Judy's Reviews > Marjorie Morningstar

Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk
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it was amazing

Marjorie Morgenstern is 19 years old, a beautiful daughter of Jewish immigrants who have steadily climbed into a comfortable upper-middle class life in Manhattan. When Marjorie meets and falls in love with the director of a summer stock production at a retreat in the Catskills, she loses her naiveté, her innocence, and her heart.

Herman Wouk's classic novel follows Marjorie's romantic and theatrical career, including how she dismisses several eager and ardent suitors in favor of the self-absorbed Noel Airman, whose talent and potential she exaggerates because she simply is too young and inexperienced to realize his limitations as an artist and as a man. This is a big, fat novel that follows Marjorie through her protracted and alternately ecstatic and dreadfully painful ultimately relationship with Airman. In the process, it paints a classic story of assimilation from a first-generation American who casts aside the Jewish traditions that had held families and communities together for generations. It is also a cautionary tale about the famous Yiddish saying, "We grow too soon old and too late smart."

When Marjorie is already deeply wounded by Airman's flighty behavior, her father, worried about her declining mood and health, asks her, "Tell me, does he mean as much to you as that? Even after a year? There are so many men in the world. Does it have to be him?

Something pathetic in his tone, and in his look, brought a catch and a dryness to her throat. 'Papa,' she said, 'I'm a girl, you know. I can't help it.'"

Wouk's brilliant character portraits include not only Marjorie and Noel Airman, but Marjorie's parents, her best friend Marsha, and her Uncle Samson-Aaron, with a big heart and a big appetite that will lead him to trouble. An unforgettable book.


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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
December 7, 2014 – Shelved

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