Karen Valby
November 19, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

Citizen Girl

Current Status
In Season
Nicola Kraus, Emma McLaughlin

We gave it a D

Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus’ 2002 debut, The Nanny Diaries, armed with a nifty cover and tempting peek-inside-the-keyhole premise, found its way into countless women’s purses. Regardless of what you thought of their first effort, their follow-up, Citizen Girl, is a royal bore. (The writers’ previous press, Random House, apparently agrees. An early manuscript — reportedly deemed unpublishable —was kicked to the midtown Manhattan curb.) The novel’s heroine, Girl, is young and ambitious and ready to put her public policy degree to work. Alas, the new economy doesn’t need her. Girl struggles to pay back her student loans, suffers through the loutish behavior of her boss (named Guy, ha!), and romps on her futon with a could-be Mr. Right. The passing years haven’t done much to sharpen the writers’ prose style. Typical sentences: ”I am not. Leaving here. Without a job.” or ”What. The f—. Was that?” The girls will probably coast on their earlier success and the continued fine work of their jacket designers, but savvy women. Should look. Elsewhere. For their fun.

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