Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Marjorie Morningstar, by Herman Wouk

Read, reviewed and given away in November, 2007

I had read the Reader's Digest Condensed version of Marjorie Morningstar when I was young, a teenager I think, and parts of it had stayed with me all these years. When I found a copy at the library book sale, of course I took it.

I was surprised at how much of the story I had forgotten, and I thoroughly enjoyed re-reading it. It is a coming-of-age tale of a beautiful young Jewish woman living in New York in the 1930s. She longs to become an actress, having already chosen her screen name. Her career path is uncertain, disappointing, and frustrating. Her love life is not much better, as she drifts from boyfriend to boyfriend, finally falling passionately in love with a tall, thin blond writer, Noel Airman. In their case, the path of true love is certainly a rough and rocky one, complicated by another writer's crush on Marjorie, and her involvement with a man who rescues Jews from Nazi Germany, as well as Noel's various and sundry affairs.

I thought the ending was surprisingly and disappointingly calm and placid, compared to the exciting and tumultuous direction her early life seemed to be taking her.

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