Shopgirl by Steve Martin

Lonely beauty Mirabelle spends her days on the glove counter of Neiman Marcus and spends her nights alone in her apartment with her cats. She captures the attentions of a middle-aged millionaire Ray Porter and the rather queer slacker Jeremy.

Shy as she was, like a wallflower, she attempts a relationship with Ray who is almost twice her age and the romantic journey takes her off her comfort zones as they both struggle to place their footing with each other.

The short novella's melancholic tone moved me, its subtle overtures quite tender, pushing on the psyche which I believe is what Steve Martin aims for. I look at it as a gradual romance. It touches more the silences, the pauses between the grinding chatter of our minds. Martin isn't afraid to dwell on these still and in-between moments and stretch it beyond the normal length of time to ponder. It exhausts possibilities of a tentative fragile threshold, that short pause before a person starts to speak, before a decision is made.

It displays how people subtly change in varying degrees while seemed still remaining the same. In portraying the everyday things happening to a few everyday people, we almost get to glimpse of a piece of ourselves, a part of us reflected in them, and recognize some deep seated longings and emotions crossing their expressions and blank faces.


Lonely, depressed, Vermont transplant Mirabelle Buttersfield, who sells expensive evening gloves nobody ever buys at Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills and spends her evenings watching television with her two cats. She attempts to forge a relationship with middle-aged, womanizing, Seattle millionaire Ray Porter while being pursued by socially inept and unambitious slacker Jeremy.

Filled with the kind of witty, discerning observations that have brought Steve Martin incredible critical success, this story of modern day love and romance is a work of disarming tenderness.

Title: Shopgirl
Author: Steve Martin
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Humor
Published: 2000
Publisher: Hyperion
Rating: ♨♨♨♨ - (4 cups. Slow paced and moving, not for anyone looking for plots since it is full of musings and quiet loneliness. Sweet and bitter at the same time but still filled with tenderness.)