NONFICTION

Sex and the City and Us: How Four Single Women Changed the Way We Think, Live, and Love

S. & S. Jun. 2018. 256p. ISBN 9781501164828. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501164842. TV
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Armstrong (Seinfeldia) affectionately traces the history of Sex and the City, from its inception in the early 1990s as Candace Bushnell's column for the New York Observer to one of the first TV shows to put HBO on the map. Impeccably researched and as absorbing as the program it follows, the book swiftly dismisses critics who called the program insipid fluff, instead lauding it for breaking new ground in its forthright, empowering depiction of female sexuality and single women. Armstrong adeptly explores the show's vital place in pop culture but falters when it comes to examining its shortcomings. She acknowledges that Sex and the City portrays a whitewashed, gentrified New York, where feminism is defined as the choices of privileged white women. But despite a few perfunctory stabs at unpacking some of the show's stereotypical representations of black women, trans women, and bisexual individuals, Armstrong steers clear of overt, sharp criticism. Still, this is a smart, well-crafted love letter to a cultural phenomenon.
VERDICT An addictive read that's sure to circulate; a must for fans of the show and TV junkies.

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