Wallflower at the Orgy
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Wallflower at the Orgy

3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  655 ratings  ·  101 reviews
From her Academy Award—nominated screenplays to her bestselling fiction and essays, Nora Ephron is one of America’s most gifted, prolific, and versatile writers. In this classic collection of magazine articles, Ephron does what she does best: embrace American culture with love, cynicism, and unmatched wit. From tracking down the beginnings of the self-help movement to dres...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published June 26th 2007 by Bantam (first published 1970)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,863)
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Moira Russell
More mannered and dated than Crazy Salad, for me her standout nonfiction collection (I've heard Scribble Scribble highly praised, but it's been out of print for decades, used copies are really expensive, and the recent Kindle "omnibus" is incomplete). Altho the book is supposedly at least somewhat in defense of kitsch, there's no philosophical framework other than "I like fashion and fripperies," which is fine, but kind of shallow given Ephron's other, amazing essays on the Pillsbury Bake-Off an...more
Sometime last year, I read Nora Ephron's fantastic book Crazy Salad, which was a collection of columns she had written in the 1970s for various magazines. I loved that book and her writing. Even though the essays were dated, I enjoyed her wit and writing style. After all, Ms. Ephron is the genius behind When Harry Met Sally. After finishing Crazy Salad, I went on to read Scribble Scribble (collections of her columns about the media), I Feel Bad About My Neck (more recent book; focusing primarily...more
Beth Gordon
I found myself slogging through this book at a snail's pace. Nora Ephron is a fine writer. She does say early on that she's a succinct writer, and then she goes to ramble on more than needed (IMHO) in her essays.

The topics were dated. She had a whole essay on Rod McKuen. I have no idea who he is; he supposedly sang and wrote poetry back in the 1960s as far as I could tell based on the essay. Well, he either had a career that ended in the 1960s or early 1970s, or I live under a rock. It could be...more
Ivonne Rovira
Oct 01, 2013 Ivonne Rovira rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: intelligent women
Nora Ephron's first collection of columns, while not quite rising to the level of her brilliant Scribble, Scribble: Notes on the Media or I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman, proves greatly entertaining. Her articles, all originally published in magazines in 1968 or 1969, are all interesting, particularly the looks at Women's Wear Daily when it was still the bitchy record of the Ladies Who Lunch, before it atrophied into WWD, at the bloviating Ayn Rand, and at the rise...more
I suppose in part because of the author’s recent death, I find it difficult to say anything bad about Wallflower at the Orgy, which was a short and predictable collection of classic Ephron ruminations—on fashion, on people, on New York, etc. But even my main critique—that the book is a little too referential to withstand the test of time—turned out to be only partially true.

Helen Gurley Brown, legendary editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan and the subject of one of the essays in Wallflower, passed aw...more
What a delightful book from a delightful writer. Read the intro/prologue deal. Normally that is NEVER TRUE/NEVER A GOOD IDEA since the stories are ruined or someone tells a boring story about wheat in Berlin or how page 68 doesn't read the same when you are not in Madrid in 1930. But this one is great and she talks about working at the NY Post and how the editors changed her writing drastically. Her introductions to her articles are fun and interesting. The article about Mike Nichols is terrific...more
The topics are a little out-of-date since this is a collection of Nora Ephron's work from the 1960's but it's entertaining to read about once-or-stillfamous people like Arthur Frommer (of the Europe on $5-a-day budget travel guides ...how outdated is that?; Cosmo Editor Helen Gurley Brown (who oddly, died about the same time as Nora); thethen-young director Mike Nichols (directing a haughty Orson Wells in "Catch-22") and the writing of Aryn Rand (which GOP VP candidate Paul Ryan may re-populariz...more
Anne Green
I was drawn to this book because I like Nora Ephron's witty, self-deprecating style and also because one of the articles deals at length with the "foodie" scene in the 1960s, (in which I'm very interested) but which seems a world away now and featured such luminaries as Julia Child, James Beard, Judith Jones and others. Renowned as a talented journalist and story teller, Nora Ephron has written much better stuff than this. As she herself admits in the introduction to the collection, written some...more
This collection of articles and interviews from the 1960s perfectly captures the journalistic mood of the period and they are a fun read. I lived through the period -- it may not appeal to a younger generation.
Perhaps it's because of my age this is my favorite collection of Nora Ephron essays. Not yet THE Nora Ephron when she wrote these profiles, she frequently had to write around her subjects but managed to still be incisive and insightful. In this collection she explains the appeal of Cosmopolitan and Helen Gurley Brown's "Plain Girl Power" and how young readers can be seduced by Ayn Rand because they are "young enough to miss the point." If one enjoys trash and doesn't yet feel bad about their nec...more
I knew Nora Ephron as a screenwriter and filmmaker, but I was unaware of her literary output until I read various obituaries following her death earlier this year. Wallflower at the Orgy is the first book of hers I have read and won't be the last.

