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“We’re smart, we’ve inherited classic good looks, and we know how to party. It’s a luxe life, but someone’s got to live it. S is back from boarding school. Her hair is longer, paler. Her blue eyes have that deep mysteriousness of kept secrets… If we aren’t careful, S is going to win over our teachers, wear that dress we couldn’t fit into, eat the last olive, spill Campari on our rugs, steal our brothers’ and our boyfriends’ hearts, and basically ruin our lives in a major way.
I’ll be watching closely. I’ll be watching all of us. It’s going to be a wild and wicked year. I can smell it.”
- you know you love me ~Gossip Girl
This is the world according to Gossip Girl, an unidentified fellow student at the girls private school Constance, where the elite young ladies written about in the book, attend school. She occasionally drops in to feed the minds of the young, conversational souls of the “chosen ones,” as they call themselves.
I chose the book Gossip Girl by the writer Cecily von Ziegesar because the picture on the cover caught my eye. The novel is American, and it’s set to New York City. We get to know what happens in the Upper East Side of New York City, by reading what the anonymous girl Gossip Girl tells us in the book. She has got the narrative voice of the book. We never get to know who she is. The book is about life in the part of the city, where the rich ones live. Gossip Girl herself, tells us in the preface of the book that all the teenagers there, her friends, all live in huge apartments with their own bedrooms and bathrooms and phone lines. They’ve got unlimited access to money and booze (an alcoholic drink) and whatever else they want, and their parents are rarely home. They call themselves “the chosen ones” because they have got everything anyone could possibly wish for and for and they take it all completely for granted. They indulge in alcohol, drugs, and sex. They’re smart, they’ve inherited classic good looks, they wear fantastic clothes and the know how to party. Everybody wants to be like them. Gossip Girl says: ”Our shit still stinks, but you can’t smell it because the bathroom is sprayed hourly by the maid with a refreshing scent made exclusively for us by French perfumers.”
As I’ve already said, the author of the book is Cecily von Ziegesar. She was like the ones we meet in the novel: rich girls living at the Upper East Side of New York City. She was an unusually astute observer among her glittering set, mapping out the invisible hierarchies and jealous undertows within her female friendships. She was too busy to party much herself: She’d wake up at 6 A.M. to commute by train from Connecticut—where her parents’ relationship was falling apart—to Grand Central, then catch a cab to the institution she considered her refuge on the Upper East Side, the elite private school Nightingale-Bamford. There she learned, at least vicariously, how to negotiate city life from that exceedingly privileged demographic: kids with money, a sense of entitlement, and all of Manhattan in which to exercise it.
Cecily von Ziegesar herself attended one of the smart private schools in Manhattan, New York, and many of the tales told in Gossip Girl have a ring of authenticity. I think that is because she has experienced it herself.
After leaving school, von Ziegesar went to Colby College, a small, liberal arts college in Maine. After she left college, she spent a year working for a radio station in Budapest. She then returned to the US and studied creative writing at the University of Arizona. She went to live in London for a short while and worked for a publishing company. Upon returning to the US she moved to New York and started working for a book packaging firm which specialized in coming up with ideas for fictional series. It was while she was working there that she came up with the idea for the Gossip Girl series.
She has written nine books in the series of Gossip Girl and her life, but this is the first book. She is probably going to write some more books about the real life of the “chosen ones” in New York City.
The title of the novel is pretty good, but misleading. When I first read the cover title I thought it was about a girl who made gossip all the time. But it wasn’t. The meaning of the book is that the narrator of the book is one of the group of rich popular girls dishing dirt on the other rich, popular girls that we can read about. The title tells us that there is a girl called Gossip Girl, living with the girls she is writing about.
The book starts with Gossip Girl introducing us to the life in New York City’s Upper East Side. She tells us what they’re doing there, and how the lives of the ”chosen ones” are like. After she has introduced this special way of living, she starts writing in third person, like an author would do. This was especially hard for me to discover at first.
Blair Waldorf’s mother was having a dinner party at her house. She had just been through a divorce with her husband, but now she had got a new boyfriend, Cyrus Rose. Blair thought he was disgusting. He thought he was so cool, but Blair thought he was a pervo. He had rings of sweat under his arms. While they were sitting by the table, Blair suddenly realized that she was ready to have sex with Nate. She followed him up to her room. Precisely when she closed her door she heard this well known voice. Her former best-friend Serena was back from boarding school after being kicked out. It was too late. Nate ran out of the door. He saw Serena. Better looking than ever before. Now he realized how much he had missed her. Ever since Serena had left for boarding school, Blair had had Nate all for herself. Now Serena was back, and Blair was once again no longer the only girl Nate had eyes for. The first half year when Serena was gone, Blair had really missed her. After a while she saw that Serena moving to boarding school was an advantage. Serena had always been the most prettiest, thinnest, most glamorous and popular girl at school. When she was gone, Blair took her place, and now that she was back, she didn’t want to be friends with her again. This is what the first two chapters of the novel are about.
