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In the Land of Men

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3.73  ·  Rating details ·  63 ratings  ·  21 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
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Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 11th 2020 by Ecco
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    Release date: Feb 11, 2019
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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
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    Rhiannon Johnson
    Jan 22, 2020 rated it did not like it
    Shelves: 2020-february
    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
    ...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.
    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
    Susan
    Feb 11, 2020 rated it liked it
    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
    Marty Button
    Jan 14, 2020 rated it liked it
    Shelves: giva-aways
    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
    ...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.
    Kate
    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
    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.
    Katy
    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!!!
    Stephanie
    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
    Teresa
    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
    ...more
    Hanns
    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.
    Caroline
    Feb 16, 2020 marked it as will-not-read
    "Sexism and Genius Collide In the Land of Men"

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/11/bo...

    Daniel Hall
    Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
    Read in about two days. The concept was interesting but no follow through on the problem of sexism in the workplace. Plus her response, whether from her collegues and superiors or DFW himself, was mainly an angry yet passive acceptance of "that's the way it/he is."

    Also, there were just some metaphors and other ornaments that stopped me in my tracks: "My mind became an abandoned amusement park."!! "Clothes were ... armor and talismans ..[A]gainst fear--they were a way to assert your superiority
    ...more
    Sarah
    Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
    This book held a lot of promise for me. I love reading stories of women who persevere despite difficulties. To be an editor at such a young age in a workplace that was incredibly male-dominated - I thought this would be filled with tales of her struggling to earn respect, how she worked harder, and the disparities between her and her male counterparts. These things were touched on as the memoir progressed, but I felt they were more throwaway moments. The beginning began strong, but it didn't ...more
    Barbara Zeller
    Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
    I found this book fascinating. The first half is a bit jumpy, reflective of the path Adrienne took to her dream job as literary editor of Esquire in the 1990’s. The second half is laser-focused on the magazine publishing world (the challenges she faced as a woman maneuvering through all the male testosterone), fiction writing/editing, and on the author’s relationship to David Foster Wallace. There are so many small gems in this book, that it deserves a careful reading.
    I knew that any book where
    ...more
    Alice Driver
    Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    The truth of her words will stay with me

    As a woman and a writer I could relate to so much of what she wrote about living in the land of men, which we still do (we live in a land where almost all major decisions and centers of power are still made & created by and for men). She writes with a lot of wit about dealing with uncannily abusive DFW and manages to capture why we love, despite all difficulties, people who are often dark and mean.
    Emily Jordan
    If you want deep insider info on David Foster Wallace or on what it was like to work at Esquire when magazines still existed this is the book for you. (Spoiler: Esquire was sexist, men are men and DFW was DFW.)
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