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In the Land of Men: A Memoir

3.27  ·  Rating details ·  934 ratings  ·  183 reviews
A fiercely personal memoir about coming of age in the male-dominated literary world of the nineties, becoming the first female literary editor of Esquire, and Miller's personal and working relationship with David Foster Wallace

A naive and idealistic twenty-two-year-old from the Midwest, Adrienne Miller got her lucky break when she was hired as an editorial assistant at GQ
Hardcover, 340 pages
Published February 11th 2020 by Ecco
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Average rating 3.27  · 
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Julie Ehlers
I'd been spending my professional life, at GQ and Esquire both, reading fiction by men about men.... There sure were a lot of trains. Why were there so many prostitutes? And why were so many of the women dead?... Oh, if I had a dime for each time I read the sentence "She made me feel alive ..." (to which my private stock response was always "And you made her feel dead"). (p. 152)


"I'm sorry I'm being so outspoken and bad-tempered," [David Foster Wallace] said. "I seem to have no filter when I
Rhiannon Johnson
Jan 22, 2020 rated it did not like it
I received a complimentary copy of this release from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I’ll keep this one brief because I dislike discussing books I didn’t enjoy, but I want to share the good with the bad when it comes to my book reviews.

In the Land of Men by Adrienne Miller: At 22, Adrienne Miller was hired as an editorial assistant at GQ magazine and at 25 she became the first woman to take on the role of literary editor of Esquire. I wanted to know about her unique struggles whil
Marty Button
Jan 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I won a copy of this book through a Goodreads Giveaway.

The book started out great. The author and I are approximately the same age. She's a girl from the Midwest who loved reading as a child. I am a girl from the Midwest who loved reading as a child. She got a job in NYNY working for a magazine. Wow! She got the job I thought I wanted when I was a young college graduate. Her experiences in the city were interesting. Her interactions with male colleagues was spot-on with regards to the way the wo
Feb 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
This book could have been brilliant. It stated out so strong and I was really enjoying the story of Adrienne’s meteoritic rise to becoming the literary fiction editor of Esquire at twenty five. She talked a lot about how she was surrounded by men and sexism. And then there was the part where there was just a list of all the harassment she had dealt with spilled baldly out. In just a few pages. The rest of the book was just an ode to David Foster Wallace. She edited a few stories with him and had ...more
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
This is a well-written memoir with two separate objectives - relating her experiences as a literary editor at two men’s magazines and her relationship, both personal and professional, with David Foster Wallace. In the second half of the book, these two narrative lines run parallel to each other, but I think I would have preferred this to be two separate books. Both are interesting topics, but the DFW experiences overshadowed some really important points that she made about literature and the cha ...more
Bob Wake
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An instant classic. Adrienne Miller was the fiction editor at Esquire magazine in the late-90s when she was still in her twenties. Crossed paths with Mailer, Updike, Bret Easton Ellis, Dave Eggers, and, the real subject of her book, David Foster Wallace, whom she edited (some of his best short stories appeared in Esquire, including “Adult World (I),” “Adult World (II),” and “Incarnations of Burned Children”), and with whom she shared a romance, off and on, for several years. It’s something of a ...more
Caroline Leavitt
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Miller worked for Esquire and GQ before the MeToo era, and when the literary giants were all men. Here, she details her time as the fiction editor of GQ and includes her fraught relationship with David Foster Wallace. Not only is Miller really astute about things like power, chauvinism and writing, but her detailing of her relationship with Wallace is so, so moving. Loved this book.
Feb 17, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a highly uneven book. First of all, kudos to Miller for holding her own as Literary Editor at Esquire for 9 years. Her description of work there, the authors she met and her struggle to balance her feminist ideology with the job was worth reading.

