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Park Avenue Summer
by Renée Rosen

Published: 2019-04-30
Paperback : 368 pages
8 members reading this now
9 clubs reading this now
3 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 1 of 1 members
“‘Mad Men meets The Devil Wears Prada,’ which might as well be saying ‘put me in your cart immediately.’”—PopSugar
 
It’s 1965 and Cosmopolitan magazine’s brazen new editor in chief—Helen Gurley Brown—shocks America and saves a dying publication by daring to talk ...
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Introduction

“‘Mad Men meets The Devil Wears Prada,’ which might as well be saying ‘put me in your cart immediately.’”—PopSugar
 
It’s 1965 and Cosmopolitan magazine’s brazen new editor in chief—Helen Gurley Brown—shocks America and saves a dying publication 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 a job working for the first female editor in chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, Helen Gurley Brown.

For Alice, who wants to be a photographer, it seems like the perfect foot in the door, but nothing could have prepared her for the world she enters. Editors and writers resign on the spot, refusing to work for the woman who wrote the scandalous bestseller Sex and the Single Girl, and confidential memos, article ideas, and cover designs keep finding their way into the wrong hands. When someone tries to pull Alice into a scheme to sabotage her boss, she is more determined than ever to help Helen succeed.
 
While pressure mounts at the magazine, Alice struggles not to lose sight of her own dreams as she’s swept up into a glamorous world of five-star dinners, lavish parties, and men who are certainly no good. Because if Helen Gurley Brown has taught her anything, it’s that a woman can demand to have it all.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.

Excerpt

Prologue
2012
The breeze blows through the open windows, curtains swaying slow and lazy. It’s August and already balmy first thing in the morning. As I sit at the kitchen table, a band of sunlight streaks across the newspaper and warms the backs of my hands even as my coffee turns cold. Suddenly it’s too much to cross the room for a fresh cup because all I can do is stare at the headline while something catches again and again inside my chest. There it is in the New York Times: Helen Gurley Brown, Cosmopolitan’s Iconic Editor, Dies at 90. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. Do you think Helen Gurley Brown was a feminist? How do you think her brand of feminism compared to Betty Friedan’s or Gloria Steinem’s?

2. What did you think of Helen’s advice to Alice regarding her Don Juan? Do you agree that Don Juans are unavoidable and that everyone woman has that one man she can’t say “no” to?

3. Speaking of Alice’s Don Juan, did you understand why she got involved with Erik? Were you sympathetic to her situation or did you want her to break it off with him sooner? Or not enter into it at all?

4. Under Helen Gurley Brown’s leadership, Cosmopolitan became a groundbreaking magazine for women and inspired many copycat publications. Were you a Cosmo reader? And if so, what do you remember most about that magazine? What other magazines did you read growing up?

5. Can you define today’s Cosmo Girl? How has she evolved through the years?

6. When it comes to iconic female magazine editors, the two biggest names are probably Helen Gurley Brown and Anna Wintour. How do you think these two women are similar? How are they different?

7. In the book, Alice looks to both Helen Gurley Brown and Elaine Sloan as role models and mentors. How important do you think it was for a young woman back then to have that kind of guidance? And do you think it’s still important in today’s world?

8. In today’s digital age we’ve seen the decline of physical magazines. How do you feel about publications moving from newsstands to the Internet? Do you miss reading them physically?

9. If you’d been put in Ali’s position, would youhave told Helen that members of the Hearst staff were sabotaging her? How do you think you would have handled that sort of predicament?

10. What prominent themes can you find in Park Avenue Summer? Do you think any of them are still relevant in today’s world?

11. Alice, like so many people throughout history, moved to New York City to pursue her dream. Certainly, there are easier and more affordable places to live and yet Manhattan’s draw proves irresistible to some. Why do you think that is?

12. How did you feel about the ending of the book and were you surprised to learn where Ali ended up?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Member Reviews

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by Christie Lambert (see profile) 05/01/20

 
  "Park Avenue Summer"by Silversolara (see profile) 04/30/19

Living in New York City had always been a dream of Alice’s mother, and Alice decided that is where she wanted to be so she could fulfill her mother’s dream.

When Alice arrives, she fi

... (read more)

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