Tuesday, June 11, 2013
The Receptionist - Now in paperback
Author: Janet Groth
Publication Date: June 26, 2012
Thanks to a successful interview with the painfully shy E.B. White, a beautiful, 19-year-old, blue-eyed blonde from the cornfields of Iowa lands a job as a receptionist at The New Yorker magazine. There she stays two decades, becoming general all-around factotum—watching and registering the comings and goings, marriages and divorces, scandalous affairs, failures, triumphs, and tragedies of the eccentric inhabitants of the 18th floor. Though she dreamed of becoming a writer, she never advanced at the magazine.
This memoir of a particular time and place is as much about why that was so as it is about Groth’s fascinating relationships with John Berryman, Joseph Mitchell, Muriel Spark, as well as E.J. Kahn, Calvin Trillin, Renata Adler, Peter DeVries, Charles Addams, and many other New Yorker contributors and bohemian denizens of Greenwich Village in its heyday. Eventually, Groth would have to leave The New Yorker in order to find herself.
From 1957 to 1978 Janet was the receptionist on the 18th floor of The New Yorker building. This was the writers and artists floor. Filled with intelligence, wit and words - this was the floor for an aspiring writer to start out on and slowly branch into the world of writing and publishing. Yet Janet never does. She stays the Receptionist. While she speaks of the constraints of women working at that time, she does admit that she was also stagnant in her career path partially of her own volition. Time and again she saw others rise through the ranks and move on to other careers.
She does give the inside scoop on many of the well known author's personalities and quirks, but throughout it all she speaks with respect in regards to them. There is no slandering going on here. You walk away from this book with the feeling that you now know some of these public figures just a little better.
Janet's goal was to become a writer and publish a book. In the end she achieved her goal, but perhaps not in the way originally planned.
Read an Excerpt Here: