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Marjorie Morningstar

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  6,994 ratings  ·  642 reviews
A starry-eyed young beauty, Marjorie Morgenstern is nineteen years old when she leaves New York to accept the job of her dreams-working in a summer-stock company for Noel Airman, its talented and intensely charismatic director. Released from the social constraints of her traditional Jewish family, and thrown into the glorious, colorful world of theater, Marjorie finds hers ...more
Kindle Edition, 584 pages
Published January 15th 2013 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 1955)
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june3 I don't really know why Marjorie Morningstar was sensational in the 1950s, perhaps because of the reason you say. I don't know what you were expecting…moreI don't really know why Marjorie Morningstar was sensational in the 1950s, perhaps because of the reason you say. I don't know what you were expecting it to be. It's most definitely not (not not!!) Fifty Shades of Grey. It's more of an American Classic, on a par with Gone With the Wind, East of Eden, Catcher in the Rye, or The Great Gatsby. It's a novel that takes place in a time gone by (1930s and 40s) but with universal themes (growing up, growing wise, love, family, heartbreak, to name a few). (less)
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3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,994 ratings  ·  642 reviews


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Idarah
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I clearly remember the summer I turned thirteen. My mom, knowing what an avid reader I was, brought home thrift store copies of the books Gone with the Wind and Marjorie Morningstar hoping I'd make a dent in them during the summer. I got through four chapters of each book and gave up. I'm so glad I did! I ended up finishing Gone with the Wind a few years ago, and was so awed by the in depth research and history that went into the novel.

Now after finishing Marjorie Morningstar, I am equally amaze
...more
Arlene
Feb 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: loves of good novels.
This book grabbed me at the first paragraph. The synopsis above makes it sound so bland. It isn't. Herman Wouk is a skillful and talented author. His use of just the right word and inventive metaphors made this volume a joy to read. The characters were well fleshed out and fit the setting of the novel perfectly. The plot had enough rises and falls to keep the reader's interest throughout the over 500 pages. But best of all I liked this book for its glimpse into a culture and a world that existed ...more
Elyse Walters
Nov 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! This was one of my favorite books --- I just noticed a GR's friend marked to read it.

I'd enjoy reading it again myself!

HINT: (to our local book club) --if anyone is reading this: This would be a great pick for a 'classic' pick month.
S.E. White
Jun 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Judy

I remember one summer day when I was a young teen, a movie by this name came on afternoon TV. My mother, passing through the family room, hurriedly turned it off and forbade me to watch it. In her eyes, it was too advanced in concept (translation: sex) for a girl my age. She didn't know, of course, that I was reading Lady Chatterley's Lover or Tropic of Cancer at babysitting jobs. In the long view, none of these books did much to prepare me for womanhood, but at 13, I was just trying to learn ab
...more
Lword
May 14, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the Audible version of this book and that was the only reason I finished it. I choose this book because I loved "Winds of War" and "War and Rememberance" but Marjorie Morningstar was just unpleasant. If the relationship between Marjorie and Noel is love, I am happy to say I've never been in love, and don't want to be. Although there was some redemption in the end, I found it put me in a bad mood while listening. None of the main characters were likable, and Marjorie a sap, and Noel ...more
Margitte
Marjorie Morningstar took me through sleepless nights for an entire week. At first I couldn't get a grip on the book, apart from finding it interesting. But for some or other reason I just continued reading it to try and find the final message (to me) in it. It kept pulling me back for some more nothingness! Reading the last sentence I sat speechless and totally lost for words! One half of my mind proclaim it a brilliant book but the other half said it was boring especially when the author himse ...more
Lisa
Mar 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Women and teen agers.
I re-read my 1950's copy with Natalie Wood on the cover for years, until it fell apart. I was actually prompted to read this by a "Mad" magazine spoof, "Marjorie Morningkitten." I think it was "Mad." I love this book, with its vivid descriptions of Marjorie's wardrobe and aspirations, though I do find Wouk's portrayal of a female non-virgin heinously offensive now: "Never would he look at her the same way again." What a load of hypocrisy. Lost her cherry and is now damaged goods. This isn't my n ...more
Jessica
Sep 12, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked it less and less as it went along. I felt compelled to finish it but wished I'd never gotten sucked in. It was just really irritating to watch Marjorie be pathetic and weak over and over and honestly I get so tired of novels where everyone is small and miserable.
LM
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I requested this because everyone, but me seemed to have read it. Then I got the almost 600 page
monstrosity and there on the shelf it sat for a while. I felt like I was reading for years and years (actually I
was. the book starts when the character is 17 and ends when she is 23ish if I recall correctly) plus it was
hardbound so my wrists hurt. I guess I liked the story, but it was long and part of the length was due to a
particularly wordy character who I couldn't stand, namely because he didn'
...more
Maia
OK--I've finally finished it! This is my second reading--first time, I read it aged around 16 or 17 and from what i've been able to find on the Net, most female readers' reactions change quite drastically if they read the book a second time when they're older and married, perhaps also a mother.

