Marjorie Morningstar is a love story. It presents one of the greatest characters in modern fiction: Marjorie, the pretty 17-year-old who left the respectability of New York's Central Park West to join the theater, live in the teeming streets of Greenwich Village, and seek love in the arms of a brilliant, enigmatic writer. In this memorable novel, Herman Wouk, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, has created a story as universal, as sensitive, and as unmistakably authentic as any ever told.
©1955 Herman Wouk (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
"Herman Wouk's Marjorie Morningstar is timeless.... Gabra Zackman has a sweet, warm voice, which she mixes with a seriousness that complements Wouk's prose and dialogue. Zackman's ability to change tone, from high-pitched to deep and feminine to breathless, brings the book and its personalities to life.... With Zackman at the mike, every chapter brings a new reason to continue." (AudioFile)
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"An excellent storyteller"
I am sort of a sucker for anything by Herman Wouk. As an aficionado of his WWII books, I expected this one (when I first read it a million years ago) to be too girlish for me; and it is certainly more soap-opera-like than the war books; but I think it is better than that implies. Wouk is attempting to get inside the mind of a mid-20th-century American as a way of exploring some big ideas. He is particularly concerned with the place of traditional moral values in a modern setting. His conclusions are seen by many as being bourgeois or reactionary, but I think that is going too far. He certainly favors traditional morality as a way to get through life, but he doesn't do it in the snide, condemnatory way that so many right-wingers use today. Bestselling novels just don't engage the kind of ideas that are in this book anymore.
And as a child of the rural midwest, this book was one I used to live vicariously in New York in its golden years. It is so evocative of a different era! And the characters are pretty well-drawn. Noel is exactly right as the seemingly super-accomplished yet really inadequate "genius" type; and Marjorie herself is an unusual heroine. I usually half fall in love with the heroines in Dickens or Trollope of whoever. Marjorie remained interesting and attractive without ever being the embodiment of perfection we usually get with such females.
The narration could have been better -- someone with a bit more sophistication and sureness -- and who could pronounce things a bit better -- would have been good. But well worth a listen, overall.
"Great story with really cheesy narration"
I adore this book and have read it several times. I have waited for years for this book to come out on audio. I was so disappointed by the quality of the narration. I felt that the narrator had very little interest in the story and was quick to stereotype the various ethnic characters. You'd think that when a story has such a rich diversity of ethnic characters the producers would have found a narrator who could actually pull-off accents and/or dialects. Her German characters sound Irish and she turns the "slight drawl" of Sandy Goldstone into something that sounds Texan, and all of the Jewish adults sound like Shecky Green. Although this is a book about New York and New Yorkers the narrator sounded Midwestern most of the book except when she was mangling dialects/accents of ethnic characters.
"An old favorite of mine revisited"
I first read this when I was a young teen and was thrilled to find it on Audible. Not quite as good as I remembered it but still very good coming of age story
The narration is superb. The narrator distinguishes many different voices consistently which makes the ease of following the story and identifying with the characters, flawless. All the characters are interesting and quirky. The story is engaging.
Anna Karenina because they are both period pieces and follow the journey of a girl into womanhood.
. I liked Marjorie's mother
The uncle, but I never did understand what his name was.
I use audio books when I am exercising. It is the only time I allow myself to listen to the story, so it needs to be interesting, engaging and witty to make me look forward to exercising. This book does the trick for me.
"Loved this again - 35 years later!"
I read this book many years ago and loved it - when I saw it on Audible I decided enough time had lapsed that it would seem fresh again. I am so glad I did. The performance is outstanding and the story itself is as well written and engaging as I remembered. It's a very long book and I have thoroughly enjoyed every bit. The characters and plot are well developed and multi layered and the nostalgic look back at 1940's era New York is a treat.
Definitely!. I recognized the characters immediately. I ‘knew’ them. They were family members, classmates, coworkers, people I grew up with. Their backgrounds and the setting may be different, but the people were all the same. Even though I personally know little about York City and the Theatre life, the story could be played out in any setting. The characters and the story are timeless.
Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. There were bits here and there that bogged it down a bit. The ‘philosophizing’ would sometimes drag out a bit longer than I thought necessary. Some dialog was a bit ‘wordy’. But they were more tolerable when listening to the audio version. I probably skimmed and skipped through a lot of that when I read the hardcover book 35 or so years ago.
Gabra Zackman did an excellent job with the performance. There were times, particularly at the beginning, when the men’s voices were a bit flat. But she either got better at reading their parts as the story progressed, or I got better at hearing it the way I thought it should be.
I first read Marjorie Morningstar when I was in high school. I still remember clearly discovering the book on the shelf, flipping through the pages, reading a bit here and there, and taking it to the counter to check it out, writing my name on the card to be filed away and the librarian stamping the return date on the slip of paper glued to the inside front cover. I read a lot of books then – two or three books a week for weeks and weeks at a time for the years I was in junior high and high school. Many of the books have long been forgotten. But Marjorie Morningstar stood out. When I saw it was available on audio book, I got excited and immediately downloaded it.
I had forgotten a lot of the details of the book. I think reading it as a 15 to 17 year old, I had a different understanding of the characters and the plot. The parts of the book, the message of the story, were different when read as a teen. Just as Marjorie’s point of view changed, so has mine.
I am now looking forward to reading/listening to more of Herman Wouk’s work. I think that might be the best reveiw/recommendation a book can have.
"Missing final chapter"
The book and performance are fine, but Audible has left out the final chapter that resolves and completes Marjorie Morningstern's life. Without this final chapter, the book falls flat. Sorry, