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Majorie Morningstar

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  4,610 ratings  ·  434 reviews
Marjorie Morgenstern is nineteen years old when she is offered the job of her dreams working in a summer stock company for Noel Airman, its talented and intensely charismatic director. Released from the social constraints of her old-fashioned New York Jewish family, and thrown into the glorious, colorful world of theatrical invention, Marjorie finds herself entangled in a ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 836 pages
Published December 31st 1996 by Thorndike Press (first published 1955)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Arlene
Jul 02, 2008 Arlene rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: loves of good novels.
This book grabbed me at the first paragraph. The synopsis above makes it sound so bland. It isn't. Herman Wouk is a skillful and talented author. His use of just the right word and inventive metaphors made this volume a joy to read. The characters were well fleshed out and fit the setting of the novel perfectly. The plot had enough rises and falls to keep the reader's interest throughout the over 500 pages. But best of all I liked this book for its glimpse into a culture and a world that existed ...more
Lword
I listened to the Audible version of this book and that was the only reason I finished it. I choose this book because I loved "Winds of War" and "War and Rememberance" but Marjorie Morningstar was just unpleasant. If the relationship between Marjorie and Noel is love, I am happy to say I've never been in love, and don't want to be. Although there was some redemption in the end, I found it put me in a bad mood while listening. None of the main characters were likable, and Marjorie a sap, and Noel ...more
S.E. White
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa
Jun 01, 2008 Lisa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Women and teen agers.
I re-read my 1950's copy with Natalie Wood on the cover for years, until it fell apart. I was actually prompted to read this by a "Mad" magazine spoof, "Marjorie Morningkitten". I think it was "Mad". I love this book, with its vivid descriptions of Marjorie's wardrobe and aspirations, though I do find Wouk's portrayal of a female non-virgin heinously offensive now: "Never would he look at her the same way again". What a load of hypocrisy. Lost her cherry and is now damaged goods. This isn't my n ...more
Judy

I remember one summer day when I was a young teen, a movie by this name came on afternoon TV. My mother, passing through the family room, hurriedly turned it off and forbade me to watch it. In her eyes, it was too advanced in concept (translation: sex) for a girl my age. She didn't know, of course, that I was reading Lady Chatterley's Lover or Tropic of Cancer at babysitting jobs. In the long view, none of these books did much to prepare me for womanhood, but at 13, I was just trying to learn ab
...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
This could easily be 5 stars. Marjorie Morgenstern struggles for her desire for a career and her family's and culture's desire for her marriage. First published in 1955, it is reflective of New York Jewish society of the 1930s. That a man of that era would so readily portray how a woman could want something different is, I think, somewhat remarkable. The Women's Movement was yet unborn, to my knowledge, but certainly Wouk was aware of what has always been those women who wished for something mor ...more
Elyse
Wow! This was one of my favorite books --- I just noticed a GR's friend marked to read it.

I'd enjoy reading it again myself!

HINT: (to our local book club) --if anyone is reading this: This would be a great pick for a 'classic' pick month.
Maia
OK--I've finally finished it! This is my second reading--first time, I read it aged around 16 or 17 and from what i've been able to find on the Net, most female readers' reactions change quite drastically if they read the book a second time when they're older and married, perhaps also a mother.

Well, I'm 20 years older, married, a mother... But I see the book pretty much the same way I did then, the first time, which makes me wonder if a) I haven't changed that much or b) I was unusually astute t
...more
LM Yellow
I requested this because everyone, but me seemed to have read it. Then I got the almost 600 page
monstrosity and there on the shelf it sat for a while. I felt like I was reading for years and years (actually I
was. the book starts when the character is 17 and ends when she is 23ish if I recall correctly) plus it was
hardbound so my wrists hurt. I guess I liked the story, but it was long and part of the length was due to a
particularly wordy character who I couldn't stand, namely because he didn'
...more
Carol
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anna
Aug 19, 2009 Anna rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: struggling actors, fans of the theater, anyone in love with a jerk
This is like the 1930s version of Reality Bites--good girl dabbles in a bohemian lifestyle, and finds herself torn between the artistic jackass she loves and the nice Jewish boys that bore her.

