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Kitchen Privileges: A Memoir

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  1,515 Ratings  ·  204 Reviews
In her long-awaited memoir, Mary Higgins Clark, America's beloved and bestselling Queen of Suspense, recounts the early experiences that shaped her as a person and influenced her as a writer.Even as a young girl, growing up in the Bronx, Mary Higgins Clark knew she wanted to be a writer. The gift of storytelling was a part of her Irish ancestry, so it followed naturally th ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published November 19th 2002 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2002)
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I actually liked this better than her novels. It was interesting to see the background she has. I especially liked the part about her early life. As I recall, it got less interesting later on.

I copied one cool passage about deja vu from the book:

"I felt as though I'd come 'home.' I had the most extraordinary sensation of being in a place I knew intimately. I don't believe in reincarnation, but I do wonder sometimes if it isn't possible that we inherit memory. If we can look exactly like someone
Jul 25, 2011 Nancy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: strong-women
I remember in several of my English classes discussing whether the author's personal life and story should be considered in examining their body of work. Many critics say it should have no consideration, while others say yes it should. Perhaps it is due to my fascination with people, but I always find it interesting how an author's personal life shaped their work. I have to confess I have only read one of Mary Higgins Clark's fictional works. After reading this memoir, I want to read her body of ...more
#2015-Reading-Challenge--Week 21: A book your mother loved.

My mother always enjoyed Mary Higgins Clark's mysteries and was thrilled to read this memoir of her life because they were more or less contemporaries and had had similar life experiences. She urged me to read it too but I wasn't too interested at the time, to tell you the truth. I am reading it now in her memory.

Final verdict: 2.5 stars rounded up.
Jul 20, 2014 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this memoir. Mary Higgins Clark certainly overcame a lot to be the accomplished author she is today. It was great reading about her life while she was poor; what a contrast to the photos in the back of the book where she's sooooo overdone and high-maintenance looking. I got a chuckle out of that. Especially since the book ends at the point when she starts earning money. Makes sense, though. I wouldn't have wanted to read about diamonds and second homes as much as I enjoyed readi ...more
Janie  R. Freeman
A very interesting and informative book about Mary Higgins Clark. I admire the way she dealt with tragedy and sorrow in her life. After her husband died at an early age, she raised on her own a wonderful family. I loved her positive attitude in all she did, she is a great inspiration of a person! I really enjoyed reading this book, and highly recommend it!
Elaine Cougler
Aug 15, 2016 Elaine Cougler rated it liked it
Kitchen Privileges by Mary Higgins Clark reads like a diary in some ways--the writing does not equal her suspense novels. But it's okay. Her wonderful personality and cheery disposition make this an intimate sharing rather than an arms length telling. Interesting to see the person behind the books.
Jan 27, 2017 Debbie rated it did not like it
I was surprised for a fiction writer that her biography would be such a snooze fest! Parts were so boring I skipped over them and the other parts were her raving about how great she is. I know you have to have an ego to even pen a biography but I feel she must suffer from convenient memory cuz she sure was awesome in every thing she did. The sad parts of her life, like her husband dying, were just glanced over so she could talk about how great her family and kids are. Really didn't help me to li ...more
Perssis Namour
Jan 19, 2017 Perssis Namour rated it liked it
It is always nice to get to know the author on a personal level. Some think that the author's life has no barring on their writing. I feel that their personal history seeps through into the characters in their books. The more a person writes the more private views you get into their heart. When a read an author I enjoy for me it is like being penpals with them.
Layce Gardner
Dec 29, 2016 Layce Gardner rated it it was amazing
What a lovely lady. I really enjoyed o yes her story and her reading of it.
Jan 07, 2017 Ang rated it it was ok
This book was ok. Biography.
Maria Tate-Escobar
Jan 07, 2017 Maria Tate-Escobar rated it it was amazing
This is such a beautiful memoir. No one could have captured the brilliantly entertaining and tragic life of Mary Higgins Clark the way she has. If you are a fan of her work this is a must read!
Sep 26, 2016 Pamela rated it it was amazing
This was a very good story about Mary Higgins Clark life.She tells about her life as a little girl growing up until she graduates from school,gets married and has children.Alot of tragedy and triumphs in her life. She struggled to become a writer but overcame every setback to become a well know author.
Saxon Bennett
Dec 30, 2016 Saxon Bennett rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed it. She tells her own story with wit and warmth.
Sep 07, 2009 Sherrie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: already-read
"Kitchen Privileges" by Mary Higgins Clark
(from inside flap)
Even as a young girl, growing up in the Bronx, Mary Higgins Clark knew she wanted to be a writer. Teh gift of storytelling was a part of her Irish ancestry, so it followed that she would later use her sharp eye, keen intelligence, and inquisitive nature to create stories about the people and things she observed.

