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January 14, 2014

Summer at Tiffany



Summer at Tiffany by Majorie Hart
Memoir
2007 HarperCollins
Finished on 9/10/13
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)





Publisher’s Blurb:

New York City, 1945. Marjorie Jacobson and her best friend, Marty Garrett, arrive fresh from the Kappa house at the University of Iowa hoping to find summer positions as shopgirls. Turned away from the top department stores, they miraculously find jobs as pages at Tiffany & Co., becoming the first women to ever work on the sales floor, a diamond-filled day job replete with Tiffany-blue shirtwaist dresses from Bonwit Teller's—and the envy of all their friends.

Looking back on that magical time in her life, Marjorie takes us back to when she and Marty rubbed elbows with the rich and famous, pinched pennies to eat at the Automat, experienced nightlife at La Martinique, and danced away their weekends with dashing midshipmen. Between being dazzled by Judy Garland's honeymoon visit to Tiffany, celebrating VJ Day in Times Square, and mingling with Café society, she fell in love, learned unforgettable lessons, made important decisions that would change her future, and created the remarkable memories she now shares with all of us.

Infused with numerous historical details (including a New York Times article about a B-25 Army bomber crashing into the Empire State Building on July 28th!), this memoir turned out to be more substantial than I had anticipated. The chapters about WWII were moving, particularly Hart’s recollections about VJ Day and celebrating in Times Square with over two million people. It’s a quick and charming read, but not sentimental or sappy, and one which, I believe, will stay with me for a long time.

Author’s Note:

Summer at Tiffany is the story of a summer that I have never forgotten. Whenever I had a down moment in my life, the simple recollection of memories from the summer of 1945 was always sustaining. From the faint smell of the Hudson River from the top of a bus, to climbing the steps from a dark subway into the light, to the Tiffany show windows of diamonds spilling from velvet cases and the welcoming smile of the gentleman who clocked us in each day—these remembrances of my Summer at Tiffany continue always to embrace me, and bring a smile to my face.


Final Thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir! World War II is drawing to a close and the atmosphere in New York City is lively and exciting. Marjorie struggles to make ends meet, but she’s having the summer of her life, working in the glamorous Tiffany, meeting famous movie stars, and falling in love. Summer at Tiffany is a delightful read and I found myself lingering over the pages, not wanting to finish too quickly. This is one to share with your mothers and grandmothers. Highly recommend.

For Fun:


Amy
July 1996
(she was obsessed with Audrey Hepburn 
and Breakfast at Tiffany's that summer)

Personal Trivia Tidbits:

It wasn’t until I began reading Summer at Tiffany that I discovered that the author was the former chairman of the Fine Arts Department at the University of San Diego. I attended USD in 1980! I also learned that she lived in Del Mar (where I grew up!) and later moved to La Mesa, which is near the town of Santee, where Rod & I lived when we were first married. Small world!

14 comments:

  1. This does sound good! I will have to add it to my wish list.

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    1. Let me know what you think!

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  2. I'm so so so so glad you liked this one!! And wow re: small world. That's a lot of overlap between your experiences and the authors. This memoir was so charming and lovely and thoughtful. It's staying on my keeper shelves.

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    1. "...charming and lovely and thoughtful." Yes! That's precisely how I felt about the book. Spoiler below







      Were you as surprised as I was that she and Jim didn't get married? So much of the memoir was about their romance! I was a bit shocked, but I suppose I can appreciate her need to respect his privacy.

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  3. I have a feeling I'd like this one a lot too.

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    1. I think you would, too. Give it a try... maybe this summer! :)

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  4. I'm gonna put it on my list! Thanks, Leslie.

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    1. I think you might like it, Eric. You'll have to let me know.

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  5. Thanks! Does this book have any connection with Truman Capote's "Breakfast at Tiffany's"? I thought it did when I saw it in the store, but now I'm not so sure.

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    1. No, there's absolutely no connection to Capote's story. This one is so much better. I didn't care for Breakfast at Tiffany's, although I do like the movie and the song. ;)

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  6. I worked for a summer in Yellowstone Park and I've always wanted to write down the stories of that summer. It changed me.

    Interesting that you and the author have so many connections, Les.

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    1. You should! Make your stories a monthly segment to your blog. I'd love to read them and I'm sure others would agree!

      Yes, those connections were pretty surprising to me.

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  7. I love it when we can make those connections with books/authors! Sounds like a great memoir.

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    1. It really was an enjoyable memoir, Iliana. It wasn't one that taught me a lot about another culture (like Little Princes) or shared my feelings about grief (Dispatches From the Edge and Three Dog Night), but I thoroughly enjoyed the glimpse into life in NYC at the end of the war.

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