While I was repeatedly stunned by how much Wouk gets it right, even for a book set in the 1930s (sexual politics between men and women, class politics in a melting pot nation, backstage politics of the theater), I was frustrated by the lack of a clear story arc. There are definitely parts of the novel tha
...more
Alan Simon
One of the major influences on my own writing, and probably the one book that convinced me to give fiction writing a fair shot alongside technology and business books. Wouk expertly captures the essence of the period about which he writes. One can read the story today, or any time since about the late 1960s or early 1970s, and the "purity factor" would seem dated and probably even insulting to most women. However, if taken in the context of the time period in which the story is set (15-20 years ...more
Margitte
Marjorie Morningstar took me through sleepless nights for an entire week. At first I couldn't get a grip on the book, apart from finding it interesting. But for some or other reason I just continued reading it to try and find the final message (to me) in it. It kept pulling me back for some more nothingness! Reading the last sentence I sat speechless and totally lost for words! One half of my mind proclaim it a brilliant book but the other half said it was boring especially when the author himse ...more
Jessica
I liked it less and less as it went along. I felt compelled to finish it but wished I'd never gotten sucked in. It was just really irritating to watch Marjorie be pathetic and weak over and over and honestly I get so tired of novels where everyone is small and miserable.
Althea
Wonderful writing--so detailed. So far, a joy to read.

I gave it the four star rating for the writing. The story however is probably a three and a half star rating. Maybe because it's such an old story, young idealistic girl falls for a cad with a capital "C" and maybe because you get a little tired of the characters falling into the same situations over and over again. However, it is worth reading especially for the feeling you get for the 1930's era and the New York milieu.
Elizabeth
Read this over one weekend when I was about 12 or 13. I wanted to be Marjorie Morningstar. "Nough Said? I need to re-read this at age 50. I'm smiling just thinking about how much I loved and how I devoured this book. Perfect coming of age "drama" for a "tween" growing up on New York's Upper West Side. Wonder what my end of 9th grade daughter would thnk about this book...Hmm...We'll see...
Aubrey Chaves
I feel like I have to give five stars to any book that makes me think so hard about big topics even though I didn't enjoy a lot of the book. Also- it has one of my favorite last lines of all time.


"I think it's a bit like coming to the end of a book. The plot's in its thickest, all the characters are in a mess, but you can see that there aren't fifty pages left, and you know that the finish can't be far off. "

"Marjorie, standing at the rail beside Eden, felt close to tears --not because the day
...more
Ana
This book wasn't entirely what I was expecting;however, it was a gorgeous read. It has left me with such a melancholy feeling that I almost regret reading because now I'm all sad. I was definitely tearing up the last 30 pages or so. This book follows the life of Marjorie a young girl from a traditional New York Jewish family who has dreams of becoming an actress. While at times I felt she was shallow and naive I did grow to like her. I felt her sadness and frustration with her family,her life, a ...more
Susan Segal
Herman Wouk captures the period (1930's to 1940's) quite well. It is a well-written, if overly long, story of a dreamy, gorgeous young, Jewish girl whose parents want the best for her (wehich may mean marrying a doctor and living in the suburbs). Marjorie is pursuing her dream of becoming an actress and meets the quintessential Peter Pan himself: Noel Airman, ne'er-do-well son of an important Judge Ehrman. Every man who meets Margie falls in love with her, but Margie is set on Airman - how the l ...more
Sydelle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karen
Argh. I really enjoyed the settings (Manhattan between the wars, summer camp for adults [like Moss Hart in Act One:], crossing to France in an ocean liner, all the cocktails and hats and dancing). In terms of its attitude about women, though, the period feel is much less charming. I'm usually okay with the dated tone of mid-century books but somehow the dismissive misogyny of this one really bugged. Maybe because it's written by a man from a woman's perspective? Maybe because it's too long? It's ...more
Cathy
I decided to read this book after reading an article about popular books from the 50's. I really enjoyed this very long (48 chapters) book. I was able to finish it because there is a very extreme heat wave in Los Angeles this weekend and I am holed up in my air conditioned house. Herman Wouk won the Pulitzer Prize in 1951 for "The Caine Mutiny". "Marjorie Morningstar" his next novel was the most widely read American Novel of 1955. He went on to write "Winds Of War" (1971) and "War And Remembranc ...more
Irene
Ahhh. To have a woman's knowledge of men, as a young innocent virgin.

