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The Best of Friends: Martha and Me

The Best of Friends: Martha and Me

2.9 29
by Mariana Pasternak

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Set in a world of luxury and power, this is the story of two remarkable women and a friendship that changed both their lives forever.

For more than two decades, Mariana Pasternak and Martha Stewart were nearly inseparable. They first met over a garden gate in Westport, Connecticut, two suburban wives wedded to successful men but with grand aspirations of their own.


Set in a world of luxury and power, this is the story of two remarkable women and a friendship that changed both their lives forever.

For more than two decades, Mariana Pasternak and Martha Stewart were nearly inseparable. They first met over a garden gate in Westport, Connecticut, two suburban wives wedded to successful men but with grand aspirations of their own. Their bond only deepened after their marriages ended in divorce. Struggling as a single mother, but drawn into a seductive world of privilege and adventure, Pasternak watched with admiration as her friend built an empire that would make her one of the richest women in America.

A European emigre with sophisticated tastes, Pasternak helped to smooth Stewart's rough edges, while Stewart drew Pasternak into a rarefied world, where together they navigated the sometimes hilarious and often difficult challenges of being single. The depth of their friendship not only benefited them both but also influenced how they defined themselves, through good times and bad. Friendship between women is never simple and this one was no exception.

With Stewart's newfound success and Pasternak's zest for adventure, the two women's friendship was based on their mutual quest for wonder and discovery. They rode horses through the desert dunes of Egypt, hiked the winding Inca Trail to the mysterious Machu Picchu, paddled at night in dugout canoes through the Amazonian jungle. They toasted the good life with thin-stemmed champagne glasses and sipped "jade dew" green tea in Martha's Turkey Hill kitchen. This was no ordinary life.

As time passed, money, men, and the arrogance of wealth frayed the bonds they had built so carefully over more than twenty years. The final break came when Pasternak was called as a witness in the high-profile trial that brought about Stewart's conviction and prison sentence. Pasternak's deeply personal memoir tells the story of their friendship with honesty and candor, reflecting on the power of such intense relationships to change our lives, and the devastating aftermath when those relationships end.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Mariana Pasternak grew up in Romania and immigrated to the United States as a political refugee. The mother of two daughters, she has been a biomedical engineer and has held other positions involving computer-based research and development. For the past twenty years, she has been working as a realtor in Connecticut, where she lives.

