Wallflower at the Orgy
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Wallflower at the Orgy

3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  836 ratings  ·  129 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,204)
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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
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
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
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
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
Meghan C.
So...Hmm. This book wasn't what I was expecting at all. Mostly because it feels like a nothing book. And from Nora Ephron I was expecting SOMETHING. What that something was, I couldn't have told you, having never read any of her writing previously. But who among us hasn't watched When Harry Met Sally one or seventy-five times? I've heard all the accolades. When she passed away in 2012 I was enchanted with her oft quoted commencement speech from Wellesley College. I went into this book full of hi...more
Danielle Mohlman
This was my first Ephron and I think that I may need to try one more before I make any decisions about how I feel about her as a writer. Wallflower at the Orgy was a great change of pace for me and it was a well-chosen travel book. I read the first half waiting for and then on my train from Washington, DC to BWI and another chunk while eating a soft pretzel and waiting for my plane to board. I chipped away at the rest of it between outings with my family and showing Jeremy where I grew up. I rea...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
May 24, 2014 Relyn rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: hmmmm... I'll get back to you on that one.
Recommended to Relyn by: Nora Ephron
Shelves: audiobooks
Let me be frank. I read this book because of the amazingly delicious title. An added bonus was that I loved I Feel Bad About My Neck. This book wasn't Neck. Not nearly as funny.

I thought Wallflower at the Orgy was an interesting time capsule. Nobody really writes that like anymore. These magazine articles were long. I mean looooonnnnggg. They held my attention because they illuminated a different time, a different way of living and thinking really. However, not enough to plow through if I hadn'...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.
I bailed on this about halfway through the first section. I was doing it as an audio book, and perhaps it's just not a book that works well in that format. To be fair, it was published in the 1970's, and many of the people she was talking about were relevant then, but as I was a young child and not familiar with them then or now, wasn't too interesting to me. Skip this unless you want to know more about the "food scene" of the '70's (I guess)! My fault for assuming that since Ephron wrote it it...more
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
David Donald
Aug 07, 2014 David Donald is currently reading it
Well I bogged down and never got back to it. It has been a weird year.
I HAVE read:
Agatha Raisin and the quiche of death
Between a Heart and a Rock place, Pat Benetar
Beyond Paradise; the life of Roman Novarro
Fieldwork: a novel
They Eat Puppies, Don't they?
Hedy's Folly, the life and breakthrough inventions of Hedy Lamarr
Minor Wife, Lost In Rangoon, ( Vincent Calvino novels)
Roger Williams and the creation of the American soul.
Top Secret Twentyone Stephanie Plum
Wicked Business
The Prince by Macchiavell...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
Oliver Hodson
Not quite as era defining as her layer stuff like crazy salad, that even set the tone for popular understandings of big issues, this was a bit tight and in on personalities. Some of it translated, such is the strength of the writing, but you don't need to read it, like you do her other stuff...
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
Krista McCracken
Not a bad collection of writings by Ephron but definitely not the most humorous I've read. Additionally many of the pieces are somewhat dated and provide more of a snapshot in time than retrospective humour.
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
Amusing and tiring. If you think of when it was written, you can get some laughs. Who doesn't enjoy old Helen Gurley-Brown stories?
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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 When Harry Met Sally Crazy Salad: Some Things About Women (Modern Library Humor and Wit)

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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.” 10 likes
“I love trash. I have never believed that kitsch kills. I tell you this, so you will understand that my antipathy toward 'Love Story' is not because I am immune to either sentimentality or garbage, two qualities the book possesses in abundance. When I read 'Love Story', and I cried, in much the same way that I cry from onions, involuntarily and with great irritation, I was deeply offended...” 0 likes
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