The Best of Everything [NOOK Book]

Overview

When Rona Jaffe’s superb page-turner was first published in 1958, it changed contemporary fiction forever. Some readers were shocked, but millions more were electrified when they saw themselves reflected in its story of five young employees of a New York publishing company. Almost sixty years later, The Best of Everything remains touchingly—and sometimes hilariously—true to the personal and professional struggles women face in the city. There’s Ivy League Caroline, who dreams of graduating from the typing ...
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The Best of Everything

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Overview

When Rona Jaffe’s superb page-turner was first published in 1958, it changed contemporary fiction forever. Some readers were shocked, but millions more were electrified when they saw themselves reflected in its story of five young employees of a New York publishing company. Almost sixty years later, The Best of Everything remains touchingly—and sometimes hilariously—true to the personal and professional struggles women face in the city. There’s Ivy League Caroline, who dreams of graduating from the typing pool to an editor’s office; naïve country girl April, who within months of hitting town reinvents herself as the woman every man wants on his arm; and Gregg, the free-spirited actress with a secret yearning for domesticity. Jaffe follows their adventures with intelligence, sympathy, and prose as sharp as a paper cut.



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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101127155
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 5/31/2005
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 76,535
  • File size: 501 KB

Meet the Author

Rona Jaffe is the New York Times bestselling author of the
internationally acclaimed novels The Road Taken, The Cousins, Family Secrets, and Five Women, as well as the classic bestsellers Class Reunion and The Best of Everything. She is the founder of the Rona Jaffe Foundation, which presents a national literary award to promising female writers.
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Read an Excerpt

The Best of Everything


By Rona Jaffe

Penguin

ISBN: 0-143-03529-0


Chapter One

You see them every morning at a quarter to nine, rushing out of the maw of the subway tunnel, filing out of Grand Central Station, crossing Lexington and Park and Madison and Fifth avenues, the hundreds and hundreds of girls. Some of them look eager and some look resentful, and some of them look as if they haven't left their beds yet. Some of them have been up since six-thirty in the morning, the ones who commute from Brooklyn and Yonkers and New Jersey and Staten Island and Connecticut. They carry the morning newspapers and overstuffed handbags. Some of them are wearing pink or chartreuse fuzzy overcoats and five-year-old ankle-strap shoes and have their hair up in pin curls underneath kerchiefs. Some of them are wearing chic black suits (maybe last year's but who can tell?) and kid gloves and are carrying their lunches in violet-sprigged Bonwit Teller paper bags. None of them has enough money.

At eight-forty-five Wednesday morning, January second, 1952, a twenty-year-old girl named Caroline Bender came out of Grand Central Station and headed west and uptown toward Radio City. She was a more than pretty girl with dark hair and light eyes and a face with a good deal of softness and intelligence in it. She was wearing a grey tweed suit, which had been her dress-up suit in college, and was carrying a small attaché case, which contained a wallet with five dollars in it, a book of commuter tickets, some make-up, and three magazines entitled respectively The Cross, My Secret Life, and America's Woman.

It was one of those cold, foggy midwinter mornings in New York, the kind that makes you think of lung ailments. Caroline hurried along with the rest of the crowd, hardly noticing anybody, nervous and frightened and slightly elated. It was her first day at the first job she had ever had in her life, and she did not consider herself basically a career girl. Last year, looking ahead to this damp day in January, she had thought she would be married. Since she'd had a fiancé it seemed logical. Now she had no fiancé and no one she was interested in, and the new job was more than an economic convenience, it was an emotional necessity. She wasn't sure that being a secretary in a typing pool could possibly be engrossing, but she was going to have to make it so. Otherwise she would have time to think, and would remember too much ...

Fabian Publications occupied five air-conditioned floors in one of the modern buildings in Radio City. On this first week of the new year the annual hiring has just been completed. Three secretaries had left the typing pool, one to get married, the other two for better jobs. Three new secretaries had been hired to start on Wednesday, the second of January. One of these was Caroline Bender.

It was five minutes before nine when Caroline reached the floor where the typing pool was located, and she was surprised to find the large room dark and all the typewriters still neatly covered. She had been afraid she would be late, and now she was the first one. She found the switch that turned on the ceiling lights and prowled around waiting for someone to appear. There was a large centre room with rows of desks for the secretaries, and on the edges of this room were the closed doors of the offices for editors. Tinsel Christmas bells and red bows were still taped to some of the doors, looking bedraggled and sad now that the season was over.

She looked into several of the offices and saw that they seemed to progress in order of the occupant's importance from small tile-floored cubicles with two desks, to larger ones with one desk, and finally to two large offices with carpet on the floor, leather lounging chairs, and wood-panelled walls. From the books and magazines lying around in them she could see that one of these belonged to the editor of Derby Books and the other to the editor of The Cross. She heard voices then in the main room, and the sound of laughter and greetings. Stricken with a sudden attack of shyness, she came slowly out of the editor's office.

It was nine o'clock and the room was suddenly filling up with girls, none of whom noticed her presence at all. The teletype operator was combing her hair out of its pin curls, one of the typists was going from desk to desk collecting empty glass jars and taking coffee orders. Covers were being pulled off typewriters, coats hung up, newspapers spread out on desks to be read, and as each new arrival came in she was greeted with delighted cries. It sounded as though they had all been separated from one another for four weeks, not four days. Caroline didn't know which desk was hers and she was afraid to sit at someone else's, so she kept standing, watching, and feeling for the first time that morning that she was an outsider at a private club.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 18 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2012

    The Original SEX IN THE CITY !

    Rona Jaffe lets us know what life was like for young women in the 1950s. Her book enlightens us about the struggles of our mothers and grandmothers despite their college education. Many ways not much has changed, in others we are thankful. This book is the original SEX IN THE CITY. I am an avid reader and this book is outstanding on so many levels. Jkoury

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  • Posted April 3, 2010

    Mad Men for Women

    This book captures the real life decisions and emotions that most career women face everyday. It s so relatable to the working woman that it's hard to believe that it was written more than half a century ago. This book clearly tells the struggle women have in finding a work-love balance. It's an emotional roller coaster reading about the lives of these five women: Caroline, the ambitious career woman in love with her ex-fiance, April, a malleable woman who bends with the whims of her career or love interest, Gregg, who loves obsessively, Barbara, struggling as a single mom to find both success in her career and her love life, and finally Mary Agnes, the woman whose job is a placeholder while she waits to get married.

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  • Posted May 18, 2009

    Great book for any woman!

    This was a great book for any woman but definitely for a working woman. As a working woman, I was really able to identify with this but feel any woman would enjoy this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2006

    Different Girls, Earlier Decade, Same City

    I absolutely LOVED this book! It takes place in the 1950's in New York City and is about 5 girls who are making decisions concerning their careers, love, and futures. They deal with sexual harrasment in the workplace, extramarital affairs, first loves, and of course sex. I definitely would recommend it!

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