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Now, Voyager

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  388 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
“Don’t let’s ask for the moon! We have the stars!” The film that concludes with Bette Davis’s famous words, reaffirmed Davis’s own stardom and changed the way Americans smoked cigarettes. But few contemporary fans of this story of a woman’s self-realization know its source. Olive Higgins Prouty’s 1941 novel Now, Voyager provides an even richer, deeper portrait of the inner ...more
Hardcover, 284 pages
Published October 1st 2004 by The Feminist Press at CUNY (first published 1941)
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(showing 1-30)
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Rachel
May 09, 2009 Rachel rated it really liked it
Four stars might be a little high, but this classic pulp lived up so nicely to its reputation I wanted to reward it. Truly a Delightful Romp with some real social commentary underneath the trappings of a classic women's novel.
Karen
Sep 06, 2009 Karen rated it liked it
It's being newly marketed as "pulp" and I suppose it is, but I tend to think of pulp has having some seedy elements -- murder, blackmail -- really, a gun should show up somewhere. This book is far too civilized for stuff like that. It's "women's fiction" -- kind of a romance, but entirely centered on the inner life of the female protagonist. I was amazed at how closely the movie stuck to the book, with many of the best lines of dialogue lifted straight from the novel.
Cherese A. Vines
Jul 23, 2012 Cherese A. Vines rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: great romance
Now, Voyager is the third installment in the Vale family saga written by Prouty in the 1930s and 1940s. This book is about Charlotte Vale, the spinster aunt and her incredible transformation.

After a nervous breakdown, Charlotte is sent to Cascade to recover. It is a forward-thinking, psychiatric facility in the early 1940s. Her doctor, Dr. Jaquith, then sends Charlotte on a cruise alone to try out the coping skills she learned. Charlotte has never been anywhere without her domineering mother and
...more
the gift
read this book several years ago, just saw it on library shelf, remembered the movie, took out a lit crit book on it at the same time. perhaps this has to do with it being once so popular, wanted to read what romantic fantasy was like back then. perhaps this is why I remember it fondly. inspired another look at the movie, some searching for other books of the same series- feminist press- as a counterbalance to the misogynist crime pulps that appeared then, this gives a good idea of what women wa ...more
Nadia
Sep 22, 2008 Nadia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed it but wasn't in love with it. Olive Prouty was a good friend of Sylvia Plath. In fact she helped to support her financially when she was in a psychiatric institution. Interestingly, Plath makes fun of Prouty in her book, The Bell Jar, through the character of Philomena Guinea. All in all, I probably won't read anything else that she wrote.
lindsay
Apr 06, 2007 lindsay rated it liked it
I'd recommend this book to anyone who anyone who enjoys "quaint" 1940s romances or has an interest in feminist literature. The movie with Bette Davis is much better (although quite faithful to the story), but the book is certainly an entertaining quick read.
Hannah
Feb 24, 2017 Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everyone knows about this movie and of course "Jerry, let's not ask for the moon. We already have the stars". But how many of you knew that this was a book first? Huh? Not only is it a book, but it's actually the third is a series of five books! Right? The things we learn. (Also foxes don't hibernate.)

Charlotte Vale is the daughter of the wealthy Boston Vales. She is considerably younger then her three older brothers, having been a slight miscalculation in the old birth control cycle. As a resul
...more
Susan
Jun 16, 2015 Susan rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, romance
I read this book years ago after I had discovered old Bette Davis movies and loved the movie. This is the quintessential Bette Davis vehicle: the heroine surmounts incredible obstacles (spinsterhood, domineering mother, fat body, nervous breakdown) to find her true love and then-- but I won't reveal the ending in case you want to read it. Yes, the novel is dated, and yes, it is a romance. But just between you and me, I like a well-written romance once or twice a lifetime.
Teryl
Feb 19, 2010 Teryl rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Teryl by: My mother
Such a romantic story, about a young woman who is completely dominated by her mother and is unable to fend for herself. When she is given help in the end she goes on a cruise, falls in love with a married man, but still "finds herself" and lives a much happier and more fulfilled life. Old fashioned romantic novel, but well written and one that I loved as a teenager when I first read it.
Carey Combe
May 16, 2010 Carey Combe rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Radwa
Mar 24, 2016 Radwa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

