18th book of 2005 finished


Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk.

This is the story of a young Jewish girl, coming of age in New York City in the 1930's. Her parents are immigrants, and have worked their way up from the Bronx to Central Park West. Marjorie is fresh from her triumph (at 17) at a Columbia College dance, and has visions of becoming an actress.

She meets Noel Airman--a semi-successful songwriter and director at a New York camp. He's exactly what she's dreamed of: older, man-about-town, handsome, different. He's unconcerned with propriety, has left behind the "primitive superstition of religion" and sleeps around.

The on-again, off-again relationship goes on for years, leading finally to Marjorie losing her virginity to Noel, and then, some months later, losing him. She cannot see that he is all flash, no substance. His spiels, which she thinks are so intelligent, are simply talk. Wouk created the perfect embodiment of a bipolar minor celebrity-type in Noel Airman. He is everything that I imagine many Hollywood types to be--completely contemptuous of "ordinary people."

Wouk also creates many fine secondary characters--Wally Wronken, the young man who carried a torch for Marjorie for years; Samson-Aaron, Marjorie's uncle, the heart of the family, though he plays the fool; Marsha, Marjorie's friend and sometimes enemy, an amoral, emotionally needy girl.

Interesting to read for the distinction drawn between the way the "famous" or "creative" or "intelligent" types see themselves and the way they see the unwashed masses. I suspect it is truer than we would like to believe, even today......



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This page contains a single entry by MamaT published on June 8, 2005 7:47 PM.

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