Balconeers discussion

The Best of Everything - novel

Comments Showing 1-20 of 20 (20 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Nancy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:06PM) (new)

Nancy Loe | 53 comments Mod
Has anyone else read this? Given my love of MAD MEN, I'd be so happy if someone else could discuss this one with me.

message 2: by KC (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:06PM) (new)

KC | 42 comments Is this the one by Rona Jaffe? I remember thinking it was okay but not as good as Mary McCarthy's book on the same era - oh god what was that one?

btw - thanks for starting this group, Tinsel. And you can add Goodreads to your FaceBook page!!! Give me a weekend with my daughter and I turn into a web geek. :)

message 3: by Modbon (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:06PM) (new)

Modbon | 25 comments Mary McCarthy's The Group? Or a different one?

message 4: by Modbon (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:06PM) (new)

Modbon | 25 comments Heh, I've seen the movie several times, but never read the book. Because of "Mad Men," I've been trying to think of my favorite films about advertising, but a lot of them aren't from the 50s-60s era, drat:

The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit
Christmas in July
A Letter to Three Wives (ad. biz is peripheral)
Lost in Translation
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?
Lover Come Back

Two British films, both starring Richard E. Grant:

Honest, Decent, and True
How to Get Ahead in Advertising

And on t.v. there was "Bewitched," and when I was a kid I always thought I'd be really really good at coming up with slogans for Darrin :)

I wonder if The Lady Eve counts? "Pike's Pale: The Ale that Won for Yale!"

message 5: by KC (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:07PM) (new)

KC | 42 comments The Group - that was it. Man it's been a long time since I read either of those.

On those movies - I keep meaning to mention that I LOVE Robert Morse in Mad Men. It makes me think of HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING EVERY TIME.

"I believe in you..."(kc goes off singing to herself)

message 6: by Cilantro (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:21PM) (new)

Cilantro | 3 comments I had no idea The Best of Everything was a novel! Turns out we have it at work

message 7: by Cilantro (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:21PM) (new)

Cilantro | 3 comments Oooh! The library copy is an "advance proof" "to be published Sept.2, 1958" Simon & Schuster copy. Very yellow and crumbly. Fun!

message 8: by Nancy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:21PM) (new)

Nancy Loe | 53 comments Mod
As someone who owns the poster, half-sheet and lobby cards from this film, I'm jealous.

So are we going to read this?

message 9: by KC (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:22PM) (new)

KC | 42 comments Well, I thought I commented - but it didn't show up.

I'm game. Beside, it means a trip to Powells to track down a copy. YAY.

message 10: by Modbon (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

Modbon | 25 comments I just added BOE to my next online book order, so I should have it soon. Don't wait for me, though, I can catch up!

message 11: by Nancy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:42PM) (new)

Nancy Loe | 53 comments Mod
As it turns out, I'd not read the novel until just now. It may be a pot-boiler, but it's a very well done one and I'm surprised it hasn't been dissected by some feminist scholar somewhere.

I'll wait to discuss plot points until you're all ready.

But I don't know why Don Draper was reading this when it's set in 1952, was published in 1958, and released in theaters in 1959. Don wasting time on a best-seller from two years ago?

message 12: by Modbon (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:43PM) (new)

Modbon | 25 comments I just got my copy, but I have to finish this mystery first. Couple days, maybe, if I can stop falling asleep the moment I pick up a book.

Maybe DD was reading the movie version of the novel? Who knows :) Trying to get a feel for the pulse of NYC womanhood? Heh.

message 13: by KC (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:07PM) (new)

KC | 42 comments I finally finished it this weekend. It is surprisingly good. I was sort of stunned that she speaks so frankly of pre-marital sex and abortion. I think of my sister, who would have been 15 when this book came out, and I wonder at what kind of influence it had on her.

So I'm up for discussion at anytime.


message 14: by Modbon (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:08PM) (new)

Modbon | 25 comments I really enjoyed this! It's so different from the movie--hah, they practically had to write Crawford's part from scratch. I liked all the characters that we didn't meet in the film, like Barbara, the single mom who lives with her kid and mother, and her future hubby, whose name I just blanked on.

Favorite scene: when Caroline introduces Mike to her blind date as F. Scott Fitzgerald, and her dweeby date believes it! Hoot, cracked me up. That seems like one of those things that happen in real life and the author managed to insert it into the novel :)

My mom is about the same age as the women in the book--she was 20 in 1955. My mom is more like the "Midge" character from Mad Men...Bohemian beat girl, although she did do time in an office for awhile, and still has the paw prints on her behind to prove it. ;)

message 15: by KC (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:09PM) (new)

KC | 42 comments I loved that moment with Caroline too. I like Caroline a lot. But then we're supposed to aren't we?

I thought Barbara and her mom and daughter were fascinating. That awful Christmas party where mister creepy hands crawls under the table to look at her legs. OMG! I can't believe men like that.
(And they are still out there and they still try that shit, just not in public where there are witnesses.)

So, like Nancy, I'm still not sure why Don Draper is reading this a couple of years after publication. But maybe he's just not a big reader? And he's branching out?

Good read. Glad Nancy suggested it.

message 16: by Nancy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:09PM) (new)

Nancy Loe | 53 comments Mod
Barbara is still in the movie - they just changed her plotline to an office romance with a married man and her having a baby and pretending she was a widow. Then she still has to work with Baby Father and they have a couple of tense little scenes where he really feels conflicted and she's still carrying a torch. Martha Hyer played her and I think I read something about her giving up her career shortly after to marry Hal Wallis - which is a good thing because she's pretty wooden.

There were so many things I liked about the novel. I liked that the women mostly all progressed out of the typing pool, something that the movie equated with spinsterhood.

But will April be happy back in Bumblefuck? (At least she isn't in paroxysms of joy of over darning the socks of her intern, like in the movie.) I picture her 20 years later with five kids and boring everyone with stories of her soignée Manhattan years.

And what of Caroline? I think Jaffe was implying that she'd progress in her career, but then be stuck having affairs and never marrying, until she wakes up one morning and finds Joan Crawford caterpillar eyebrows.

And Gregg - who would have thought that actually was the plot from the novel. It seemed over the top to me in the movie, but that's probably because Suzy Parker read her lines phonetically off cue cards. Book David Wilder Savage seemed nicer than movie DWS. I got the feeling if Gregg hadn't been possessive he would have stayed with her, but in the movie he's just The Playa. Or maybe it's because I loathe Louis Jourdan with an intensity I usually only bring to the Bush Administration.

I felt sorry for just about every woman in this novel, especially Barbara and Caroline's mother.

message 17: by Nancy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:09PM) (new)

Nancy Loe | 53 comments Mod
And I want them to release season 1 of Mad Men already! I need to rewatch every single episode and I want some bitchin' extras, too, hopefully with stuff from the costume designers and the set people.

message 18: by KC (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:10PM) (new)

KC | 42 comments I think you've got the implication with Caroline right. Please god she's smart enough to avoid the Joan Crawford eyebrows (or do they just come with the career spinster kit??)

message 19: by Modbon (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:12PM) (new)

Modbon | 25 comments the time Caroline reaches Crawford's age, it will be the 1980s :)

I hope Caroline, if she exists beyond the end of the novel, joins in with the women's lib movement in the 60s. Or at least gets a Summer of Love!

message 20: by Nancy (last edited Dec 12, 2007 10:01PM) (new)

Nancy Loe | 53 comments Mod
This cries out for a sequel. Jaffe's still alive, isn't she?

Ellen Burstyn for Caroline? Or Jane Fonda?

back to top