Killing Monica: Candace Bushnell
Creating a character within a novel that mirrors your own image and the person you would like to be is the goal of Pandemonia J. Wallis. Becoming a successful author on the bestseller list and having many successful female friends is not really what fulfilled her life. Hoping that by creating the character of Monica she would hit it big, get tons of money, fame and even stop wallowing away in self-pity. But, Monica, the character becomes all too real to her and relationships that she thinks are meaningful turn out to be trite. Completing three Monica books and now they have decided to create movies or screenplays of the books, PJ, as she is called has decided it is time to switch gears, change the plot, and rid herself of Monica. So, do you kill off a character that has brought you fame, fortune and tons of success? Why would you want to do this and what happens when your public wants more? Not of what you want to present but of Monica? Can PJ change who and what she has become and create a new her? Over 40 is that possible?
Getting to know PJ and her friends we realize that much of her time is spent partying, drinking and just having superficial fun. But, in the background we can feel the insecurities, the poor self-esteem and the need to be accepted by not only her peers but by men. Hoping to get one hot and steamy star named Doug Stone to do more than notice her she finds herself spending close to two weeks with him and never realizes or erases it from her mind that he is just having plain fun. Is it that he likes her or is it that he is having fun at her expense?
When presenting a list of the actresses she wanted to play Monica some felt that she should not choose while others realized that the choice should be hers. Sondra Beth Schnowzer wins the role and the two become more than best friends. Open and honest talk, girl’s getaways and fun as Sondra assimilates herself in the role of Monica and becomes a carbon copy of PJ. Sondra Beth is more than gorgeous she is what some would say is perfection. Monica has taken over and the character has developed her own form of being Monica. So, when her appearances are few and their friendship begins to wane why doesn’t PJ face the mirror and realize that something has to change? Eating her way into oblivion and hoping that the phone would ring she jumps at the chance to vacation with Sondra the moment she finds time to call. Added in we learn that Doug has moved on, Sondra feels that she wants to invite him to join them in her private retreat and the two friends become at odds and the fun really begins.
The story starts off with PJ presenting her own new historical fiction novel to her publisher, which is rejected and causes her to go in what some would say a blue funk. Henry her agent explains that she needs to center herself on Monica and creating more books for that character whereas PJ wants out. Can PJ really kill off Monica? Can she switch genres? The novel she has presented centers around the history of her ancestor, Lady Wallis but Pandy as she is called needs to keep writing those Monica novels in order to be able to pay off her soon to be ex-husband who is in debt financing his new restaurant.
Getting to know both PJ and Sondra and their roles regarding Monica you begin to see how each one loses her way and soon tries to emulate and be Monica. Although the character is largely based on PJ and her life, Sondra becomes so immersed in the role, the movie and the part that she often forgets that she is not really Monica. Both Sondra and Pandy are trying to create a perfect carbon copy of who and what they think they should be. But, can they? Added in we meet actor, self-absorbed and definitely self-possessed Doug Stone whose first conquest is Pandy but whose next really does not matter to him. Creating his own role and his own version of a relationship with Pandy he spends a little over 10 days with her drinking, sleeping, snorting and more. When he leaves she realizes that the relationship means nothing to him although in her own mind it might mean more. But, things between her and SondraBeth go sour, when the movie is done she goes off to her own private world and island and it appears she forgets her best bud Pandy. But, like everyone else she is superficial and needs Pandy either for her friendship or entertainment and convinces her to take some time off, go to her private island, drink, eat, smoke and embark on a dangerous path. Can Pandy or will she realize that she does not have to become someone she is not? Why is she so concerned about Sondrabeth?
The story progresses with both Pandy and Sondrabeth vying for Doug’s attention and time but what happens should have opened Pandy’s eyes to the realities of why so many wanted to be so close to her. The author then flashes back to when and how she meets Jonny her soon to be husband of choice. Getting to know him should have been enough and the fact that he did not understand her reasoning for why she knew their tennis partners would not understand losing a sure sign that he was more than unfeeling but needed accolades and attention himself. Getting to know him should have sent up red flags and his true nature and reasoning for wanting to be married to her shines through. The only one that never sees it clearly is Pandy. The truth be told he was in love with Monica and what she stands for as a single woman. Thinking Pandy was Monica he pursues her but for, as the reader will soon realize for selfish and monetary reasons. Their ups and downs are described, his affairs noted and his anger registered so why does she stick with him? Why does she allow him to convince her to buy him a restaurant, which eventually fails? Is she really such a great French Chef? Why is he always flying off the handle and flying to Vegas? What is his real motive for wanting her as a wife? When they decide to see a counselor the last session says it all as the author flashes back to the present and her latest novel’s rejection.
Pandy never really looks at the realities of life or her world. She seems to live in her own private cloud with no hidden dark ones. She never bothers to look deep inside herself and realize that who she is just might be enough instead of creating scenes, characters and events that model Monica’s life or that of someone she is not. When the book is rejected Henry, her agent and the only person who says it straight and honest to her, tells her to rethink her stance on Monica, write another book and this time maybe since she is divorced do the same for her character and more. But, will she listen or will she continue on her downward slide?
Truths come out and Pandy’s boathouse in Connecticut goes up in flames and a new plot evolves. What happens when she is supposed to receive a major award? What happens when she changes her own identity and pretends to be someone else? What happens when she realizes that Jonny is her worst nightmare and not the person to create a happy ending in her life?
Who really wants to kill off Monica? Who created the plot to get Pandy to thinking that she might do better without Monica in her life? An ending that will change it all and a harsh realization that might make Pandy take a deeper look into herself? So, is there going to be a fourth Monica book? Who really owns the rights? What about her book about Lady Wallis? Will she ever realize that Henry is her only true knight? Take the journey with Pandy, Henry, Jonny and Sondrabeth and a cast of characters that will keep you laughing, wondering, angry and definitely in suspense as Pandy tries to reinvent the wheel or herself and just might finally learn that revenge is not the answer, happily ever after does not mean having a man in your life and Killing Monica might well you decide if it is the right solution! Does every happy ending have to be the same? Killing Monica: Find out just what that means as author Candace Bushnell introduces her latest character who just might have a lot more spunk and antics in her. This ending will keep you and Pandy guessing! What’s next? Friendships come apart and others just might remain: Killing Monica: Would you?
Fran Lewis: Just reviews