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And her works at Mademoiselle are cited. This technique should make for boxy and irritating flow to the prose, but in fact achieves just the opposite. And I believe this interspersing of stories emphasizes the inner contradictions suffered by Sylvia.

Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953

If nothing else, she experienced the conflict of needing solitude to write while working in a deeply social setting. The "normalcy" of the bright and shining writer has long confounded readers. She adored fashion, ate to satiation, and enjoyed luxury. When not pulled back into herself, she could be entertaining and wryly funny.

Pain, Parties, Work : Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953

To me this work actually seems to complete a piece of the puzzle of the illness of the golden girl. Now, years later, psychiatry is well acquainted with the tragedy of the young person glinting with potential returning home from college and or work in complete breakdown. At the age of twenty, Sylvia was ripe for the breathrough of genetic predisposition or for the expression of neurochemicals or for the appearance of whatever theorized function of this breakdown that can occur in early adulthood. While the stress of Mademoiselle probably hastened the process, it seems unlikely to have caused it.

This interpretation of Plath's illness added a dimension to this novel for me. But one certanily can find contradictory meanings to mine and still feel trememdously fulfilled by the skill of this work. The author has taken a risk in format and I think it paid off well.

The prose is deeply compelling and one can almost feel that you can put down your book and find yourself in the newly stylish New York of the middle of the century.

Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer by Elizabeth Winder | eBay

I highly recommend that you read this book. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. In the summer of , Sylvia Plath and several other college girls were chosen as guest editors for Mademoiselle Magazine, to work on the college issue. A month long frenzy of activities, from work in the bull pen, to photo shoots, to luncheons, and to a round of parties, would ultimately become a series of defining moments for the young women.

Entering her senior year at Smith following that summer, Sylvia's plans to write her senior thesis on James Joyce came to a screeching halt when she found herself struggling with the readings, her comprehension seemingly gone.

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Self-confidence was at an all-time low when she attempted suicide, and subsequently spent time in a psychiatric hospital. But afterwards, in the Platinum Year of , Sylvia seemed "golden" again, with her newly blonded hair and her revitalized attitude. In later years, Sylvia would plumb the depths to write about the "hottest summer of her life. The Bell Jar burns with a merciless bathing-suit-in-the-dressing-room fluorescent light. Before Betty Friedan's book illuminating "the problem that has no name.

I remember these times well. And the fashions of that summer of were some that I recall with distaste. The fabrics, the styles Unattractive and binding, the subsequent decades could not come soon enough for those of us living then. One of Sylvia's friends during that summer, Neva Nelson, summed up their experiences: A portrait of the young woman, encapsulated in this moment in time, the story elicits sadness for the lost girl and the life cut short.

All truth, this is one of the most beautiful books I've ever had the pleasure to read. The damp air had made her voice husky and low, and she was beaming and sitting there crammed between Roger and Weasel while they openly discussed her: I forever love this. I also love the gentle pink and grey of the book design and the lists of boyfriends and different kinds of lipstick reds.

Riotously feminine, as am I. Yes yes yes please. Other books in this series. Sex at Dawn Christopher Ryan. The Gift of Therapy Irvin Yalom. Art of Loving Erich Fromm. Animal Liberation Peter Singer. When Nietzsche Wept Irvin D.

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Winder presented such a keen look into the magazine and lifestyle that Plath was faced with, as well as the influences on s women and later connections to the second wave of feminism and also highlighted when Plath began to breakdown. She also demonstrated a creative element to the traditional biography, making the layout so much more interesting. This was simply a marvelous book and something I would highly recommend to any fan of Plath. Sylvia was a golden girl who knew more about living than most. Everything that I've read about Sylvia Plath has been focused on either her poetry or her later life as a depressed, suicidal, mad woman, so reading this book which is all about her time as a carefree, fun and frivolous college girl was really quite a treat.

Anyone who has read The Bell Jar my all time favourite novel and one that h "Sylvia Plath was not the incarnation of the mad, obsessed poetess. Anyone who has read The Bell Jar my all time favourite novel and one that has never once been out of print knows that the story is semi-autobiographical and in this book we see the story that eventually led to Miss Plath writing that story.

During the summer of , Sylvia Plath and 18 other young college ladies trek to New York, stay at the Barbizon Hotel for Women and intern for Mademoiselle Magazine, something that Sylvia recalled as being 4 weeks of Pain, Parties and Work. It's during these 4 weeks that we get to know a very different Sylvia to what we generally hear about, she was a young woman who was so excited for the future and was thrilled to be working for one of the biggest magazines of the time. Not only is this a really great book about Sylvia Plath, it's also a fantastic look at young professional women of the s, so often women would go to college, get a great education and then get married, have kids and not use that college degree.

