Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sex and Shopping: Confessions of a Nice Jewish Girl

Sex and Shopping: Confessions of a Nice Jewish GirlShe used to detest being labeled a "sex-and-shopping novelist," but now Judith Krantz accepts that it "will unquestionably be the first line in my obituary," so she's preempted the pundits by using it as the title of her breezy, earthy memoir. "On balance," Krantz concludes, "sex and shopping are both excellent things"--and she's had plenty of both. In her opening chapter, on the night train to Paris in 1949, about-to-be-21-year-old Judy Tarcher realizes, "Now that I was old enough to vote, I was old enough to lose my virginity." Thirty-three years later, when her husband wants to reach her in a hurry, he knows her habits well enough to find her in Beverly Hills, "dallying at the Saint Laurent boutique." In between, Krantz offers a frank account of her affluent childhood in New York City; college years at Wellesley; premarital affairs that led to a 1953 abortion (about which she is matter-of-fact and guilt-free); marriage to television executive Steve Krantz; and, of course, the string of bestsellers that began with Scruples, published when she was 50. Although Krantz settles a few scores (mostly with carping critics) in her blunt narrative, by and large it describes with infectious gusto a glamorous life enjoyed to the hilt. --Wendy Smith

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