When Mary Higgins Clark's father died during the Depression, her mother opened their home to roomers, announced by a discreet s
Lisa Buie-Collard
Oct 29, 2011 Lisa Buie-Collard rated it really liked it
I just finished reading Mary Higgins Clark's memoir "Kitchen Privileges" and I almost felt ashamed to be whining about my "issues" in my (writer's) life. Yes, I have issues, but OMG not like she did. And she writes about them in such an understated way. I think that is her trademark, why she is so successful. She was once told that her writing was “Light, slight and trite”. I think it’s because she writes in an understated way and if you aren’t paying attention it’s easy to miss her depth. Try h ...more
Katherine Tirado-Ryen
This book is a glancing history of Mary Higgins Clark's life beginning with her early childhood and ending just after the cusp of her great success as a suspense novelist. Her success despite being a young widow with five children is nothing short of astonishing. However, I wish she had gone into greater depth, as her story left me with more questions than answers. What was it truly like raising five children and working full time? What were her particular financial pressures, her personal ones? ...more
Years back I read several of Higgins-Clark's books, but then decided I didn't enjoy the tension that her suspense created. I picked this copy of her Memoir up at a library book sale for a friend who is in Rehab at a nursing home. Helen is a big MHC fan and I thought she would like to have this one. Then I decided to read it first so I could give it to Helen to keep. ( Then Gail read it and then Mona...hopefully Helen will get it next week!) Higgins-Clark is a good story teller and she did a good ...more
Jun 11, 2011 Carolyn rated it really liked it
Listened to this book on playaway . . . twice. I had some time to kill packing up the kitchen, packing clothes for our trip and decided to listen to it again. She writes about growing up in the Bronx, her family, her first jobs, all the things that led her to her eventual career in writing suspense novels. She has overcome many obstacles to become a very popular author. What I think I liked most, was that her real work, her writing of novels, didn't happen until she was older. Also, she isn't a ...more
Jan 18, 2016 Nissanmama rated it liked it
I don't often read biographies because unless there is a specific story to be told with "behind the scenes" information, it feels a little like watching someone else's home movies. For that reason, Mary Higgins Clark's autobiography is more correctly titled a "memoir." It's not long, but covers an interesting life lived through an interesting period of change in our history. She is very religious and that faith gives her an optimistic nature. Her optimism comes through as the filter by which she ...more
Dec 10, 2010 Debbie rated it liked it
This was a quick and interesting read into Clark's life, her growing up years with the early death of her own father and the hardships her family went through...especially into finding out that in addition to being an author, she raised her 5 kids pretty much on her own after her first husband died after 14 years of marriage. While she dated now and then in the intervening years and got remarried several years later, that marriage ended in divorce. A little over 30 years after her first husband ...more
May 19, 2008 Loni rated it really liked it
Here's another one I read awhile back. I never would have read this if my husband hadn't picked it up on CDs to listen to it in the car on a road trip. However, after we started listening to it, I was hooked. This book is Mary Higgins Clark's account of her childhood, falling in love and raising young children. It reads like a novel is is just fascinating! The title refers to her childhood when her mother, to help provide for her family during WWII, would take in boarders and some were allowed " ...more
Rebecca Macarthur
A Surprise New Favorite!

