Book Review: Park Avenue Summer by Renee Rosen
The lowdown from Goodreads
Publication Date April 30th, 2019
Mad Men meets The Devil Wears Prada as Renée Rosen draws readers into the glamour of 1965 New York City and Cosmopolitan Magazine, where a brazen new Editor-in-Chief–Helen Gurley Brown–shocks America by daring to talk to women about all things off limits…
New York City is filled with opportunities for single girls like Alice Weiss who leaves her small Midwestern town to chase her big city dreams and unexpectedly lands the job of a lifetime working for Helen Gurley Brown, the first female Editor-in-Chief of a then failing Cosmopolitan Magazine.
Nothing could have prepared Alice for the world she enters as editors and writers resign on the spot, refusing to work for the woman who wrote the scandalous bestseller, Sex and the Single Girl. While confidential memos, article ideas, and cover designs keep finding their way into the wrong hands, someone tries to pull Alice into this scheme to sabotage her boss. But Alice remains loyal and becomes all the more determined to help Helen succeed. As pressure mounts at the magazine and Alice struggles to make her way in New York, she quickly learns that in Helen Gurley Brown’s world, a woman can demand to have it all.
Book Review: Park Avenue Summer by Renee Rosen
Going into the story, I think Helen Gurley Brown, the famous editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, is the big star of the novel. Honestly, I assumed (incorrectly) Allison is just a way to share Brown’s story. I’m so wrong & I’m so happy about it! Take it easy, don’t’ count on me to say that too often!
Hot Child in the City
I love Allison. She displays such vigor moving to the big city & striking out on her own. As we travel throughout the summer of 1965 with her, we see her grow. Truly, her growth is genuine, believable & inspiring.
Throughout Park Avenue Summer, Allison is able to discover more about herself, better understand her feelings about love & family. Ultimately, she figures out what is meaningful to her. In many ways, Helen helps guide Allison from a distance. Through working for Helen Gurley Brown, Allison has further confidence to strike out, dow hat makes her happy & make no apologies for it. As Helen might say, We can have it all, but we have to go out there and get it.
Helen Gurley Brown
Helen is something else. On one hand, she’s a feminist icon. Taking on the task of reinventing, Cosmopolitan, she fights for what she wants. Bravely, she’s talking sex, birth control & empowering women. Too bad these old men who control the publishing world do not want to jump on board.
Within Park Avenue Summer, there’s a really great juxtaposition between Betty Friedan and Helen Gurley Brown. I love that scene. In different ways, I feel they are both feminist icons. That’s the thing about Helen. On one hand, she is encouraging women to explore their sexuality, to live & enjoy life. On the other hand, she is printing articles focused on pleasing a getting a man. It seems Helen is stuck in the mindset of the ’40s & ’50s but open to exploring what else is out there for women. Her ideas are really interesting & perfect for book club discussions.
I am Really Into This book! Park Avenue Summer is a fantastic historical fiction read. You know what, I needed a historical fiction book that wasn’t too heavy! Rosen’s writing will stay with me. The story is emotional, memorable & touching. Renee Rosen transports you directly to New York City during the summer if 1965.
Read Park Avenue Summer if you’re looking for a lovely story about female empowerment & you want to escape for a bit to 1965 NYC. If you’re like me, you’ll enjoy the celebrity name drops like Hugh Hefner, Nora Ephron & more.
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Renee Rosen is the bestselling author of historical fiction. Her novels include Windy City Blues, White Collar Girl, What the Lady Wants and Dollface as well as the young adult novel, Every Crooked Pot. Her most recent novel is Park Avenue Summer (April 30, 2019 from Penguin Random House/Berkley).
Renee is a native of Akron, Ohio and a graduate of The American University in Washington DC. She now lives in Chicago where she is at work on a new novel, The Social Graces, a story about Mrs. Astor and Mrs. Vanderbilt vying for control of New York society during the Gilded Age. (Coming in 2020 from Penguin Random House/Berkley).
She frequently visits with book clubs (either in person or via Skype/FaceTime) and is available for speaking engagements. For more information, feel free to contact her using the contact form.
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