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1185 Park Avenue: A Memoir
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1185 Park Avenue: A Memoir

3.52  ·  Rating Details  ·  183 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
From National Book Award nominee Anne Roiphe comes this moving memoir of growing up in a wealthy Jewish home with a family who had money, status, culture -- everything but happiness.
While the nation was at war abroad, Roiphe, who was coming of age in 1940s New York City, saw her parents at war in their living room. Roiphe's evocative writing puts readers right in Apartme
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 2nd 2000 by Touchstone (first published 1999)
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(showing 1-30 of 362)
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Oct 10, 2010 Laurel-Rain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Author Anne Roiphe explores the bonds of family and the tension of dysfunction that ultimately define the lives of those living at "1185 Park Avenue: A Memoir."

Her mother's money sets them up, while their father, dependent on it and upon the life it buys, displays his resentments in various ways. Anger, outbursts, disappearances--all could be described as symptoms of the symbiosis that ties them together.

Against this backdrop, the author and her brother, with whom she shares a difficult bond, gr
Jun 04, 2009 Taylor rated it really liked it
I found this book interesting, because Roiphe's father sounds like a truly terrible human being, and yet she maintained contact with him until his death, always striving to please him and have some sort of closeness with him. Ultimately, I think this book is about Roiphe even more than it is about her parents, and even though her writing is beautiful and her upbringing is sad and fascinating, I'm not sure I like her. Yet I still want to read more of her. Pretty intriguing.
Jan 05, 2009 Janet rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir-bio
Interestingly enough, read this memoir about growing up dysfunctional while spending Christmas with my family. How damned appropriate was that?! The parallels were astounding!
Jun 27, 2013 Judy rated it liked it
This is a very disturbing memoir reminding readers that no one knows what goes on in families except the people who are living through the experiences. In the early 1940s the United States was involved in World War II, but there was a totally different war underway in Apartment 8C of 1185 Park Avenue. While the outside world saw a wealthy, stable, respectable Jewish family, inside the apartment the parents were locked in a constant struggle and the author's brother was convinced that his mother ...more
Tamara Bennett
Jul 18, 2015 Tamara Bennett rated it really liked it
(my pprbck copy was the advance reader's copy, so was 15 pgs less & had the hardcover picture.)
a painful memoir with such pitiful, self-absorbed parents. heartbreaking b/c the author did not view them that way. told in a factual way instead of the usual 'poor me' style. that was probably the main reason it was so sad. no happy ending either, at least not in the way a reader usually hopes for.
Elaine Dreyer
Jan 20, 2016 Elaine Dreyer rated it really liked it
Good read and connects back to another era in NYC.
May 22, 2015 Crista rated it did not like it
so depressing
Steffi Rubin
Jul 27, 2015 Steffi Rubin rated it really liked it
The story is interesting (3 stars) but some of the writing is luxuriating (5 stars).
Dec 03, 2013 Sandra rated it liked it
The author grew up in 1930s Manhattan as a privileged child, with nannies, cooks and servants. Yet her father was abusive and married "up" for money, her mother was ineffectual as a mother, often taking to her bed, and her little brother was mean and a loner, cutting off all possibilities of getting close to anyone. The book is a real testament to the saying, "Money can't buy happiness."
Jun 23, 2013 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
A sad memoir by a writer who grew up not to far from where I did, a decade before me. An account of the lostness of a generation of secularizing New York Jews, with their psychoanalysis, music lessons, and cultural pretensions.

Well-written if a bit pretentious in style. Evoked places and types I knew. I'm glad I don't live with these people any more.
Judy Williams
Jan 04, 2014 Judy Williams rated it really liked it
While I thought the characterizations of her parents and brother were somewhat overblown, to fit the poor little rich girl persona she created, overall I loved the arc of this book. It was a bittersweet memoir with enough richness of detail to evoke the period well.
Mar 22, 2013 Barbara rated it really liked it
Her parents were bound to each other in a union of mutual dislike. he couldn't live without her money and she couldn't face life alone. The abuse and misery overwhelmed the money and privileges of life on Park Avenue among the wealthy. I was fascinated by the story and the writing.
Apr 24, 2008 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A memoir of the author growing up as a wealthy jew guessed it, Park Avenue, during the 1930's. Painful in how her family is dysfunctional and, while most of it focuses on her youth, you see as she ages that things never "get right," but still worth a read.
Kelly Wischmeier
Jan 13, 2010 Kelly Wischmeier rated it liked it
This was interesting. She had a different style of writing. She wrote short sentences. The reading was choppy. I think it was part of her style. It did not flow well. Still good, though.
Aug 11, 2011 Lauri added it
This was a very interesting account of how some wealthy Jewish people lived in NYC in the 1930s, but it was a pretty depressing book, too. What a dysfunctional family.
Jun 08, 2012 Wendy rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir, 2012
A sad story about a very dysfunctional family. It really bothered me that she never confronted her father -- just kept coming back for more of his abuse.
Sep 07, 2010 Ann-marie rated it really liked it
You know it was one of those books I kept reading even though I didn't like the people. It reads like a novel but it's memoir, honest, and really interesting.
Sep 19, 2009 Anne rated it really liked it
A memoir by the always wonderful Anne Roiphe, about growing up Jewish in Manhattan. I recommend anything she has written, fiction or nonfiction.
Sep 24, 2008 Andrea rated it it was ok
This book started off well but then just died and stopped in the middle. I kept waiting for something to happen right up until the last page.....
Apr 11, 2010 Sue rated it liked it
what a terrible life growing up in a Jewish immigrant family w/ tons in a terribly disfunctional wealthy family... it's so damaging to the psychic
Sep 27, 2008 Dereka rated it it was amazing
This was a really fascinating book. Beautifully written. I have never read anything by her before but I am intending to do so now.
Jun 28, 2009 Annette rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
What life was like for a child who appeared to be part of a well-to-do family, at a time when well-to-do was not very rich.
Jun 28, 2013 Laura rated it liked it
Intriguing but a little depressing. Incredibly selfish and superficial people. Still, I'd like to try some of her other books.
Annis Pratt
Mar 14, 2013 Annis Pratt rated it liked it
Interestingly, a less charitable view of her family than in The Pursuit of Happiness, her novel on the same subject (see below)
Maureen Kennedy
Nov 15, 2010 Maureen Kennedy rated it really liked it
A young girl who grow up to be the author suffers through a greatly disfunctional family to triumph.
Jun 25, 2008 Robert rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written book by a highly talented author. Satisfying read about growing up on Park Avenue.
Apr 01, 2009 Jude is currently reading it
A Jewish family that escaped Germany and live in NYC during WW2, verrry interesting. Highly recommend.
Kathy Nelson
Aug 05, 2010 Kathy Nelson rated it liked it
An interesting look at life in New York during the 1950's...and into the author's disfuncitonal childhood.
Nov 11, 2008 Florence rated it really liked it
Her childhood came alive for me. I wanted to know how it was living on Park Avenue.
Mar 02, 2013 Sally rated it liked it
I really enjoyed some parts of this book - very intense. a little slow
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Over a four-decade career, Roiphe has proven so prolific that the critic Sally Eckhoff observed, "tracing Anne Roiphe's career often feels like following somebody through a revolving door: the requirements of keeping the pace can be trying." (Eckhoff described the writer as "a free-thinking welter of contradictions, a never-say-die feminist who's absolutely nuts about children"). Roiphe published ...more
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