I've never read any MHC novels but recently heard her briefly interviewed on NPR and was intrigued by her extensive career and her early life as a wife and mother of five. This memoir was a funny, touching read that felt so tender and genuine to me that I was sorry to see it end. She writes as if we, the readers are close friends and has a real gift for making the mundane events of life receive the importance and attention they actually deserve. I may never get around to
Jun 07, 2013 Ashley rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Diehard Mary H. Clark fans and those that just LOVE memoirs
Having found that M.C.H's books were quick and easy reads, suitable for nights at work (easy to finish, easy to put down, but enjoyable whilst reading them), I worked my way through quite a few of them (so easy to find at Thrift shops and such) and when I happened across her memoir, I figured why not. It would nice to see how she got where she was, starting from the beginning.
It was a nice time-killer, but nothing that will stick with me for years to come, much like her novels. I do however reme
Sep 18, 2009 Josi rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is an autobiography of Mary Higgins Clark's life. I admire the woman very much and enjoyed the detailed look at her growing up years as well as her adult life before she started writing. I think the enjoyment of the book will be determined by the interest in Mary as a person; people looking for writing instruction or some kind of scandalous twist will be disappointed. I was not. I would have loved to read some of her early writing samples in the pages, but didn't think about it until t ...more
This is the memoir of the very successful mystery writer, Mary Higgins Clark. It tells how she grew up in the Bronx during the Depression with her two siblings. Her father died while she was young and her mother struggled to keep the family afloat by taking in boarders at their home. She met a succession of interesting tenants. Her life suffered from many tragic losses but she has managed to keep a positive outlook. She married her girlhood crush and then lost him early. She started writing as a ...more
May 20, 2013 Allison rated it it was amazing
I used to read a lot of Mary Higgins Clark's books, and have actually read this one, years ago. I love it because it's really inspirational, without being over the top. Clark writes honestly and simply about her childhood and her dreams. While she has lost many loved ones, often closely together, she never dwells on it or asks for pity. Instead, she was always driven to find a better job to help support her mother and brothers, and later to support her five children. You'll find yourself tense a ...more
Kristie J.
May 28, 2010 Kristie J. rated it liked it
Just finished this audiobook. It was inspiring to hear the life story of such a famous author, in her own voice. She seems like a simple, down-to-earth woman who was widowed young and supported and raised her five children with the help of her mother after her husband died. She wrote her first three books while she worked full time by getting up at 5 am and writing at her kitchen table with her typewriter from 5-6:45 am. She published several short stories when she was in her early 20's, but she ...more
Jan 04, 2015 Cyndi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
I am reminded that the best stories are the true ones and Clark has had an amazing life. It hasn't been free of trials and profound sadness but she has endured as her mother did and what has resulted is a strong family who can be happy for one another and who succeeds together. I love family histories. I am not sure any of us understand what a blessing it is for future generations to record our stories, especially the ones where we have suffered setbacks but triumphed instead of giving up, which ...more
Jun 23, 2008 Val rated it really liked it
I went through a phase where I obsessively read almost all twenty billion Mary Higgins Clark mystery novels. I came to the conclusion that every one of her mystery novels sounds strangely similar to the last, so I was delighted to find her autobiography refreshingly wonderful. It tells of her childhood, falling in love, marriage, loss, trial, and triumph. It's a beautiful insight into the life of an author. And, author or not, she has one heck of a fascinating life. I have a whole new appreciati ...more
Jan 09, 2013 Jan rated it liked it
Shelves: listened-to
This was Mary Higgins Clark's autobiography - and she read the audiobook. It was very good - she's had a really hard life. She lost her father when she was a young girl, her brother only a couple of yeras later, and her husband in his 40's when they had 5 children - the youngest only 6. Her husbands's Mother died within a couple of days, followed by his brother only 3 months later. SO to say that she is a survivor is to put it mildly. Her story was told with a lot of humor, and I really enjoyed ...more
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2015 Reading Chal...: Kitchen Privileges: A Memoir by Mary Higgins Clark 2 9 May 26, 2015 09:22AM  
  • Silent Night: The Remarkable Christmas Truce of 1914
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  • O.J. is Innocent and I Can Prove It
  • The Christmas Box
  • Senior Year: A Father, A Son, and High School Baseball
  • I Want to Tell You: My Response to Your Letters, Your Messages, Your Questions
  • Only Opal
  • Beyond the White House: Waging Peace, Fighting Disease, Building Hope
  • Emma's Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty
  • Raging Heart
  • Speaking for Myself: The Autobiography
  • Warm Springs: Traces of a Childhood at FDR's Polio Haven
  • Watching Baseball, updated & revised: Discovering the Game within the Game
  • Silent Witness: The Untold Story of Terri Schiavo's Death
  • Letting Swift River Go
  • Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency
  • Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation
  • American Tragedy
Mary Higgins Clark, #1 international and New York Times bestselling author, is the author of 46 books and counting: she’s written thirty-three suspense novels; three collections of short stories; a historical novel, Mount Vernon Love Story; two children’s books, including The Magical Christmas Horse; and a memoir, Kitchen Privileges. She has also written five holiday suspense novels with Carol Hig ...more
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