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The World of Henry Orient

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  70 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
The story is immediately recognizable in its theme and setting, but it exists in what seems to be another time and another place. Nora Johnson's The World of Henry Orient, published in 1958, is an amusing, affectionate satire of the last days of innocence in the lives of two New York girls, Marian "Gil" Gilbert and Valerie "Val" Boyd. The boredom and impatience of ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 1st 2002 by Green Mansion Press (first published 1956)
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Jun 01, 2009 Lori rated it really liked it
Huh, for some reason I have been remembering this book like some kind of deja-vu mystery from my childhood, and then yesterday I remembered the title. So imagine my surprise to see that it was gone for years and fnally reprinted in 2002. I don't remember anything about it except that I was utterly charmed and reread it quite a few times. I may see if the library has it, I'd love to revisit the Lori I was as a child.
Aug 03, 2015 Vivian rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
This is the story of two girls, both loners, who meet at a private girls' school in New York City and is told in first person, past tense by Marian who is looking back on her first friendship. She is the only child of a divorced woman in a time when divorce was stigmatized. Val is the only child of successful "jet setters" and has been raised in institutions. She is at once rebellious and delightful, energetic and creative, genius and prodigy, and deeply troubled.

Val becomes obsessed with a conc
Mar 04, 2008 RØB rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who like coming-of-age stories
Sure, it's a book about 13-year-old girls, but it's also a brilliant coming-of-age story (and really, a solid story about the perils of friendship for anyone of any age, too). I picked up the book having loved the movie (which stars Peter Sellers in the title role). Now I need to see the movie once more! The book got a little text-book-psychological towards the end (and even mentioned characters who did exactly that) but did, for a book that's about 50 years old now, seem extremely modern in its ...more
Czarny Pies
Dec 20, 2015 Czarny Pies rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who has seen the movie with Peter Seller
I read this book after having seen the movie. Being thirteen at the time, I found the teenage female protagonists quite fascinating. My sons however when they were the age of the heroine simply found her infatuation a middle-aged second-rater to be utter folly and had no sympathy with her.

Nonetheless this novel is well done even if it no longer connects with the audience that it was written for.
Nov 13, 2016 Mantelli rated it really liked it
This is one of the best books I've ever read about the mind of an adolescent girl moving from childhood into the edge of adulthood. It definitely presents a vanished world, but there is much there for many who remember the tribulations of that age. I was intrigued to note that Nora Johnson changed the ending to a rather more upbeat one for the movie, as well as deepening some plot lines at the expense of others.
Feb 10, 2011 Judy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who has seen the movie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa Vegan
Feb 01, 2008 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: Pam
The movie The World of Henry Orient was one of my favorites when I was a kid, but I never knew it was made based on a book until I found the book on Goodreads. I really enjoyed reading this. Pure nostalgia. While reading, I pictured the movie’s actors as being the characters. As I expected, the story was slightly different from that in the movie and the ending was somewhat different as well. I’m partial to the movie (5 stars!), but most likely that’s because it’s an old favorite. When young, a ...more
Steven Clark
May 06, 2016 Steven Clark rated it it was amazing
I read this book many years ago and love to go back to it. It is a great adolescent story of friendship, adjustment, and an evocative picture of New York in the fifties. I first saw the movie of this book (which is also very good but somewhat more optimistic), and the writing and empathy with the characters makes for an enjoyable and satisfying read. 'Someone who can play violin to your piano' is how friendship is defined. isn't that what we all want?
Feb 23, 2011 Teri rated it really liked it
This book came to mind as I was enjoying Favia's adventures (Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie). I remembered little of the book other than it's setting and the name 'Henry Orient'. I had originally read it in my very early teens. Although in some respects a more serious story than I remembered, it was as satisfying as ever.
Corinne Driscoll
May 21, 2016 Corinne Driscoll rated it liked it
Don't usually think this, but I like the movie better than the book. I read this years ago and don't remember it as being so dark.
Dec 16, 2009 Amelia rated it really liked it
This novel is adorable. RIYL: old-timey New York Stories, teenage girl rituals, celebrity concert pianists.
Jul 25, 2016 Lucy rated it really liked it
Shelves: movie-adaptation
This movie has been a favorite of mine since I was about 10-years-old. I remember reading the book when I was about 14. I'm tracking down an inexpensive copy so that I can re-read it as an adult.
Kevin Daly
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Marilynn Gordon rated it it was amazing
Sep 21, 2013
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Aug 17, 2010
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May 17, 2007
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Nora Johnson is the daughter of film writer, director and producer Nunnally Johnson, pivotal in such acclaimed films as 'The Grapes of Wrath'. She attended the Brearley School in New York City and in 1954 graduated from Smith College.

Her first and most well-known novel, The World of Henry Orient (1956), was based on her experiences at the Brearley School. In 1964 it was made into a movie produced
More about Nora Johnson...

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