly surprising for someone with a love of words :)

Overall, a bittersweet story, though -- with a good dose of truth and a great look into a man's psyche.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 30 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
Not action packed, but a good read that really looks at the minds and emotional sides of the characters. I found myself enjoying it more and more each character became more concrete.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
This is a very sweet, very readable little book. I love the tone of the writing--almost like a fairy tale.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 32 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
Who knew Steve Martin was such an amazing author! His inner monologue is better than many people's speeches.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
The book is short enough that I thought I could burn through it in a couple of days. Not so - I kept falling asleep, so it took almost a week. I was bored and couldn't connect with either of the characters. I felt sorry for Mirabelle, but thought the rest of 'em could use personality overhauls of the Get-a-Clue type.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 19 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I love this audio book. It's a type of depressing story with a happy ending. As I write this I've been suffering a bought of depression for a while, and this was a perfect compliment to my mood. I was able to wallow in my depression, while feel a little uplifted when it ended. It's a short listen at 3 1/2 hours.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Steve Martin is a true Renaissance man. Readers expecting to find "Wild and Crazy Guy!" type humor in this text need not bother. Thoughtfully written, this melancholy novella is the perfect study of many May/December relationships, as well as the differences in the communications styles of men and women. I found it to be heartbreaking and beautiful.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 92 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Qurky and fun, but there is a HUGE jump in the last 1/3 of the book that kind of leaves your head spinning. Also, and this is not negative or positive, just a comment: A wee bit graphic, especially if you've watched a lot of Steve Martin in the past ;)
reviewed Shopgirl on
Helpful Score: 3
I blow air kisses to this novella. So light and lovely, airy and fine.

The movie is actually equally as good.

Steve Martin? Who knew!
reviewed Shopgirl on + 373 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Such a sweet, sad, modern-day fairy tale told in almost complete narration and very little conversation. Martin is a talented writer and a crafty way of expressing himself - the book flows as quickly as the movie.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I love Steve Martin's style - although nothing like shopgirl herself, I felt like I was inside her head and could feel what she was feeling. He runs quickly through parts that deserve a quick explaination and takes the time to explain others that are worth reading every word to get into the characters and relationship dynamics. I heard that the movie was good as well and can see Clair Daines in the lead role...very excited to see it...
reviewed Shopgirl on + 103 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Surprisingly good. Quick read. Not very light-hearted but rings with truth. I enjoyed it.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 21 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I believe I'm in the minoriy for not liking this book.

I never felt sorry for Mirabelle, however I didn't feel anything at all for her. She was waiting around working in a department store (shop girl?) waiting for things to happen.

She never made one attempt to make something happen herself.

The characters lacked depth and that makes the reader feel nothing for them.

At 130 pages it's not a waste of time, but for me, it was a struggle.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 44 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
...a winsome fairytale.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 16 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Very quick read, of course, better than the movie.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 81 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Stever Martin wrote this story about a shopgirl with lots of social problems that a older man falls in love with. Interesting book, and interesting to read a romance story from a man's prospective.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Simple read... if you saw the movie then you will enjoy the book as well.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Great, fun read.
reviewed Shopgirl on
Helpful Score: 1
Cute story by Steve Martin.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Interesting characters, quirky and well-developed. Humorous at times, but not the Steve Martin type of humor you see in his comedy routines.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 44 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Yes, that Steve Martin â he's an author AND an actor. I wonder, in reading this book, if he saw himself playing the âolder manâ lead. I have heard rumors that he, in life, played the role of the ingénue â I assume strung along by an older woman before he knew which end was up.
There are specific statements in the book that were alluded to in the movie. Hence the book is clearer. While the movie tries to lead the audience to the same level of understanding, the book is specific.
It's a small book and a quick read. I wonder if seeing the movie first made it better or not.
I DO recommend it.
reviewed Shopgirl on
Helpful Score: 1
This is a great book. I read it one afternoon. The story line is not particularly gripping but the emotions that are portrayed so well draw you in.
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Helpful Score: 1
Cute story, better than the movie. I pictured Steve Martin as the lead character the entire time. Quick, light read for a weekend.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A good quick read. Quirky in all the right ways. Far outshined the sad attempt of a movie.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 69 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Steve Martin is a man of many talents. This is a poignant book about a girl just getting along. I highly recommend it.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A funny, fast read that is completely forgettable. I love Steve Martin for his cleverness and way with words, but this book is just average.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 19 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I love this audio book. It's a type of depressing story with a happy ending. As I write this I've been suffering a bought of depression for a while, and this was a perfect compliment to my mood. I was able to wallow in my depression, while feel a little uplifted when it ended. It's a short listen at 3 1/2 hours.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 1080 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Steve Martin's wry yet sympathetic prose makes Mirabelle come alive, and she is by turns confused, cold, loving, naive, and wise. No idealized romance here, but a charming and insightful slice-of-life tale.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 131 more book reviews
Very good. A real quick read. Great summer book!
reviewed Shopgirl on
Delightful novella about a very well drawn female protagonist.
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Well worth reading, beautifully and lovingly written.
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I found this book quite interesting. I was expecting something funny and it was not funny but still quite interesting, enough so that I rented the movie.
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Love story about a young woman (shop girl) & an older man. The girl is really depressed. The man is a ladies man & has set his sights on the girl. Has sex scenes. Interesting how the book ends.
reviewed Shopgirl on
I was very pleasantly surprised by this novella written, and read, by Steve Martin (the actor). I bought the audiobook used from Cracker Barrel, so the CDs and jacket aren't in pristine condition, however, I had no issues playing them in my car.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 58 more book reviews
Quirky little book about a stagnant, depressed young woman, Mirabelle, as she tries to navigate her life, understand her past, and look to a future. She begins a relationship with an older, richer man, Mr. Ray Porter who, in many ways, is just as lost as she. I found this book to be more sexual than I thought it would be... not too graphic though. I did enjoy the story and character development... it's description of Mirabelle's depression is poignant.
reviewed Shopgirl on
A quick read, I read this on a two hour plane ride. Well written and interesting.
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It was a pretty good read, but throughout the whole thing I kept thinking "ewww Steven Martin can have a dirty mind sometimes!" :-P It was about a young woman who was trying to figure out who she is, her former (later current) boyfriend who was a slacker and found himself after landing a great job, and the older man in her life who doesn't know what kind of relationship he wants with her.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 3 more book reviews
Very brief - closely follows the movie. It was a nice quick read...
reviewed Shopgirl on + 5 more book reviews
A beautiful little book with heartbreaking characters. The story focuses on Mirabelle ("see beauty"), a depressed waif who works in the little-used glove department at a big department store. In her spare time, she talks to her cat and draws beautiful, brooding portraits that she keeps to herself. She meets Ray Porter who comes to her counter and has her select a pair of gloves for "a woman" that end up being herself. ("Ray" being a mathematical term, and "Porter" -- someone who guards a doorway -- to himself? Someone who carries baggage?) Their relationship is based on mutual attraction, longing for connection, and mostly what doesn't get said between the two of them. As you'd expect, there are clever moments of humor. A nice read with a hopeful ending.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 5 more book reviews
Quick read, I enjoyed it.
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One of our country's most acclaimed and beloved entertainers, Steve Martin is quickly becoming recognized as a "gorgeous writer capable of being at once melancholy and tart, achingly innocent and astoningly ironic (elle). Beautifully written, this novella reveals a different side of Martin, one that is unexpectly perceptive about relationships and life and profoundly wise when it comes to the inner workings of the human heart. This book is about a "shop girl" - a young woman, beautiful wallflower ish kind of way, who works behind the glove counter at Neiman Marcus selling things that nobody buys anymore....Slightly lost, slightly off kilter, very shy, Mirabelle charms becaus of all that she is not , not glamorous, not aggressive, not self aggrandizing. Still there is something about her that is irrestible. Mirabelle captures the attention of Ray Porter, a wealthy businessman almost twice her age. As they tentatively embark on a relationship, the both struggle to decipher the language of love - with consequences that are both comic and heartbreaking.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 10 more book reviews
Steve Martin is a man of many talents and he can now add incredible writer to his list. A love story for anyone who's felt lost during their life.
reviewed Shopgirl on
Steve Martin surprises all with this entertaining novella. Well written and with emotionally deep characters, the story engages the reader from start to finish.
reviewed Shopgirl on
Overall, Shopgirl was an interesting novel; each section was important to the plot and the development of each of the individual characters. After much contemplation, I think a possible meaning of this story is that when one spends time getting to know a person, understanding their moods and personality, one become irrevocably attached to that person: they genuinely care for and love them even if they are unable to admit it to themselves. This meaning would be explained by the entirety of Mirabelle and Rays relationship: how it began, ended, etc.