" Don't let's ask for the moon! We have the stars. "

Kristina
Aug 01, 2016 Kristina rated it it was amazing
4.5 - the film spoiled me and I was surprised how closely it followed the book.
Idril Celebrindal
Apr 09, 2010 Idril Celebrindal rated it really liked it
The best depiction of the experience of depression and recovery that I have ever read.
Veda King
Feb 07, 2017 Veda King rated it it was amazing
I almost put it down at one point because the 1940s-style bantering was getting on my nerves, but I soldiered on and wholly enjoyed it. Can't wait to see the movie (again) on TCM on Feb. 19!
classic reverie
I am always on the lookout for novels of classic movies I have seen in the past especially ones that I loved, and in doing this I came across Now, Voyager! Usually when a story is turned into a movie there are many changes to fit the ideas of the producers/ directors, and this story had very little changes. The most dramatic change is the male leading character who in the movie is played by Paul Henrid & if you know that actor you could not see him as the American J.D. in the least. In the m ...more
Whitney (First Impressions Reviews)
Boston blueblood Charlotte Vale has led an unhappy, sheltered life. Lonely, dowdy, repressed, and pushing 40, Charlotte finds salvation at a sanitarium, where she undergoes an emotional and physical transformation. After her extreme makeover, the new Charlotte tests her mettle by embarking on a cruise—and finds herself in a torrid love affair with a married man which ends at the conclusion of the voyage. But only then can the real journey begin, as Charlotte is forced to navigate a new life for ...more
Danny
Jul 18, 2014 Danny rated it really liked it
I can’t get enough of the Femmes Fatales book series on Feminist Press. They’ve been reissuing classic noir novels from female writers. I’ve started with the books that were adapted into films. In A Lonely Place was haunting. Bunny Lake Is Missing was dripping with gas light paranoia. In many respects Olive Higgins Prouty’s Now, Voyager is a departure from those first two titles. It’s not really a noir at all, but a classic 40s romance. The book follows Charlotte Vale, a spinster aunt who embark ...more
Elizabeth
Nov 22, 2016 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016-reads
Charlotte Vale, of the Boston Vales, is the only daughter, and much younger than her brothers. She is the spinster aunt, and lives to serve every beck, call, and whim of her mother, the domineering matriarch of the family, who has never actually liked her daughter. Charlotte, weighed down by the stress of constantly being subjected to the criticism and demands of her mother, and the hen-pecking from many of her relatives, has a nervous breakdown. After several months in a sanitarium called The C ...more
Rachel
Aug 06, 2014 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
In years gone by my halfhearted schoolgirl attempts at pieces of fiction were often met by comments of "flowery writing" that was, quite simply, overdone. Reading Now Voyager, I was reminded of my younger self striving to create an image in my reader's mind. How I wish someone had told Olive Higgins Prouty to tame her writing from time to time. Her descriptive paragraphs consist of footsteps that "rise in tiny sound waves," "push," "float" and "disappear" whilst gazes "circle," "climb," "wander" ...more
Sherry Wilson
Nov 11, 2014 Sherry Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've always love the movie based on this book. But never imagined that the book had been followed so faithfully. They took this book and except for some minor changes (location of the cruise in the movie is South America and in the book it was the Mediterranean), it has all the beloved dialog and story. The movie has always been in my top ten favorites and now I can add the book to my top ten reads.

The copy of "Now, Voyager" that I own was issued in 1943 by Triangle Books. A previous owner very
...more
John Horst
Jul 23, 2014 John Horst rated it it was amazing
I am a fan of Olive Higgins Prouty. She writes intelligently. Her dialogue is excellent and her characters real. She also delves into the world of mental health at a time when such was a very new concept, and yet many of her observations and conclusions are relevant even today.