I have mixed feelings about the material covering her relationship with David Foster Wallace. (This is more than half the book.) They were lovers and then later friends. He was ten years older than her, neurotic as hell, and haunted by many thin
Miss Bookiverse
Abandoned after 50%. I thought this would be a powerful career story of a female editor making her way in the male-dominated publishing business. And it kind of was that but instead of empowering it felt annoying and boring because it focused more on all the white men (especially David Foster Wallace) around Adrienne Miller instead of on herself. The small insights into the publishing world and into editing fiction weren't worth another 6 hours of Miller handling whiney, entitled men's first wor ...more
Feb 16, 2020 marked it as will-not-read
"Sexism and Genius Collide In the Land of Men"

Bonnie G.
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, nyc, audiobooks
This is a pretty wonderful book. Yes, as the other reviews state this book spends a good deal of time looking at Miller's relationship with David Foster Wallace. That relationship was a truly formative one, clearly one of the most important of Miller's life, and through the anger and meanness its clear that she loved him. I think he loved her too, but that is less clear, and since this is her story it is also less important.

DFW was a deeply troubled man, but also a genius - not because people s
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This felt...bland. Superficial. Choppy and scattered between her life at Esquire and her relationship with David Foster Wallace. She hit a couple of interesting points and then was off without actually saying anything about them. Whether we can read into a writer's real life through the fiction they write. How people can be good and bad. At one point she brings this up and says I just don't know. And I felt that this was her summary of the big questions in life, and her reason for writing this m ...more
Allison M.
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
From the moment I started reading In the Land of Man, I couldn’t put it down. As if Adrienne Miller is sitting beside you, telling you the truths of her early career with unsurpassed skill, wit and humor. This is a must read for any young woman or man about to enter the literary world. It is a tribute to any woman who has navigated her career with finesse and fortitude. And watch out. You will never read David Foster Wallace’s work in the same way again.
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
"The truth: my world had been built around protecting male egos. This was the world I lived in. This was the world I knew, and I never believed this world could, or would, change. It seemed incomprehensible that the system could ever collapse."

It's so easy to judge a book like this, and I felt pretty damn judgy while reading parts of it. The way she excuses DFW over and over again is gross, and I have a feeling we didn't get anywhere near the worst of it. Not even the half of it. Also, I've nev
Dan Solomon
Feb 22, 2020 rated it liked it
There are a couple of ways to interpret the half of the book that dominates the conversation around it (and a lot of the reviews I’ve read favor the less charitable one), but I think the book is very intentional about being frustrating in how it frames and makes excuses for David Foster Wallace’s genuinely shitty treatment of both the author and, er, pretty much everybody else. Miller does a really compelling job of clearly articulating all of the behaviors that made the dude such a fucking dick ...more
Greg Zimmerman
Apr 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
First appeared at https://www.thenewdorkreviewofbooks.c...

Adrienne Miller had the toughest easiest dream job ever: She was the fiction editor for Esquire in the late 1990s, which I don't know about you, but I think that sounds awesome. The late 1990s were the last gasp of the golden age of print magazines, but also the last hold out for the 'ol boys club that was the magazine industry. And nowhere exemplified that more than Esquire, the long-time publisher of dudes like Norman Mailer and John Up
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Miller is brilliant and witty as she recounts her rise from a young innocent editorial assistant at GQ to becoming the first female literary editor of Esquire! Pretty incredible! The era Miller ascended in was before MeToo, before women had positions equal to men. She offers a vivid portrait of what the literary magazine world and culture looked like back in the 90's. (Exceedingly Masculine) How she, a young woman had to find her place working alongside men, critiquing their work and being bold ...more
Apr 15, 2020 rated it liked it
While there are really interesting parts of this book, there is also a lot that drags. Parts of it read like a first draft that needed editing.
Doreen Ashbrook
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written and very interesting. Loved the trip down memory lane. Thank you Goodreads Giveaways.
Feb 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
Terribly written “memoir” filled with lies about the late David Foster Wallace. It’s disgraceful to all literature the depths Miller goes exploiting a tragic death for personal gain. Everything she writes is one sided and I can’t imagine how Amy and David’s parents feel knowing this is the exact bullshit David did NOT want after his death- which even miller herself seems to understand yet without shame proceeds to slander a man who can no longer get defend himself.
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Becoming the literary editor at Esquire at 25 is pretty incredible, especially, as is the crux of this memoir, for a woman in the nineties. Her depiction of the culture and climate of the magazine world, and learning to become an editor, is a great mix of dish-y details and reflection. Readers looking for insights into David Foster Wallace won’t be disappointed as she devotes most of the second half of the book to their personal and professional relationship. Her steady, cool style is the polar ...more
Nayley Husbaum
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In Miller's hilarious, heartbreaking memoir, she proves herself to be among the class of brilliant writers and thinkers that she is reflecting on. Through her intellectual relationship with David Foster Wallace, Miller displays her genius as a woman who was unafraid to push, criticize and motivate one of the most prolific writers of the era. In doing so, she also highlights the nature of the male dominated literary world, in which it is the job of brilliant women like Miller, who is a writer and ...more
Csimplot Simplot
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book!!!
Fraser Simons

