If you like the TV show Mad Men, you will love the book The Receptionist: An Education At The New Yorker by Jane Groth (June 2012, Algonquin Books). Keep reading after the Mad Men era inspired photos of myself with Jane Groth’s upcoming memoir for more information about The Receptionist: An Education At The New Yorker.
I thought about the Mad Men receptionist character Joan (played by Christina Hendricks on the show) immediately when I heard about Jane Groth’s memoir. So I thought I would dress up in my “Joan takes the baby to the office look” and take a few pictures with the book.
What should I read?
About The Receptionist: An Education At the New Yorker by Jane Groth:
Thanks to a successful interview with a painfully shy E. B. White, a beautiful nineteen-year-old hazel-eyed Midwesterner landed a job as receptionist at The New Yorker. There she stayed for two decades, becoming the general office factotum—watching and registering the comings and goings, marriages and divorces, scandalous affairs, failures, triumphs, and tragedies of the eccentric inhabitants of the eighteenth floor. In addition to taking their messages, Groth watered their plants, walked their dogs, boarded their cats, and sat their children (and houses) when they traveled. And although she dreamed of becoming a writer herself, she never advanced at the magazine.
This memoir of a particular time and place is as much about why that was so as it is about Groth’s fascinating relationships with poet John Berryman (who proposed marriage), essayist Joseph Mitchell (who took her to lunch every Friday), and playwright Muriel Spark (who invited her to Christmas dinner in Tuscany), as well as E. J. Kahn, Calvin Trillin, Renata Adler, Peter Devries, Charles Addams, and many other New Yorker contributors and bohemian denizens of Greenwich Village in its heyday.
During those single-in-the-city years, Groth tried on many identities—Nice Girl, Sex Pot, Dumb Blonde, World Traveler, Doctoral Candidate—but eventually she would have to leave The New Yorker to find her true self. (Summary provided by Algonquin Books.)
Click here to pre-order The Receptionist.
If you are a publisher with a forthcoming book that viewers of Mad Men may enjoy let me know by emailing me at wellreadwife [at] gmail [dot] com.
In The Photos:
The dress I’m wearing in the above photos is from ModCloth. The bracelet is by Judith Ripka. The earrings are from House of Tux. The purse in the last picture is from ModCloth. The shoesin the last picture are by Betsey Johnson.
This is part one of a nine part Mad Men inspired series. Click the following links for the other posts in the series:
Part One: Joan Harris reads The Receptionist: An Education At The New Yorker by Jane Groth
Part Two: Betty Draper Francis reads Jack 1939: A Novel by Francine Mathews
Part Three: Peggy Olson reads Sex and The Single Girl by Helen Gurley Brown
Part Four: Trudie Campbell reads Jackie After O: One Remarkable Year When Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Defied Expectations and Rediscovered Her Dreams by Tina Cassidy.
Part Five: Mad Men inspired 8×10 print by Flapperdoodle
Part Six: Megan Draper reads Dear Enemies: A Dialogue on French and English Canada by Gwethalyn Graham and Solange Chaput Rolland
Coming Soon: The Unofficial Mad Men Cook Book by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin, Mad Men Unbuttoned by Natasha Vargas-Cooper, and Jane Sterling reads The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based On The Tibetan Book Of The Dead by Timothy Leary. As Jane Sterling is the grand finale of this series, that post will be interesting.
FTC Disclosure: Please assume that I received any book reviewed or mentioned on the site for free from the publisher. Also, if you purchase books by clicking the Amazon links throughout the site, I get a small commission.