What I learned:

Enjoy the ride with a cad, but don't marry him--and certainly don't let him touch you below the waist or you'll be seen as a cripple with a deformity.

Resign yourself to suburban mediocrity, and convince yourself you want it more than anything else. The reward will be a giant carbon rock, 4 children that give you long-term memory loss, and premature gray hairs that age you.

Keep your head in the ground regarding w
...more
Sharon Walton
Nov 09, 2010 Sharon Walton rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sharon by: a serendipitous finding!
I LOVED this book, read when I was probably thirteen or fourteen. It was the very first "written for adults" book I ever read, & was a wonderful choice! I have only vague memories of the story...remember the ideas of "theater", "Noel" (her love interest)& "Judiaism", but nothing in any detail. It's the way I remember loving it that means the most to me. Definitely DON'T want to re-read! I'm sure it's very dated, and I want to continue to enjoy my vague memories. I'm sure my age at the ti ...more
Shannan
This book threatened to destroy me and all the other Shirley's out there! It was like reading about your own weaknesses, the poor choices you've made in life, the regrets, the lost loves, the could have been's, and the stark reality of who you've become and what your life really turned out to be. Not that it all turned out negative. It is just shocking to read something so true and feel so exposed just by reading a book.

Wouk is an exceptional creator of deep and true characters, however, someti
...more
Kristin Lee Williams
I really loved this charming novel. There were some stale sections (honestly, I think there are stale sections in all of Wouk's novels). But taken as a whole it was really lovely.

Marjorie Morningstar is like every young girl: starry eyed, searching for significance. Of course, times have changed and things are different but, really, haven't we all been charmed by a man who isn't right for us? Blinded to who he really is because of our infatuation? I know I was.

In the end, Wally Wronken is somew
...more
Beverly Schneider
I loved this book - I love everything I have ever read by Herman Wouk, but I read this book so many years ago, I'm afraid I can't write a substantive review. I can only say I know it was a fabulous book and recommend this and every other book this author has written to you unequivocally. I would like to add that I found this book in my home when I was still practically a child - it's what got me hooked on this author. I read it and could not put it down while I was reading it. I think it's a tru ...more
Zibby
I really enjoy coming-of-age novels. But it sure seemed to take a long time for Marjorie to mature!! Could the book have been any LONGer? I thought that the ending was the best part, but at the same time even that was cliche. So tidy. I wanted to read this after "The End of a Your Life Bookclub" championed it.... And now I cannot recall why they found it so fetching?? I will look forward to our Bookclub discussion to hear why is should read as such a classic?? Maybe I missed something amazing in ...more
Mom
Marjorie Morningstar is a wonderful character. I became thoroughly engaged in her life & experiences as she grew up in pre-WWII. I could not put the book down & I was hoping that she would not end up with Noah Airman, a sad ADHD, self-medicating, artistic man. They were two star-crossed lovers. I found the Mike Eden character & story were fascinating and historical. I would have liked more development with that story line. In today's world, the book seems sexist and reveals the doubl ...more
Gail
A real sentimental favorite. We watch Marjorie as she wants to be a sophisticated actress, becomes involved with a clot of a man, tries to figure out who she really is, and finally becomes...well...never mind; don't want to spoil the book. I thought it was great and still do (I re-read it a couple of years ago or so), but I'm very eclectic in reading tastes and can sympathize with lots of points of view. More modern,er,emphatic feminists may view this as a complete piece of drek. I think it's pr ...more
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Herman Wouk is a bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning Jewish American author with a number of notable novels to his credit, including The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War, and War and Remembrance.

Herman Wouk was born in New York City into a Jewish family that had emigrated from Russia. After a childhood and adolescence in the Bronx and a high school diploma from Townsend Harris High School, he earned
...more
More about Herman Wouk...
The Winds of War (The Henry Family, #1) War and Remembrance (The Henry Family, #2) The Caine Mutiny Don't Stop the Carnival The Hope (The Hope and the Glory, #1)

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“I think it's a bit like coming to the end of a book. The plot's in its thickest, all the characters are in a mess, but you can see that there aren't fifty pages left, and you know that the finish can't be far off. ” 7 likes
“About the nicest thing God ever invented was alcohol. He's proud of it, too. The Bible's full of kind remarks about booze.” 7 likes
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