Well, I'm 20 years older, married, a mother... But I see the book pretty much the same way I did then, the first time, which makes me wonder if a) I haven't changed that much or b) I was unusually astute t
...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
This could easily be 5 stars. Marjorie Morgenstern struggles for her desire for a career and her family's and culture's desire for her marriage. First published in 1955, it is reflective of New York Jewish society of the 1930s. That a man of that era would so readily portray how a woman could want something different is, I think, somewhat remarkable. The Women's Movement was yet unborn, to my knowledge, but certainly Wouk was aware of what has always been those women who wished for something mor ...more
Alan Simon
Dec 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the major influences on my own writing, and probably the one book that convinced me to give fiction writing a fair shot alongside technology and business books. Wouk expertly captures the essence of the period about which he writes. One can read the story today, or any time since about the late 1960s or early 1970s, and the "purity factor" would seem dated and probably even insulting to most women. However, if taken in the context of the time period in which the story is set (15-20 years ...more
Dana
Dec 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just realized that I never marked this as book I read......and read a long, long time ago, indeed. I was 15 or 16 when my mother told me I could read her copy of Herman Wouk's Marjorie Morningstar. That was not quite 50 years ago. I think (hope) I still have the book on my shelves somewhere! I don't remember everything about it, but I remember enough that I could still outline the plot for someone who might be curious. I also remember the last name of the man Marjorie ended up marrying in the ...more
Nicola
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Is it just me or is Marjorie Morgenstern a Jewish Scarlett O'Hara? I couldn't help comparing these two feminine heroines cast in sweeping historical dramas, both loaded with character, initiative and, well, chutzpah, yet both seem oblivious to the obvious truths right in front of their faces. It's painful when a book with a promising female character takes hundreds of pages to reveal that it is merely a story of a girl chasing a boy.
As for Marjorie Morningstar, I still can quite believe such a d
...more
Sherril
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I must have read Marjorie Morningstar as a teenager, which would have been in the late 1960’s. It was published in 1955, when I was just 4 years old. To be honest, I don’t recall what it was about, but I remember loving it. So, just now on May 17, 2019, as I read that Herman Wouk died today at 103, it stirred in me a “remembrance”, leading me into a circuitous rediscovery of all things Herman Wouk.

Wouk was famous for writing: The Winds of War, War and Remembrance, Marjorie Morningstar and The C
...more
Elizabeth
Apr 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this over one weekend when I was about 12 or 13. I wanted to be Marjorie Morningstar. "Nough Said? I need to re-read this at age 50. I'm smiling just thinking about how much I loved and how I devoured this book. Perfect coming of age "drama" for a "tween" growing up on New York's Upper West Side. Wonder what my end of 9th grade daughter would thnk about this book...Hmm...We'll see...
Susan
Jul 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Herman Wouk captures the period (1930's to 1940's) quite well. It is a well-written, if overly long, story of a dreamy, gorgeous young, Jewish girl whose parents want the best for her (wehich may mean marrying a doctor and living in the suburbs). Marjorie is pursuing her dream of becoming an actress and meets the quintessential Peter Pan himself: Noel Airman, ne'er-do-well son of an important Judge Ehrman. Every man who meets Margie falls in love with her, but Margie is set on Airman - how the l ...more
Anna
Aug 09, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: struggling actors, fans of the theater, anyone in love with a jerk
This is like the 1930s version of Reality Bites--good girl dabbles in a bohemian lifestyle, and finds herself torn between the artistic jackass she loves and the nice Jewish boys that bore her.

