Ohhhh what a luscious book. That's right...I said luscious.
Marjorie Hart and her friend Marty are University of Iowa students in 1945, and they head off to New York City for some big-time excitement in the Big Apple. By a handy twist of fate, they end up with jobs as the first female pages at Tiffany and Co. This memoir chronicles their stay during that blistering summer of fun, frivolity, and self-discovery.
Ok, so admittedly, this book got a little go "golly gee whiz" for me at times. BUT, it was certainly charming in its way. Majorie was a down-to-earth Norwegian-Iowan girl in a brand new element. These were the days when one guarded one's reputation to the last and there was nothing more embarrassing than saying the wrong thing in front of a dreamy midshipman. Or, ya know, spilling thousands of dollars worth of pearls in the Tiffany employee elevator (true story).
This memoir definitely speaks to a different time, but I loved the nostalgia of it, and at times I felt like I got plunked down in the middle of an I Love Lucy episode. Don't worry, that's not a criticism. It's praise!
This one also took me by surprise by genuinely touching me on a deeper level. Through her experiences in NYC, Majorie has an opportunity to do something incredibly impressive academically and musically. I won't provide more details than that, but ultimately she decides that she can stay truer to herself by allowing that stellar opportunity to pass. I relate to this, as I decided to pass up a PhD at a couple universities considered the best in my academic field when I finished my Master's degree. I was burned out, feeling empty, and I wanted something different for my life. Namely, I wanted to teach rather than spending so much time doing research and publishing. I wanted more of a choice of where I live, rather than moving where the jobs are and leaving family. I've come back to that decision and agonized over it a few times over the years, but ultimately letting that opportunity pass was the right thing for me, too.
So yeah, an unexpected depth and thoughtfulness jumped out at me from this otherwise pretty, sparkling, luscious memoir. It was more than pretty dresses, jewelry, night life, and table settings.
Pub. Date: March 2010
Source: Bought used!