The repetition of one line at the end of the book was something I found interesting; even though I am not sure I fully understand why the author chose to do this. In the middle of the novel when Mirabelle lied to her boss and chooses to enjoy an extended lunch break she sees a repulsive woman talking on her cell phone saying . . . just remember darling, it is pain that changes our lives (Martin 53). After hearing this Mirabelle cannot fathom the meaning of this sentence, as she has been in pain her whole life, and yet it remains unchanged (Martin 54). The line it is pain that changes our lives is repeated on the last page of the novel when Mirabelle is consoling Ray after he attempts to apologize for the way their relationship ended. This could be because the author wants to point out that one may not know how deeply seemingly innocent or likely to be forgotten events/occurrences may affect him/her.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 116 more book reviews
This was such an interesting, intriging short story. The characters are witty and very down to earth. I hope the movie is just as interesting.
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Intersting book. Now a motion picture. Steve Martin is funny; sort of off the wall.
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Chick-lit, but written by a man this time. Predictable, zero character development, and basically pointless. It's a shame, really, as Steve Martin really is bright. Oh well.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 37 more book reviews
This was touching and the writing style of Steve Martin is refreshing and I wish that he had more in his arsenal.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 4 more book reviews
Short, but a nice read overall. I'm interested in possibly seeing the movie now.
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This is an interesting story of the ups and downs of falling in and out of love. Mirabelle, the heroine, struggles to find out who she really is in the course of finding out who she loves. Steve Martin is the author. I love his movies, but his writing isn't quite as funny. I bet it's not supposed to be, but I was a little disappointed.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 38 more book reviews
touching and poetic
reviewed Shopgirl on + 223 more book reviews
Just like the movie. Written by Steve Martin. Very good book. Fast read.
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Nicely written, but it felt like a very intentional framework for making into a screenplay. Mirabelle was genuine, but Ray was a little too aloof to be believable.
reviewed Shopgirl on
I love this book because i relate to mirabelle so well.
It really shows you to follow your dreams and allow failures to make you grow!
reviewed Shopgirl on + 78 more book reviews
Steve Martin's first foray into fiction is as assured as it is surprising. Set in Los Angeles, its fascination with the surreal body fascism of the upper classes feels like the comedian's familiar territory, but the shopgirl of the book's title may surprise his fans. Mirabelle works in the glove department of Neiman's, "selling things that nobody buys any more." Spending her days waiting for customers to appear, Mirabelle "looks like a puppy standing on its hind legs, and the two brown dots of her eyes, set in the china plate of her face, make her seem very cute and noticeable." Lonely and vulnerable, she passes her evenings taking prescription drugs and drawing "dead things," while pursuing an on-off relationship with the hopeless Jeremy, who possesses "a slouch so extreme that he appears to have left his skeleton at home." Then Mr. Ray Porter steps into Mirabelle's life. He is much older, rich, successful, divorced, and selfish, desiring her "without obligation." Complicating the picture is Mirabelle's voracious rival, her fellow Neiman's employee Lisa, who uses sex "for attracting and discarding men."

The mutual incomprehension, psychological damage, and sheer vacuity practiced by all four of Martin's characters sees Shopgirl veer rather uncomfortably between a comedy of manners and a much darker work. There are some startling passages of description and interior monologue, but the characters are often rather hazy types. Martin tries too hard in his attempt to write a psychologically intense novel about West Coast anomie, but Shopgirl is still an enjoyable, if rather light, read.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 35 more book reviews
Interesting human story. A little sad, but I enjoyed it.
reviewed Shopgirl on + 9 more book reviews
Steve Martin may be a funny comedian but I'm not fond of his book. Writing didn't seem to flow...
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I was really impressed by this book, which may have come at least a little for not expecting much, especially anything deep. But there was a lot of complication in this little book. While he breaks the "show don't tell" mandate of creative writing classes, I liked his style of writing. Though I felt the ending was missing...something...the rest of the book more than makes up for it.
reviewed Shopgirl on
Not exactly the finest example of literature, but mildly interesting.
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Steve Martin's touching story. Quick read.
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A short, sweet, touching novella. Steve Martin is a stylish and intelligent writer.
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Lovely, lovely story in Steve Martin's sensitive and insightful way.
Fast read and very rewarding!
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Entertaining read!
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Like all of Martin's characters Mirabelle has problems but you can't help but be sympathetic and charmed. Mirabelle is the shopgirl of the title, a young woman, beautiful in a wallflowerish kind of way, who works behind the glove counter at Neiman Marcus selling things that nobody buys anymore . . .

Mirabelle captures the attention of Ray Porter, a wealthy businessman almost twice her age. As they tentatively embark on a relationship, they both struggle to decipher the language of love with consequences that are both comic and heartbreaking.
reviewed Shopgirl on
I was very disappointed - I just could not sympathize/empathize with these characters. Maybe it's just me - I've heard other people loved it.
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Mirabelli is the "shopgirl" of the title, a young beautiful woman in a wallflowerish kind of way, who works behind the glove counter at Neiman Marcus. Mirabelle captures the attention of Ray Porter, a wealthy businessman twice her age. As they tentatively embark on a relationship, they struggle to decipher the language of love and consequences that are both comic and heartbreaking. Filled with witty discerning observations.
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Very well written (keep the Webster's handy!), a little dark, some unresolved lines in the plot, but overall enjoyable.
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Funny, short read. 130 pages
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Mirabelle works behind the glove counter at Neiman Marcus and attracts the attention of an older gentleman who can introduce her to the finer things in life, though not necessarily 'happily ever after,'as well as that of a young man her own age who is more awkward and unsure than Mirabelle herself. While I enjoyed the book, I was more intrigued by Steve Martin's ability to create characters that seem so real and true. No one is really a hero here. Each character has very likeable and unlikeable moments. A great read.
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An interesting, artistic read
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The novel on which the recent Steve Martin/Claire Danes movie was based. Wry and amusing and a little sad.
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I enjoyed reading this book!
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witty fast reader. fun.
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Great melancholy tale from a comic genius!
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Good, fun read. Enjoyed the story.
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A beautiful book, very internal. Much better than the movie!
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I like this book a lot.
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"A sweet, courageous exploration of a young woman's search for selfhood and love." BOOKPAGE
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This is my favorite novella and movie of all time. I loved the story, the characters, from the first sentence to the last. Its a quick read, and one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. I could relate to the main character on so many levels. I think everyone should read this!
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From front leaf: Steve Martin, (yes, that Steve Martin), writes about a May-December romance that is comic and heart-breaking.
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this is the same book that the movie was based on.
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I never knew Steve Martin to be an author until I came across this little novella in a book sale and got to talking to the librarian about it. Like the comedian, it was a pretty sharp and witty read. Perfect for a day in the park.
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I saw the film, read the book, and thought the book was excellent. A very sexy read.
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I Loved this book.
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Entertaining, but indifferently written. Martin is much funnier in other formats.
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From Publishers Weekly
Shy, depressed, young, lonely and usually broke, Vermont-bred Mirabelle Butterfield sells gloves at the Beverly Hills Neiman Marcus (nobody ever buys); at night, she watches TV with her two cats. Martin's slight plot follows Mirabelle's search for love--or at least romance and companionship--with middle-aged Ray Porter, a womanizing Seattle millionaire who may, or may not, have hidden redeeming qualities. Also in and out of Mirabelle's life are a handful of supporting characters, all of them lonely and alienated, too. There's her father, a dysfunctional Vietnam vet; the laconic, unambitious Jeremy; and Mirabelle's promiscuous, body-obsessed co-worker Lisa. Detractors may call Martin's plot predictable, his characters stereotypes. Admirers may answer that--as in Douglas Coupland--these aren't stereotypes but modern archetypes, whose lives must be streamlined if they are to represent ours. Except for its love-hate relations with L.A., little about this book sounds much like Martin; its anxious, sometimes flat prose style can be affecting or disorienting, and belongs somewhere between Coupland and literary chroniclers of depression like Lydia Davis. Martin's first novel is finally neither a triumph nor a disaster: it's yet another of this intelligent performer's attempts to expand his range, and those who will buy it for the name on the cover could do a lot worse.

People
"Shopgirl is an Audrey Hepburn of a book: slim, lovely, and ever so old-fashioned."

Trivia: Made into a 2004 romantic comedy starring Claire Danes, Steve Martin, Jimmy Fallon, Jason Schwartzman, and Frances Conroy.
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This was an okay story, not very memorable though.