Firstly, what an awesome title. It is explained in the Introduction (and sort of recanted in the Preface to the 1980 edition) and beautifully captures the theme running through many of the articles, the observation of remarkable people doing wonderful/s...more
erin g
Sep 03, 2007 erin g rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: lovers of out-of-date pop-cultural references?
i am of the opinion (and don't think i'm totally off-base in thinking) that a book that is just sitting there on the new release shelf at the library is either no good at all (because if it was, shouldn't there be a miles-long hold request list for it?) or an undiscovered gem. this book is neither...though it is more gem than worthless.

i picked it up because the title was catchy, i vaguely recognized the author's name from somewhere, it was quite thin, and i needed some books to garnish the stac...more
Well, this is probably my least favorite Nora Ephron anything, and it takes a lot for me to say that because I love her and don't want to dislike anything of hers.

Obviously put this on the list after her sad death last year, and waited forever for it from the library. It's a collection of some of her very early essays, written in like 1969ish, and let's just say her style got dramatically pithier and funnier as time wore on. There are certainly interesting things - to hear about the POV of life...more
I think I might be Nora Ephron-ed out...or this book feels incredibly dated. Maybe if you lived through the 1960s and 1970s, Wallflower at the Orgy would be more meaningful, but chapters about people I didn't know, movies I've never seen, or magazines that are largely irrelevant today make for a collection of essays that just didn't work for me.

Excellent title, though.
Malia Zurcher
I love Nora Ephron more than I can even put into words--though, if I asked HER to put it into words, I have no doubt she would have woven a beautiful sentence out of how much I lover her writing, since she had such a gift with them. But of course, she was much too humble for that.

I loved this collection of articles she had written for magazines in the 60's, especially the ones about food writers, Helen Gurley Brown, and Mike Nichols. Smart, funny, and enriching, every Nora Ephron enthusiast shou...more
I love Nora Ephron's movies. Her books not as much. But I love the titles - this one and the only other one I read "I Feel Bad About My Neck". The book should officialy be 2 star, but I almost bumped it up a star because certain aspects of it trigger giggles by stirring up memories. The title alone makes me laugh as it is basically the subject of a hilarious conversation I was part of with the Foran/Sawyer clan on one of our vacations (though ours was officially about introverted swingers). Her...more
thankfully, this book rescued me on a last minute flight for which i brought no entertainment. i found it in the seat pocket in front of me!!

it's a book of essays, and the title is explained (and is an appropriate metaphor) but i still had to hide the book cover from my in-laws!

while the essays tend to become formulaic in their exploration of personalities and industries, nora ephron's writing is consistent and good. my favorite was her article about her editor at cosmopolitan and her makeover a...more
Apr 11, 2014 kim rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: nf, audio, adult, 2014
these essays are really dated, but I found most of them to be enjoying. a couple of them were totally flops just due to my lack of familiarity with the subject matter. the audio version probably made them more sound a little more lively though.
Nora Ephron is always entertaining, refreshing, and fun. This collection of magazine articles from the 60's manages to dissect a small part of American culture. It struck me that people, movies, designers, and books that were incredibly important during the time of publication are all but forgotten now. The concepts of fame and popularity still ring true, but how interesting to read an author's name that was all the rage....only to go "huh?" and have to utilize Google to do some background resea...more
I expected to like this a whole lot more than I did. I think Nora Ephron is a fantastic writer, but with the exception of the article on Helen Gurley Brown, most of this collection left me cold - either from not knowing the people she interviewed (these articles are from the late 60s), or because the level of snark seemed excessive. As I do love snark, this is a strange experience for me.

