Friday, February 18, 2011

Book Review: Summer at Tiffany

Summer at Tiffany was another book that I grabbed in haste at the library as a possible read for our Florida trip.  Although it didn't make the cut to come along, it was a welcome respite after my trudge through The God Delusion.

The book is a memoir of the summer of 1945 by Marjorie Hart.  Written when Mrs. Hart was in her 80s (this gives me hope that it's never too late to write your first book!), Summer at Tiffany chronicles her trip to New York City from Iowa with her sorority sister Marty to get summer jobs.  After being swiftly rejected at Lord and Taylor, the girls on a whim walk into Tiffany and ask if there are positions available.  They are initially rebuffed, but through a series of fortunate events get hired as Tiffany's first female pages.

This book contains detailed descriptions of Tiffany and the colorful employees the girls encounter during their summer.  Particularly fun and interesting are the photos contained in a section in the middle of the book showing sketches of Tiffany's interior during that time period, photos of the girls, and a copy of Marjorie's W-2 showing that she made $220 that summer.  Marjorie and Marty are particularly starstruck when a newly married Judy Garland comes into the store, and are equally stunned to see Marlene Dietrich in the store fresh off a USO tour.

While there's plenty of girlish fun to be had, this book also takes place during World War II.  The girls end up dating two service men that they meet at a midshipmen's dance at Barnard College.  They hear the crash when a B-52 lost in the fog crashes into the Empire State Building (I had never heard of that before!).  She also writes about her reaction to the atomic bombs being dropped on Japan, the death of her cousin in the war, and her experience being in Times Square on VJ Day.

One of my favorite things about this book is how the author recaptured the voice of her youth in her writing.  I loved her saying "Holy Toledo!" and when anyone asked would she like to do something exciting she would respond enthusiastically with "Would I!"  It really helped me get into the 1940s vogue while reading.

While this isn't the most challenging book in the world, I enjoyed it for what it was---a great recollection of an amazing summer.  And who doesn't want to have one of those?

1 comment:

Julie said...

Visiting from 52 Books in 52 Weeks. Enjoyed your review and the others you have done as well...put a few of your reads on my wish list. :)