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Heartbreak Hotel

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,367 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
The insightful, troubling tale of the coming of age of a privileged young Southern woman during the turbulent Civil Rights era.

In Montgomery, Alabama, Martin Luther King Jr. has organized a bus boycott. In Tuscaloosa, outrage surrounds the entrance of the state university's first black student. But at little Randolph University, sweltering in the summer heat, life remains

Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 15th 1993 by HarperTorch (first published 1976)
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Tracy Valentine It was referring to Maggie's confrontation with Boots, where she told him to call her when he "met a man" -- in other words, when he'd had an…moreIt was referring to Maggie's confrontation with Boots, where she told him to call her when he "met a man" -- in other words, when he'd had an experience like the one she did at the jailbreak, when she had an epiphany about what it was like to be a persecuted human being. It was obviously Hoyt who called Aiken, and I think he meant that he had "met a man" who had given him the same feeling that Maggie had when she stared into that man's eyes after the jailbreak. (less)

Community Reviews

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Apr 09, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always avoided Anne Rivers Siddons because I was never sure if she just pushed books out that didn't have a whole lot of content BUT I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I didn't realize until I finished it that this was Siddons first book, which almost makes me want to read a more current one to see if it is on par with her first. I enjoyed the portrayal of the South in the 1950's, well done. The book had some fluff but it also did a pretty good job of exploring the subject of integr ...more
LInda L
Feb 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful book -- set in the time of integration in the Alabama/Mississippi area of the country. The story of a girl who definitely "got it" and acted on it. She wrote a pro-Negro article for the college paper and got into great trouble for it. She lost her fiance(loser) and gained an important friendship with a reporter. She was changed forever by the events happening around the country, and in a good way. A thoughtful, wonderful book.
Lyn Anderson
Apr 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Heartbreak Hotel is one of Siddon's most sensitive novels. A very interesting slant on the troubled times in the South during the beginning stages of the fight for integration of the Blacks, as well as another look into the typical attitudes of the college/sorority/rich coeds of the time.
Kamelle Reigh
Jan 13, 2017 rated it liked it
It has been a long time since I read a book and felt for the heroine.

 I am a passive reader. I read books to pass the time and to amuse myself. I don't like books that make me think and reflect.

Maggie, the heroine, is a southern Belle who was reared to become a rich man's wife somebody. She has all these achievements and perfect looks. She comes from a good family and belongs to a reputable sorority. She is practically engaged to a rich and famous fraternity boy who is a heir to a vast cotton p
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes historical fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Bookmooch
Albama, 1956: While Elvis Presley was singing about love, one young woman was learning all about life. Everyone loves Maggie Deloach, one of the most popular girls on campus with everything going for her: an impeccable lineage; picture-perfect looks; the best sorority, and the handsomest fraternity boy's pin on her sweater. The ultimate Southern belle, Maggie knows what the rules are and is willing to play by them. No surprises are waiting in her future - but neither are any disappointments.

Terry Jacobs
Nov 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Interesting book. I would categorize it as "chick-lit," which made it a little tedious for me. Despite that, I found the book enjoyable and interesting.

