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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Where is Rosalind Russell When You Need Her?

White Collar GirlWhite Collar Girl by Renee Rosen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Having grown up during the period the book covers and having worked during that time it was easy to identify with some of the storyline. Nevertheless, though the historical events described were pretty accurately portrayed, there was a nagging in the back of my mind--this isn't the way it was for me. Maybe because my Mom worked in offices in lower Manhattan, maybe because my aunts all worked there, too, maybe because my Father always encouraged me and my sister to study and seek careers and maybe because we didn't have a brother who was considered somehow more gifted than us, the whole description of discrimination and lack of appreciation for a woman's place in the office was alien to me. Not to say these attitudes weren't present but I either was so self confident that I missed it or I was lucky enough to work in places where it wasn't so prevalent.
Whatever the reason, I found Jordan to be immature and impulsive. Driven, for sure, but lacking in focus. There are things that I do recognize--girls like M who didn't have self-assurance and who saw themselves as adjuncts to whatever male was present in their lives. I never understood those women and in truth, had more male friends than women because of it. Yet, the tone of the author in describing Mrs Casey and her perfect home and family really rubbed me the wrong way. I felt a mockery in this woman's choice of life-style. Many women then and now opt to keep a beautiful home and focus on their children and husbands comfort and nurture. That is a choice just as much as the choice made by Jordan to place her career before everything and everyone. I didn't see her striving to succeed as a journalist any more gratifying for her own self than any other woman portrayed.
M wanted to impress Mr Ellsworth, and Jordan wanted to impress her father. What is the difference? They were both more concerned about the men in their lives, as was Jordan's mother, despite the mantra they purported to follow. The advice given to Simone de Beauvoir by Jordan's mother was laughable in the context of the female characters in the story" Never put a man first--Ever" Really. Not only is M made to dress like Marilyn Monroe in her effort to express herself but the story line of her life is parallel to that sad woman's in so many ways.
As a matter of fact, the whole dropping names such as the twins, soon to be the advice columnists, Ann Landers and Dear Abby, Studs Terkel and across the bar room glimpses of Mike Royko were nothing but filler and served to create a blurb on the back cover of the book.
Did I find anything positive about the book--oh, yes, I did. As stated before the historical events were incredibly interesting, especially those involving the Daley machine in Chicago. The running down a story in the period before cell phones and computers was fun to remember--imagine, having to find a phone booth to call in a scoop. The meetings with informants was exciting. These things kept me reading the book, despite my impatience with the woman protaganists--here as in real life, I liked the guys better.
Yet, in the end, after finishing the book, I yearned to watch Rosalind Russell once more in His Girl Friday I received an uncorrected proof from Goodreads in exchange for review.

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