It's A Jungle Out There

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Writer Candace Bushnell is most widely known for penning the novel Sex and the City (SATC) - which went on to become a bestseller, was turned into an acclaimed television series with Sarah Jessica Parker and a critically panned film.

But as the author milks the success of SATC dry, another one of her books has come to the forefront with a television series being made on it. Candace Bushnell's novel Lipstick Jungle has been turned into a series starring Brooke Shields, Kim Raver and Lindsay Price.

But - first things first - the novel: Lipstick Jungle is a very different story from SATC. Based on the lives of three high flyers in New York City, the book spins a tale of a true 'lipstick jungle' - replete with the fact that they all work in interlinked worlds: Wendy Healy heads a film studio, Nico O Neilly is editor for one of the most prominent magazines in NYC, and Victory Ford is a fashion designer.

A story primarily of relationships: the book shows how the older (and wiser, in more ways than one) Wendy and Nico take Victory under their wing and guide her through life and society as she struggles to keep her footing in the uber competitive world of fashion. However, as the women work their way up the career ladder they are met with different dilemmas: Nico, for example, is having an affair with an underwear model and Victory can't get her billionaire boyfriend to fit the mould of partner that she wants, simply because - he's a billionaire who is set in his ways! Lipstick Jungle is, at the end of the day, the epitome of chick-lit, but what sets it apart in one way is the very strong bond shown between the characters.

The fact that, despite having different career ambitions and perspectives on life, love and family, they are always there for each other is what stands out most in this book. And add to that Candace's well-known formula of glamour and designer names - and you have a book that mirrors reality for female high flyers.

And since Candace Bushnell's SATC was such a hit - Lipstick Jungle has also been turned into a television series. Obviously, turning a book into a show is not the easiest of tasks, but the makers of Lipstick Jungle have done a decent job at retaining the essence of the novel. And obviously, the problems of the characters, both at work and home take a new turn altogether as it is obviously far more dramatized for television.

However, the Lipstick Jungle TV show portrays the characters in far softer tones than in the novel: for example, in the book Nico (Kim Raver) is a cut throat, career driven editor, she is extremely compassionate on the show and shows more shades of grey than Victory (Lindsay Price) or Wendy (Brooke Shields).

Initially, I had assumed Brooke Shields would be the biggest draw to watch the show but she isn't. The limelight is entirely, and deservedly on Nico; and her affair with a photographer, which she juggles with her staid and practically dead marriage without batting an eyelid, and much to the dismay of her friends.

While the show is being dogged with bad ratings and is currently on hiatus, it does have the potential to pick up pace - given how much interest the first season of the show received. One of the issues is that the story often becomes clichéd in a soap-worthy saga way: much like The Bold and the Beautiful. If one looks at the shows that have become incredibly popular in recent times; it is over-the-top fantasy like Heroes or down to earth comedy such as How I Met Your Mother or Scrubs.

However, Candace Bushnell's ability to paint strong female characters that are quirky, edgy and in a jetset mould is something that has taken her a long way. Whether it is SATC's Carrie or Lipstick Jungle's Wendy, Candace portrays the trials and tribulations of women in a highly engaging way. And that has trickled down to other authors. Shades of it can be seen in Lauren Weisberger's (author of The Devil Wears Prada and Everyone Worth Knowing) writing as well.

However, Candace's refusal to acknowledge that the 'bonds of sisterhood' can be broken is what has made her books irrelevant in this day and age, where it is truly, each one for herself. And while the televised show has not capitalized on the bonds that the characters have and more on their individual lives, Candace's book is still a must-read to get an insight into these fascinating characters, fascinating not for who they are but what they represent: power in a lipstick (and high heeled!) jungle.

Masroor manages the SourceONE, marketing and content manager in a global marketing field. If you would like to know more about email marketing or if you are looking for service providers in this domain, please contact us at www.mahaan.net. I can give you a list and comparison of some good companies providing affordable online marketing solutions. 

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