There is more than just one main character in this story, because Gossip Girl follows all the popular chicks and boys. I’ll talk about to of them, Serena and Blair:
Blair Waldorf: Blair is a perfectionist and shows a compulsive personality. In the first part of the series she obsseses over having sex with her on again/off again boyfriend Nate. Blair idolizes Audrey Hepburn (an actress) to the point where she plays her life out like the way Audrey would. She is often turning her situation into a "screenplay" and acting like the lead role in the "movie" of her life. Although she is beautiful and rich Blair holds many insecurities and has a less then perfect life with a ditz for a mother, an obnoxious, tacky stepfather and a sick stepbrother who use to hit her. She is a gorgeous rich girl from upper New York City. Most of her friends also have a vast fortune. These include her former best friend, Serena and Chuck Bass. Out of Blair's friend's, the furthest is Chuck, who is described in the book as a sex addict that has gone as far as molesting Jenny Humphrey in a bathroom at the Kiss On the Lips party thrown by Blair.
Blair Waldorf's mother is Eleanor Waldorf. They live in New York's Fifth avenue.
When Blair's stunning best friend Serena van der Woodsen returns from boarding school, she becomes jealous because Blair will not be the talk of the school anymore. Blair Waldorf attends Constance Billard School for Girls. She is described in the series as a 1.65 tall brunette with long dark brown hair and pale skin. She loves to shop and only wears the latest designer shoes, purses, and clothes.
Serena van der Woodsen: Serena is the most beautiful, rich and wild character in the series. She becomes bored easily and is always looking out for a good time. Her favorite thing to do is having fun. Every single guy in the city is always trying to seduce her even though she can only keep a boyfriend for a few days. Her longest relationship was with Blair's step-brother Aaron. Because of her free sprit, she and Blair often end up in a fight. Serena enjoys modeling and acting and is currently doing them both in the book. Serena is also a rich New York City girl who attends the Constance Billard high school. She is described as tall and thin with a perfect body, glowing even skin, a stony blue gaze and a long sheet of silky blonde hair. She and Blair Waldorf used to be best friends before she was sent to Connecticut boarding school. Serena and Blair lost contact while Serena was in boarding school. Serena was expelled from her boarding school, and she had to return to Constance Billard in New York. It was rumored among her former friends that van she had a wild life while in boarding school, getting a drug habit, becoming a sex addict and getting pregnant, among other things. It was generally suspected by her classmates when van der Woodsen returned to New York that her partying and suspected habits and a baby born in France led to van der Woodsen's school expelling and consequencial return to New York.
When she returned to New York, things were tense between her and Blair. Serena van der Woodsen had an admirer, Dan. Dan is a poet who likes to write romantic poems to Serena. Serena has always had a thing for Nate, Blair's boyfriend, which often causes trouble between the two girls. Nate fell in love with Serena after their tenth year when they slept together, sharing their first time, but he settled on Blair when she left for boarding school.
The turning point of the novel is hard to tell, because it was not a very “thrilling” book. It was a book about love, drugs, champagne and so on. The only excitement was at the end of the story when we hoped to get to know who was getting together with who, but we didn’t get to know that. I think it was a weird end. There were no solutions of the problems. Maybe that’s not so weird at all, because this book is a part of a series, and then it has to be many unsolved problems for the next book. However, I want to read the further books to get solutions of the problems.
Where I can say there was a little turning point, was when there was a party called “Kiss on the lips” thrown by Blair. At that time Serena gives Blair some of her money back that she had lost, and that indicates that they might be friends again, even though they are now enemies. We get presages of what is going to happen in the next books.
The novel is about the popular and rich girls’ and boys’ life in New York City. Drinking only the best champagne, having sex, partying, girlfriends/boyfriends, school, and envy are the main themes of the novel. Blair envies Serena because she is prettier, always "perfect", and Blair's boyfriend Nate has always liked Serena better. The message the author is trying to get across to the reader is envying other people is never going to get you what you want, you have to have determination and take a step towards getting what you want. The authors message about gossip is that it is not always true, and it can hurt and embarrass people. Saying it shortly: the novel is about scandalous young rich girl’s and boy’s lives.