Sex and Shopping

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

In her autobiography, Sex and Shopping: Confessions of a Nice Jewish Girl, famous novelist Judith Krantz takes readers on a humorous and poignant journey through her seventy years of life. She also shows how her novel characters were derived from her own experiences and acquaintances.

Judith Tarcher grew up in New York City in a well-to-do Jewish family during the Depression. Although her physical needs were well met, her emotional needs suffered. Her parents were both distant and unaffectionate with the children, which formed an inseparable bond between Judith and her siblings. Her mother was extremely demanding and critical of Judith during these formative years.

Upon graduating from college, Judith escaped her parents’ demands by moving to and working in Paris after World War II. There she experimented with life and love, learning many of life’s lessons, which later are recounted in her novels. Judith remained in Paris until her father cut off her money and insisted she return to New York.

Once back in New York, Judith married and had two sons. She worked for many years for several magazines in various capacities until she wrote Scruples, her first novel, in 1975. She followed this by nine additional novels, including Princess Daisy (1980), I’ll Take Manhattan (1986), and The Mistral’s Daughter (1982), which was made into a miniseries.

Except for her early years, she seems to have lived an enchanted life, circulating among many famous people of the past and present. Her autobiography is packed full of anecdotes about her encounters with these people. She has appreciated and very effectively used these experiences and acquaintances in writing her extremely popular novels.