Adrienne Miller’s memory is a fabulously keen thing. Her memoir is vivid and detailed and, to the dismay of some critics, apparently, approached entirely on her own terms.

Having entered the publishing world of GQ and, later, in 1997, the imminent Esquire, Miller proceeds to carve an almost Mad Men like career. Almost. Her boss only reigns in the spending, otherwise, it appears she is able to do what she likes and does it well.

But even from the start, she f
Jun 06, 2020 rated it did not like it
I had planned on giving this two stars instead of one because despite finding it a vile, insipid, hateful book, it's not incompetently written. It glides competently along on a sea of glibness and platitudes of the self-help meets Alchemist-ilk. The ending, though, where David Foster Wallace's suicide is followed by some mock-metaphysical waddle made me feel such despair over the future of literature, that it's down to one. This person worked closely with David Foster Wallace for years, that is ...more
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful and compelling memoir! This is a MUST read, and there is so much here to discuss! It's the story a young woman who worked as an assistant in a very male environment, think Devil Wears Prada, but if Andy was in a much tougher workplace, who had in addition to the normal assistant job headaches, had to deal with sexual harassment around every corner! It's also like if Mad Men was more focused on Peggy's POV instead of Don Draper's. The characters around her, especially the editor ...more
Mar 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
a compulsively readable but gossipy book about the author's time as esquire's literary editor, a job she rose to prodigiously at 25. all the best parts of the book are actually about process and life at the literary magazine, and while the title presents it as a confrontation with the patriarchy (and boy am I ever sure she had some battles as a twenty five year old woman dealing with male writers, some of them luminaries) this is mostly relegated to offhand comments to close out paragraphs, as t ...more
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is Adrienne Miller’s memoir about her time as the literary editor of Esquire magazine in the late 1990s and early 2000s. I was originally enticed into buying this book because Miller was in a romantic relationship with David Foster Wallace during part of her time as Esquire, and I’m fascinated by DFW. As I was reading the book, however, I became much more interested in Miller herself and less focused on her interactions with DFW. Astoundingly, Miller landed her Esquire dream job at the age ...more
Anna Iliff
May 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
Maybe it’s because I’ve worked in news, but I found this book to just simply be boring. I wanted more, and it seemed that the author had to justify her existence or what made her interesting in relation to the men in her life. I was surprised by the choices of stories that were included about working for her magazines, because they were just so uninteresting and so uninspiring that I couldn’t understand why that particular story or memory was included. This felt like a book without a purpose. I ...more
Alina Zerpa
Jun 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book! While the second half of the book is about her relationship with a well-known author, and she gets hate for it, I think it's important to the story. How else do you tell YOUR story about trudging through THE LAND OF MEN when it also includes LITERALLY BEING WITH THE KIND OF GUY WHO MAKES YOUR LIFE KIND OF HARD!! Having a relationship with a man is normal (if that's your thing) and I don't know why she gets hate for it.

It made me happy to read and understand her journey
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