It’s #FridayReads with Albert Whitman Staffers! Social Media Coordinator Danielle Perlin discusses her current reads:
For the past few years, I’ve received a new The New Yorker magazine weekly. As a features writer, I absolutely love diving into a new 10-page feature story. I’ve read so many obscure, intimate, upsetting, and electrifying stories from all over the world because of The New Yorker magazine staffers’ amazing work. I thought this week’s magazine cover in particular was extremely relevant to my job at Albert Whitman.
When I was scrolling through Nook deals from B&N one day, I came across a memoir, The Receptionist: An Education at The New Yorker. I knew at once that I’d be interested in purchasing it. The memoir, written by Janet Groth, discusses her 21-year tenure at The New Yorker as the receptionist on the eighth floor, beginning in 1957. Using flowery language throughout her memoir, Groth describes her personal relationships with writers, discusses “jealous wives checking on adulterous husbands … and was seduced, two-timed, and proposed to by a few of the magazine’s eccentric luminaries.”
Although I haven’t finished it yet (I will soon!), I love the way it’s written. There’s so much depth to Groth’s writing, and you have to pay attention to each and every word to understand the full meaning of the sentence, the paragraph, and the chapter. The chapters don’t necessary flow together, but I don’t think they’re meant to, as each one lets the reader peak into Groth’s life and into the world of the late 1950s, the ’60s, and the ’70s.
My favorite part about Groth’s memoir, so far, is reading about how she took messages at The New Yorker and how people communicated back then. With all the technology we have now, and with peoples’ diminished attention spans, I just have to wonder if technology, and the distraction it causes, keeps us from perfecting our work — in Groth’s case, she challenged herself constantly to be a better writer. Groth’s classy attitude, honesty, and perseverance in attaining her goals is really empowering to me as a woman. Usually, when we hear about a woman in the ’50s, she was a housewife; at least, that’s the general portrayal. But Groth went to college, moved to New York City on her own accord, and eventually became a professor. I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of this memoir, and I’m grateful I decided to buy this book.