The women portrayed in this book though are something else entirely, they wanted more out of life and they went out and found it which was something that I found really refreshing. All the talk of fashion shows, makeup, cocktail lunches and nights at the ballet had me dreaming of a time when women were ladies and men were gentlemen, glorious. As an avid reader of The Bell Jar I found so many similarities with the first half of Esther's story and that of Plath during her time at Mademoiselle, this book is a really nice companion piece to The Bell Jar and essential for all fellow fans.

It's a very easily read, meticulously researched, beautifully written and just all round lovely look at the happy side of Sylvia Plath. Aug 04, Freesiab Bookish Review rated it really liked it. If you're looking to read a deep look into depression, this is not that book. This book is about the Sylvia that loved fashion and wanted to be a fashion magazine editor.

What her social life was like. It uses her writings and interviews from the women she lived with. It's done quite beautifully and a lovely new look at Plath. It may not be the most literary book but if found it insightful and original. Jan 27, Christina rated it liked it. Things that make me like Sylvia Plath a little less: May 16, Gitte rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Anyone interested in 50s fashion and culture, feminism and Sylvia Plath.

Sylvia rarely flattered the men in her life — she envied them. She was far more likely to compete with a man than a woman. Her room was the size of a decent closet — beige walls trimmed in maroon paint. The novel is about her downfall and her slow recovery, and ends on a happy note. A few weeks after the novel was published, Plath committed suicide. It was a constant fear, a threat, a reminder. In Pain, Parties, Work, Elizabeth Winder tries to depict what really happened that summer in New York, what the other girls on the magazine thought of Sylvia, the work they had to do, their ambitions and how they felt about the way they were described in The Bell Jar.

Time stopped as I read the first lines, forcing me to read slowly and carefully, rereading certain lines. Winder brilliantly describes the atmosphere, the glamour; I could almost feel the rush from the parties and taste the champagne. So we saw a man in a cab, and just walked right up to the door and opened it, and asked if we could slide across the seat and go out the other side.

Of course we never went out the other side — we ended up having a few drinks with him. It almost felt like hunger when I opened Pain, Parties, Work for the first time. It had some amusing stories, clever musings and gorgeous pictures. Before New York, the cracks were already there, but now they began to split open and gape, and the difference between how a thing or a place or a person appears and the reality becomes alarmingly visible, garish. There are limits to how much talk of lipsticks I can take — even though I do love the red little bastards. Above all, Sylvia prized beauty and form.

She was addicted to beauty, devoted to beauty — she worshipped Beauty. She often bought books for their color and texture.


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  4. Even her boyfriends were classically handsome. She cut away at her life until it fit the gorgeous blueprint she made for it. For more reviews and book talk, please visit The Bookworm's Closet Apr 17, Debbie Robson rated it it was amazing. At a quick glance this book is all about fashion, makeup, parties, interviewing celebrities - in short being one of 20 female guest editors for Mademoiselle magazine in June It is much more. Not only does Pain, Parties, Work offer real insights into the demands made on the young Sylvia Plath but it it chronicles the conflicting messages that young women were bombarded with by the media and by social pressure in the mid Twentieth Century.

    Plath and her generation were ladies first-they just happened to be young. You had to look like a young lady Unfortunately for Sylvia she was made guest managing editor. Besides, she was not well suited to editorial work-her deceptively fastidious persona belied a nature better suited to something wild and trackless Sylvia had expected more dazzle and glamour In reality she was spending hours chained to a makeshift desk.

    She felt painfully excluded from the frippery and fun.

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    All I can say is, no wonder she had a breakdown! Recommended for readers fascinated by one of the greatest poets of the century. Jul 07, Geena rated it really liked it Shelves: Elizabeth Winder's "Pain, Parties, Work: In her thoughtful, beautiful prose, Winder provides insight to Sylvia's dynamic personality. Sylvia Plath is often pigeon-holed as a doomed, tragic, depressed poetess, but fortunately Winder outwardly dismisses that convention, presenting the "true" Sylvia to readers, one who was capable of understanding and thriving in gr Elizabeth Winder's "Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath is often pigeon-holed as a doomed, tragic, depressed poetess, but fortunately Winder outwardly dismisses that convention, presenting the "true" Sylvia to readers, one who was capable of understanding and thriving in great darkness AND in great light.