While I was repeatedly stunned by how much Wouk gets it right, even for a book set in the 1930s (sexual politics between men and women, class politics in a melting pot nation, backstage politics of the theater), I was frustrated by the lack of a clear story arc. There are definitely parts of the novel tha
...more
Karen
Aug 16, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Argh. I really enjoyed the settings (Manhattan between the wars, summer camp for adults [like Moss Hart in Act One:], crossing to France in an ocean liner, all the cocktails and hats and dancing). In terms of its attitude about women, though, the period feel is much less charming. I'm usually okay with the dated tone of mid-century books but somehow the dismissive misogyny of this one really bugged. Maybe because it's written by a man from a woman's perspective? Maybe because it's too long? It's ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I tried hard, but I just can't stick it with this one. I guess I just can't read Wouk. I've tried a couple of his others. He knows how to write, but he's too long-winded for me.
If you're going to like Marjorie Morningstar, you have to be familiar with (or at least care about) all the 1930s class distinctions in Manhattan and NYC in general. The characters obsess endlessly about who lives east or west of certain streets or landmarks, and what it means about their social standing. Bleh.
MJ
Apr 04, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you god, I finally came to the end of this 600 page beast. I loved the 1950’s feel of the novel, with many of the scenes so true to life, and Who can ever forget “Neville the Devil” biting the judge at the Seder. I didn’t love any of the major characters, and couldn’t wait for the misery to end.
Michael Canoeist
Jun 30, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, Herman Wouk's death prompted me to read this one. So first, Goodreads stars -- I went to the bottom of the scale to figure out where this experience should rate. Only the 1-star is negative; three of the star ratings are positive and the 2-star is a wishy-washy it was o-kaaayy. So 1 star it is, this is not a good book. Novels that date are novels that aren't about real people; that is why they've dated. They are about something else, passing fads, authors' personal conceptions (often miscon ...more
Sallie Dunn
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Classic Wouk, I’ve loved many of his works
LeahBethany
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had wanted to read Marjorie Morningstar ever since I read about it in The End of Your Life Book Club (it's the mother's favorite book). I had put off reading it though for two years as it was so long. I'm glad I waited as it always seems to be that a book finds you at the right time and Marjorie Morningstar found me at the right time. It brought back so many memories of being young and in love and unsure of most things and I could identify with so much of Marjorie's life (which might seem odd ...more
Carol
Oct 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shannan
Jan 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, my-favorites
This book threatened to destroy me and all the other Shirley's out there! It was like reading about your own weaknesses, the poor choices you've made in life, the regrets, the lost loves, the could have been's, and the stark reality of who you've become and what your life really turned out to be. Not that it all turned out negative. It is just shocking to read something so true and feel so exposed just by reading a book.

Wouk is an exceptional creator of deep and true characters, however, someti
...more
Kristin Lee Williams
I really loved this charming novel. There were some stale sections (honestly, I think there are stale sections in all of Wouk's novels). But taken as a whole it was really lovely.

Marjorie Morningstar is like every young girl: starry eyed, searching for significance. Of course, times have changed and things are different but, really, haven't we all been charmed by a man who isn't right for us? Blinded to who he really is because of our infatuation? I know I was.

In the end, Wally Wronken is somew
...more
Beverly Schneider
I loved this book - I love everything I have ever read by Herman Wouk, but I read this book so many years ago, I'm afraid I can't write a substantive review. I can only say I know it was a fabulous book and recommend this and every other book this author has written to you unequivocally. I would like to add that I found this book in my home when I was still practically a child - it's what got me hooked on this author. I read it and could not put it down while I was reading it. I think it's a tru ...more
Jessica
I confess that I only made it to page 360, but I was dying of boredom.
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Herman Wouk was a bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning Jewish American author with a number of notable novels to his credit, including The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War, and War and Remembrance.

Herman Wouk was born in New York City into a Jewish family that had emigrated from Russia. After a childhood and adolescence in the Bronx and a high school diploma from Townsend Harris High School, he earne
...more
“I think it's a bit like coming to the end of a book. The plot's in its thickest, all the characters are in a mess, but you can see that there aren't fifty pages left, and you know that the finish can't be far off. ” 10 likes
“About the nicest thing God ever invented was alcohol. He's proud of it, too. The Bible's full of kind remarks about booze.” 9 likes
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