The Receptionist

The Receptionist

An Education at The New Yorker

eBook - 2013
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"In 1957, when a young Midwestern woman landed a job at The New Yorker, she didn't expect to stay long at the reception desk. But stay she did, and for twenty-one years she had the best seat in the house. In addition to taking messages, she ran interference for jealous wives checking on adulterous husbands, drank with famous writers at famous watering holes throughout bohemian Greenwich Village, and was seduced, two-timed, and proposed to by a few of the magazine's eccentric luminaries. This memoir of a particular time and place is an enchanting tale of a woman in search of herself."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Chapel Hill, North Carolina :, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill,, 2013
ISBN: 9781616203078
Characteristics: 1 online resource (320 pages)
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Jan 04, 2014

I really wanted to love this book, but only liked it. A young woman from the midwest heads to NYC and lands a job as a receptionist on the 18th floor of The New Yorker. Great start to a story. She is educated and continues her education as she works for the next 18 years in this position. At first, the book seemed esoteric to me but the author was a newly degreed English major at the time and continued to study literature so I'm sure that she could not help herself to include so many quotations and make literary analogies. The parts of the book that I found the most entertaining and interesting are when Groth writes about those who worked at The New Yorker. Famous editors, illustrators, authors and groupies are discussed and that is what I was hoping to discover in the book. Groth, of course, writes about her personal life and since this was the late fifties and through the sixties and seventies when she was young and single there is a lot to mention. Quite frankly, she sounds a bit stuck up and confesses near the end of the book that she did try to dismiss a lot of her midwestern upbringing when she hit NYC. However, she makes up for it a bit in writing about her parents and their lives.

Nov 02, 2013

A look back at filling the reception position at the New Yorker during the 60s and 70s. Lots of well-known names, lots of names who have disappeared from public recognition. It was a different era from the current one, that's for sure, but it reminds me of my first office job(s), and I enjoyed it.

Jane60201 Mar 09, 2013

I got this from the "Most Wanted" shelf but I can't imagine why it was there. Really not that great. I agree with others who give it 2-1/2 stars.

Jan 01, 2013

I must admit I didn't give this book a change....I don't know what I was expecting...perhaps "dirt, gossip" going on at the magazine. Maybe I will get it out again and start over and see if I was missing something on the first start!!!!

DesPlainesReaders Oct 22, 2012

Janet Groth was a receptionist at The New Yorker for over 20 years before leaving for academia. If you're looking for insight or gossip on New Yorker fiction writers like J.D. Salinger, you won't find it here. (The exception--a chapter on Muriel Spark, who like many of the writers was fond of Groth.) Groth instead expounds on restaurants, her measurements and Ritz crackers, among other tedium. If you need a New Yorker fix, instead check out Life Stories: Profiles from the New Yorker, which includes an amazing piece by Henry Louis Gates about Anatole Broyard, the New York Times book critic who "passed" as white. LauraADPPL/WeAreSpartacus

nycpubliclibrary Aug 30, 2012

The negative responses must be from young women not aware of the trials and tribulations of a single woman in the1960s!

And what is more astonishing is the reviews on Aug 17 and 19, 2012 apparently did not realize this book is a BIOGRAPHY!! The definition is 'an account of a person's life.'

jessicaleebates Aug 19, 2012

This book is so bad that I didn't even finish reading it. I suffered through half of it before completely giving up and recognizing that a shameless name-dropping, narcissistic author wasn't worth my time. The book is not ACTUALLY about her time working at The New Yorker, but actually about Janet Groth's boring life. Not worth your time.

jeanner222 Aug 17, 2012

In a word: disappointing.

Ms. Groth accepted a receptionist position at the famed magazine in 1957. On the 18th floor, this young and attractive 19-year-old had access to the mag’s famed writers.

But does she provide the reader with any good dirt on these writers? Nope.

And, hey, why else would anyone be reading this? Surely, she does not think that we’re interested in her life, does she?

Oh this could have been so good. Alas!

A total dud.

nycpubliclibrary Jul 18, 2012

Beautifully written. A memoir peering into the life of a young Midwesterner to what must have been a dream to hit NYC and work at the New Yorker.
A 1960s look into the life of a single girl's trials and tribulations.
I highly recommend this book.


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