It holds up well as a romance, but what I enjoyed most was to experience a bit of the world of the upper class of society at the end of such an era, when people traveled the world by ship, had servants, and spent leisure t
...more
Jessica Parsons
Feb 22, 2014 Jessica Parsons rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-classics
'O Jerry,' she said when she could trust her voice. 'Don't ask for the moon! We have the stars!' Except for some changes in pacing and some fleshing out of some minor characters I was pleasantly surprised at how close the movie had stuck with the book. The biggest change was that I actually liked Jerry much better in the book. Paul Henreid was a great actor, but I felt he was overshadowed by Claude Raines' Dr. Jaquith. In addition, although Bette Davis didn't look like how the character was depi ...more
Colleen
Mar 15, 2016 Colleen rated it really liked it
Shelves: old-movies, fiction
A very enjoyable book that the movie by the same name is based on (EXTREMELY faithfully I might add). I can't think of any scenes in the book that are not in the movie and vice versa. The final line of the movie is the final one of the book and even the memorable cigarette lighting scenes come straight from the book (although yes, it was a device employed in other Davis films--hence the confusion I think about its origin).

Like the movie, the book is a sweet and penetrating depiction of a woman
...more
Brandy
Sep 19, 2013 Brandy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance, classic
I loved this movie, the story of a Charlotte Vale who is under the thumb of a controling, wealthy mother. She suffers a nervous breakdown and goes to a sanatorium to heal and learn how to use her free will. Then, as she is still recovering, she embarks on a cruise and meets a married man and falls in love. The book addresses the issues of morality and societal norms of the time period with a sense of gentleness that is rarely found in today's literature. Highly recommended for anyone who longs f ...more
Ellen
Jan 10, 2010 Ellen rated it liked it
As I mentioned in my review of Laura, I also picked up Now Voyager since it is one of my favorite films. This time however, I would recommend both the book and the film.

The story is about a woman who finally gets out from under a domineering mother and finds her own life. After time spent in therapy, she takes a cruise as kind of a "final exam" to see how she does on her own and out in society. She falls in love with a married man who returns her feelings but can't leave his marriage. They even
...more
T.R.
Mar 28, 2014 T.R. rated it liked it
When I found this hidden in the stacks at the library, I snatched it as though it was a prize jewel. For a long time now, I've wanted to take a crack at Prouty's work, especially since becoming aware of her connection with Sylvia Plath. But unfortunately, like Plath, I'm not crazy about Prouty's writing style. Alas. The plot, however, is fantastic, and extremely unconventional for the time.
Cori Edgerton
May 18, 2015 Cori Edgerton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"Don't let's ask for the moon! We have the stars!" One of my favorite ending lines to my favorite Bette Davis film, Now, Voyager (1942). I was just as pleased reading this line in the end of the novel by Olive Higgins Prouty. Excellent tale of self-discovery, awareness, and independence as well as a timeless love story. Just as good as the movie!
Christine Sinclair
Oct 15, 2013 Christine Sinclair rated it really liked it
The movie was very true to the novel, which is well-written and quite touching even though I already knew the story. Slight change in the two-cigarette scene by Paul Henreid which is so memorable, and a little more backstory on him in the novel. Will read Stella Dallas by the same author ASAP. Prouty was a mentor to Sylvia Plath, an interesting bit of biographical info.
Kay
Nov 21, 2011 Kay rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-general
Enjoyably readable. This book holds up remarkably well for a piece of 1940s popular fiction. The nobility and self-sacrifice levels are a bit higher than we're used to these days and everyone is unapologetically rich but overall Now Voyager easily holds its own with today's better quality chick lit. (And yes, it's almost exactly like the movie, word for word in places).
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Though Olive Higgins Prouty is primarily remembered as a romance novelist, she was also a poet, writing her poetry whenever and wherever she could. Her poems were never published during her lifetime, as they were much more intimate writings than the novels she wrote professionally. Perhaps because she could put more of herself into her poetry than in her novels, Prouty’s poems are powerful and emo ...more
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“Don't let's ask for the moon! We have the stars!” 37 likes
“I will get a cat and a parrot and live alone in single blessedness.” 6 likes
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