Once again, many very funny pieces mixed in with some very dated and less interesting pieces. But definitely worth a read. So many writers these days just pale in comparison.
Highly recommend the early journalism essays from Nora Ephron, in both this book and in "Crazy Salad/Scribble Scribble." She was a proto third wave feminist with a rapier wit and a delightfully cynical New Yorker by way of Los Angeles tone. She tackles "human interest" stories with a late 60s political bent in an original, intelligent and hysterical way and was present as a reporter at most of the landmark political and social events of the 1960s and 1970s. She should not be remember for the rom...more
Meg Marie
Written in 1970, and updated in 1980, parts of the essays are exceptionally dated, but I love
Nora'a voice throughout all of them.
Lilly G
I want to have drinks with Nora Ephron. I also apparently want to lie around pretending I was alive in '67 and that I get references to Jacquelin Sussan. This book is pop culture Americana at its finest, and Nora is a great narrator. I enjoyed this much more than Heartburn (which was still fine). Perhaps the most wonderful thing about it is that it's fine journalism by a writer who'd let you think she just happened to get lucky and get paid to write. She's brilliant and insightful and just self-...more
Why am I so blah on Nora Ephron when everyone else raves about her? Her movies leave me cold, always cute and predictable. Prompted by the outpouring upon her recent death, I decided to check out her early work. I found her writing is crisp and often funny.

But when I look at the dates listed on her magazine articles I think, wow, there were so many things going on then, and she talks about Bill Blass? So many pages for such a disappointing movie as Catch-22?

Yes, I know she was responding to the...more
More wonderful stories from this prolific writer. These are from the late 60's and it's some of the most facinating people from that era.
Nick Fagerlund
Some of these were really quite wonderful essays, notwithstanding the author’s comments about her former self in the more recent of the two forwards. (She refers to past-Nora as “dippy,” lol. I definitely need to start using that word.) The pieces are… of their time, let’s say, but they remain interesting.

In particular, the Helen Gurley Brown piece is — I don’t even have words for it. (…“mouseburger???”) And it was super weird to read a profile of Ayn Rand from back before her creepy-ass followe...more
I enjoyed this essay collection because I love Ephron's clear, appealing writing style. But I can't recommend this book based on subject matter because the essays are from 1967-1971, and their subjects are much less well-known than they used to be. Nora Ephron eventually became more famous than the people she wrote about in this collection--Rod McKuen, Helen Gurley Brown, that professor who wrote Love Story, and Bill Blass, among others. The last two pieces are about Mike Nichols, who I think is...more
Victoria H.

As others have pointed out, this is tad dated. I don't mind reading it - I quite like Ephron's sense of humor. All you must do to enjoy it is keep your smartphone handy to quickly Google some names to familiarize yourself with the people or events or things of the 70's. But overall, I find it amusing. Her writing is witty, even when dealing with things I am not familiar with. Her other books are, of course, much easier to follow and thus provide better entertainment.
Dec 17, 2012 Teatum added it
What a delight it was to read a series of Ephron's articles, to see in one space her voice and tone, the way she told stories, and of course, to curse the fact that I couldn't learn more about her research and interview processes. How did she get people to say the things they told her?

Best chapter provided a Q and A with Mike Nichols, of The Graduate fame. I loved being able to see the whole interview, part for part, the conversation flow, the questions, etc. Fabulous read.
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Nora Ephron was an American film director, producer, screenwriter, novelist, and blogger.

She was best known for her romantic comedies and is a triple nominee for the Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay; for Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally... and Sleepless in Seattle. She sometimes wrote with her sister, Delia Ephron.
More about Nora Ephron...
I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections Heartburn Crazy Salad: Some Things About Women (Modern Library Humor and Wit) When Harry Met Sally

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“The image of the journalist as wallflower at the orgy has been replaced by the journalist as the life of the party.” 9 likes
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