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The Best of Friends: Martha and Me 2.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
aConsideredOpinion More than 1 year ago
As many others have commented, this book is disorganized, repetitive, and BORING. The author's narcissism painfully permeates every page--a mix of grandiosity and entitlement that quickly renders her unlikeable. Wanting to persuade us that she's special, she clutters the book with pseudo-intellectual commentary that will absolutely put you to sleep. As other readers have commented, Ms. Pasternak comes across as spoiled, parasitic, and spiteful, with a "whiny pretentiousness (that) just takes the cake." She seems to be obsessed with a need to ruin Martha Stewart's reputation but tries to disguise her vendetta with occasional "faint praise" that rings hollow. At the same time, she actually wants us to perceive her as a humble, loving, and loyal friend who unselfishly sacrificed more than she gained. Not believable. By the end, I questioned most of her perceptions. This is not an insightful book about M. Stewart or female friendships; there's nothing to learn from its 398 pages. I expected the book to leave me with some empathy for Ms. Pasternak. Instead, I wholeheartedly regret that I've contributed to her royalties. Wish I could take it back.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and found this an enjoyable read. This well written lyrical memoir is about the friendship between two unlikely women. Through travel adventures, dinner parties and weekend antiquing, the author offers a look into the lives of the rich and famous. This delightful read is loaded with entertaining adventures and private details of a two decade friendship. I would recommend this lively autobiography for anyone who is interested in the Martha Stewart mystique.
bookgirl53 More than 1 year ago
After reading some of the negative reviews, I am not sure we all read the same book. Ms. Pasternak may not have been the best writer, but I think she probably captured the essence of a long time friendship and it's demise. While I am actually an admirer of Martha Stewart and am fascinated by her, I do believe she is probably very much as portrayed in this book. I have read too many similar accounts by other friends and business associates. She is extremely gifted and talented, powerful and rich, but sadly I don't think she knows how to be a true friend. I feel sorry for Ms. Pasternak and for Martha.
TRAVELandSTYLE More than 1 year ago
For twenty years, the author, Mariana Pasternak, and Martha Stewart were inseparable BFF's. They struggled over similar issues and were intimately joined by the hopes and disappointments of their shared desire to find the men of their lives. The book is filled with scenes of passions and betrayals set against the background of beautiful homes, exquisite gardens, exclusive playgrounds of the rich and famous, over-the-top parties, and adventurous trips to the ends of the world, with abundant details of Martha's personal life, which were never made public before. On the surface their friendship looked idyllic, although Martha rigidly dominated the relationship, but in the end Pasternak drew boundaries, when Stewart involved her as a witness in the famous investigation and trial centered around Martha's sale of stock. That destroyed their friendship and ravaged both women's lives.
XX More than 1 year ago
The two women were happy to water the seeds of self destruction that they painstakingly planted in their friendship. The author writes about how she got into this relationship and why she got out of it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mariana does a very good job telling a complex story of friendship. What is most impressive with her book, is her own self awareness of her participation in a not so healthy friendship. She's incredibly honest and takes ownership of her faults. Even though she reflects (as an afterthought) of some of Martha's action as it pertains to their friendship and her friendship with others as well as with men, she also allows the reader to decide for themselves by not personalizing every action of Martha's. A very well written book for a tell all.
ZTexas More than 1 year ago
After reading this book, I spent an hour last night on Martha Stewart's website and found it much more interesting than the book! Martha's website has photos of her home, friends, trips, her life in general. I found the book to be mostly about the author's "tag-along" lifestyle and her her longing for what "could have been". She did admit freely in the book that Martha was generous and loving with the author's daughters and offered them a world of opportunities and experiences. Ms. Pasternak also offered a unique glimpse inside the intimate friendship she shared with Martha over their kitchen tables. I did not enjoy the book and would not recommend it to anyone.
gazebo More than 1 year ago
This book is so self-serving it's ridiculous. You don't even get the guily pleasure of insider gossip because you can't trust what she's saying. She comes across as very self-absorbed and out to make a buck off knowing a famous person. What a bore!
Upstate_NewYorker More than 1 year ago
Mediocre writing that demonstrates only the depth of the author's narcissism, her betrayal of trust and friendship, and how neither concept is sacred. The subtle insults throughout show how little respect she has for her alleged best friend of 20 years and the chapter on her emigration from Europe, while tragic in subject matter, was grossly out of place and uninteresting. I'm glad I took this out of the library rather than paying for it - both for the quality and general distaste of helping the author capitalize on her ex-friend's name - and was left with the resounding sureness that Martha Stewart can do better. Even if salacious gossip is the guilty pleasure behind the purchase, a reader would do better to skip this drivel and read about it online.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author comes accross as a greedy, whining whoman who can only brag I was left wondering who took care of her kids because she seemed to be never home I am no fan of Martha Stewart After reading this book I dislike both Martha and her Best Friend.....
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Let's start with the cover. I was barely 3 steps out the B&N door before I discarded it. Proud that with all my discounts I paid less than $7.00 I was still gleefully emabarresed that I actually even bought it. Went to the bar and dug in. After a gripping account of a communist escape and then a lucky US rescue Pasternek plays the victim over and over. Why would anyone draw themselves closer to another despite countless awkward and, according to the author, embarrasing moments? But she does..over the course of no less than 20 years. The author cries poor mouth throughout yet a passage that could read " I reached into my bag" instead reads " I reached into my Hermes Birkin bag" or some such crap. She mentions the designer labels attached to her accessories multiple times. Combine that with endless references to classical music and ancient history and well...yeah. In between there is juicy and cringe worthy stuff about Martha. You might find yourself, as I did, skipping paragraphs and pages in between the juice. In the end (spoiler alert) Pasternek loses her livelihood and has to sell all her expensive material goods because the trial ruins her reputation. That part is kind of endearing. Mostly because you find yourself hoping that she comes to her senses, which with the loss of her own fortune...she does. I wonder if she wishes they'd never met on that fateful day but I doubt it. Just WEIRD.
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Klebo More than 1 year ago
This highly transparent book is all about the author. Starting with the blame game, and blaming Stewart from her divorce, to the break-up of a lover, to her financial downfall. The author's over-all demeanor is of an arrogant and hauty pseudo intellectual that was over the top! A very poorly written piece of work with all kinds of catch phrases. Some parts of this book were written like a college term paper. A clear case of a jealous hero worshipper gone bad. How this book even got published is beyond me.
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