I gave it four stars for the brilliant use of language and story message. I loved the pictures and moods that the author drew using a few carefully chosen words. The main character's growth was uneven, bordering on melodramatic at times despite adequate motivation, but worked. The male characters were flat and stereotyped (two star), but since t
Cara St.Hilaire
Nov 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Anne Rivers Siddons is in my top five favorite contemporary authors. True - this isn't her absolute best, but it is strong. She has the best way of making you feel as if you are exactly where the book takes place and in the same time period. This takes place in the south (Alabama for the most part) during the ages of harlequin glasses and the budding civil rights movement. Siddons is able to, through fiction, illuminate what it was like then, which is something that those of us not alive in the ...more
Oct 21, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second novel by Siddons that I have read and I am still undecided about her writing. The story is about Maggie Deloach who is a privileged southern woman going to school in Alabama in the 1950's. Life is good and easy until Maggie does something that changes her outlook on life and herself. This was the Civil Rights Era and Maggie finds herself questioning her values and expectations. This novel started out a little slow for me but i did want to finish to see how Maggie matures and h ...more
Sep 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Written in 1976 about a very traditional southern college girl in 1956 Alabama whose mind is gradually awakened to the world beyond the narrow confines of her life. By the end of the book I found I really wanted to know what happened next to this young woman. It was fascinating to read about the beginnings of the civil rights movement from the perspective of a young woman of that time as the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington occurred in the present. The book had such a ring of truth th ...more
Sep 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Good novel about coming of age in 1956 Alabama. College student Maggie Deloach is taking summer classes at her Alabama university. Over the course of the summer, Maggie comes to terms with who she really is and who she wants to be and what is important to her. Siddons tends to use a lot of big words but she descibes everything so perfectly and detailed. I think she represented the era accuarately - often times the 1950s are very romanticized but this is written very realistically. This was made ...more
Kim Justice
May 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was required reading for one of my classes in college, but I really enjoyed it then, and have read it several times since. This isn't really a coming of age sort of story, it's really more of a coming into a conciouness sort of story, as the main character, Maggie Deloach, learns what she is all about. The details and the narrative combine to create a world that just sucks you in. Even if you're reading it in January of 2009 in NYC, you feel like you're sitting on a wide porch, lamenting th ...more
Lauren Denton
Jul 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book isn't nearly as cheesy as the title makes it sound. Engrossing story of a proper sorority girl at Randolph University (aka Auburn) in the 1950s, just as the civil rights tremors are beginning. As a writer for the student newspaper, she writes an "imflammatory" article favoring integration that turns everyone except a few people against her. The story is based on the author's experiences at Auburn, where she wrote a similar article that ended up gaining national attention and got her fi ...more
Michael Laflamme
Dec 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Well written character study. Excellent character development. It gives the feeling of being in the mid-50s in the deep south at the birth of the Civil Rights Movement. I was a little disappointed at the main character's response to events in her life toward the end of the book, I was hoping for her to be stronger. The last few paragraphs hint that she will become stronger after the close of the span of the story but I found myself wanting to witness that growth and felt let down that I was depr ...more
Becky Harris
Sep 16, 2015 rated it liked it
There was time when I read everything Anne Rivers Siddons published as soon as they came out in hardback. This was her first book and while it contains certain Hallmarks of her style and voice, it does read differently. It was enjoyable but not as engaging as some others. Her books are fast moving - you sit with the characters - but the characterization isn't as strong as her later works. Interesting, but not a must read.
Clayton Brannon
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A well written book that reflects to some degree the times in which this novel was written. It was published in 1976 and is about college life of the mid 50's and trials of young college students. I had a good laugh when she describes Destin, Florida as a sleepy little fishing village, which it was at that time but certainly not today. Overall well worth the read.
Melissa Delbridge
Apr 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: light-reading
The author does an excellent job of capturing a sheltered young woman's awakening to a world larger than the one her parents have prepared her for. Randolph is, of course, modeled on Auburn University, and as an Alabama native and a member of the generation after the one in the novel, I found it credible and fascinating.
Nov 02, 2008 added it
I just finished Heartbreak Hotel - the first book written by Anne River Siddons. It takes place on the campus of a small college in Alabama in 1956 and chronicles the coming of age of a young sorority girl as she becomes aware of the larger world. It particularly looks at the beginning of the civil rights movement and her new-found awareness.
Amy Jones
Nov 04, 2014 rated it did not like it
...WTF did I just read? And by just read, I mean literally the last few pages. What had been trundling along as a nice, entertaining, slightly predictable book, albeit one that was full of fairly offensive views on lesbians, became totally bizarre in the last chapter and knocked it down from a three to a two. So strange.
Britt Griffith
May 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: chick-lit, fiction
I really did not enjoy reading this book. I didn't like or understanad the characters, and there didn't seem to be a point to the plot. I feel like this was supposed to be a coming of age story, but nothing really drastic seemed to chang with the main character. Plus I found it boring. I give it a D.
Jan 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star-books
This is the 2nd book I've read by Anne Rivers Siddons (the first being Fox's Earth) and both have been 5-star books for me! Siddons has such a gift for storytelling and developing such multi-faceted characters that I just can't put the books down. Her books are based in the South and I love good Southern fiction too! I'll definitely be reading more by Anne Rivers Siddons.
Elizabeth Pinkley
Apr 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those interested in the era.
Read this book years ago, but did not remember the story. -----Hotel restored my thinking of Siddons as a really good writer. The works she has done in the past several years have not been, to me, the same quality writing as her earlier works. Was even more interesting to me since the story took place during my earlier years.
Privileged white girl discovers empathy during the Civil Rights movement. I'd love to see YA readers discovering this.

This was probably the most important book I actually read as a teen. It gave me my first insights into the struggles of others and the privileges I enjoy that others do not.
Mar 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2011-reads
These is something reassuring about these novels, despite my lack of ability to feel nostalgia for the timeperiod, I almost do. I love the portraits she paints of whites trying to come to terms with the Civil Rights movement.

I had not previously read this novel, so I enjoyed it even more than the others that I have been rereading.
Bonnie Welch
May 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Not her best work. I kept waiting for the story to draw me in. Typically Siddons is a master of the surprise ending and she did manage to work some of that into this book, but it was lacking the grip of some of her other works. I stayed with it because it was Siddons and, luckily, the final 20 or so pages gave it a good solid ending but if you've never read her, don't start with this one.
Jul 07, 2009 rated it liked it
Anne Rivers Siddons isn't quite a guilty pleasure--I really enjoy her novels, though I don't relate very well to her Southern heroines. This is one of her first novels. I liked it, but I didn't feel as drawn in as will her later ones. Still, a good summer read.
Jan 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
The perspective of this book is really the best part-from a southern girl waking up to the Civil Rights movement at its beginning. The details of life in the 50's really make you feel in the moment and her choice to reject the life that is almost in her grasp is really inspiring.
Sep 25, 2007 rated it it was ok
It was a little difficult to get into because of the time period, but I could definitely see someone who grew up during the time of the Civil Rights movement enjoying this book. I enjoyed the overall story, but couldn't relate to this book as well as the other Anne Rivers Siddons books I've read.
Oct 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This little book is one of the best book I have ever read. It deals with the 1960's intertgrtiom of a southern university. One student's acceptance of and passions for the changes and people envolved caused her to lose friends and family and to gain a deep understanding of the human conflict.
Barb Romans
May 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Liked it, was very interesting story about how negroes were still treated badly in the 60's in the south...had to buy the mivie based on the book titled 'Heart of Dixie' with Ally Sheedy... I liked the book better.
Mar 08, 2016 rated it liked it
3/5. This book was hard to follow at times, I thought it would be more about the 'times' but it simply followed a girl and her problems with her sorority. Not what I thought I was reading but I pushed through until the end.
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Born Sybil Anne Rivers in Atlanta, Georgia, she was raised in Fairburn, Georgia, and attended Auburn University, where she was a member of the Delta Delta Delta Sorority.
While at Auburn she wrote a column for the student newspaper, The Auburn Plainsman, that favored integration. The university administration attempted to suppress the column, and ultimately fired her, and the column garnered natio
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