    Like drug addicts, people are more than their problems, and Sylvia was so much more than her depression. Winder is one of the few biographers that truly does Sylvia justice, showcasing Sylvia in all of her volatile, capricious glory.

    The only criticism I have of Winder's novel is that I believe it would have been more coherent if she had left out some of the lengthy descriptions and chapters devoted to style and fashion in the s where it didn't relate back to Plath. While interesting, I didn't feel the need to know about how men preferred crew cuts and how city women preferred the matte look over the beach bronzed look.

    When Winder related the style and fashion of the time back to Plath directly or through the examination of the social and political constructs of the time, I found the descriptions relevant and intriguing. The passages where Winder failed to establish any connection back to Plath were ones I would have liked to see taken out.

    Overall, this was an absolutely fascinating read that I thoroughly enjoyed. Reading "Pain, Parties, Work" inspired me to pick up Mary McCarthy's "The Group" and other similar works centering around women coming-of-age in the s, male-dominated work force. Winder manages to elevate Plath to startlingly new heights, portraying her as even more beautiful, enigmatic, and vivacious than before. Apr 09, Serena rated it really liked it. The magazine was not only known for its fashion and celebrities, but also for the writing it published from heavyweights like Dylan Thomas and Truman Capote.

    Additionally, the magazine published its college issue. Read the full review: Feb 28, Kelsea Dawn Hume rated it it was amazing Shelves: Up until her 12th year, Sylvia Plath believed in mermaids. If you like that as much as I do, you'll probably love this whimsical, cliche-breaking biography. Eager to demolish the image of Plath as a joyless, suffering artist, Winder focuses on Plath's life leading up to the events of The Bell Jar: Winder digs deep -- much of her information comes from interviews of the other interns working at Mademo Up until her 12th year, Sylvia Plath believed in mermaids.

    Winder digs deep -- much of her information comes from interviews of the other interns working at Mademoiselle in the summer of A clear, comprehensive look at young Sylvia, this biography also offers a window into a world so fleeting I barely knew it existed. May 23, Andie rated it liked it. I'm not quite sure what there is left to say about Sylvia Plath, but rest assured, even though her bones have been picked pretty clean, I will probably read it.

    This book deals with the summer Plath spent in New York as a guest editor for Mademoiselle magazine. Author Elizabeth Winder does an excellent job of evoking the mid-century atmosphere of the city along with the stultifying expectations of young women - even those who were bright and ambitious. Given Plath's fiery ambitions and given limi I'm not quite sure what there is left to say about Sylvia Plath, but rest assured, even though her bones have been picked pretty clean, I will probably read it.

    Given Plath's fiery ambitions and given limited opportunities and confining roles for women, it's no wonder that she had a nervous breakdown at the end of the summer. The author has also interviewed many of the other women who were guest editors with Plath and their observations give contextual meaning to Sylvia Plath's story. This is a slim volume that is easily read in a couple of sittings. Recommended for anyone who wants to delve more deeply into Plath's story.

    Jun 13, Cristina rated it really liked it. Oof, I loved this book. I've been waiting for a book like this, actually, since The Bell Jar has always intrigued me. While Winder seemed tempted to write an overly positive portrayal of Sylvia, she brought in voices from Sylvia's Mademoiselle trip which really gave a through and varied description of her. Winder also included a lot of "fun facts" about Sylvia's favorite things and habits.

    The book, overall, painted a lovely picture of Sylvia: Most interesting, however, was this book's portrayal of Sylvia's first breakdown. Which makes it, of course, very heartbreaking. Oct 19, Quinn Collard rated it really liked it Shelves: Sylvia Plath is my favourite author, and as such I've read a number of books about her. But this was unlike any of the others, because it focused on such a specific period of time.

    It frustrates me how much her death overshadows every other element of her, so it was refreshing to read a book that didn't have to discuss it at all. I read this book as research for my NaNoWriMo novel this year, and it did provide insight into the areas relevant for my book. The author could get a little overly focu Sylvia Plath is my favourite author, and as such I've read a number of books about her. The author could get a little overly focused on seemingly trivial matters at times so much discussion of clothes! Mar 19, Miranda M.

    Brumbaugh rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is a great read to go with "The Bell Jar," as it explores the true story of the summer explored in "The Bell Jar. The chapter of the Glossary is particularly fun to read. I feel the author did a great job of trying to capture the spirit of the summer of There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Elizabeth Winder is also the author of a poetry collection. Books by Elizabeth Winder. Trivia About Pain, Parties, Wo No trivia or quizzes yet.

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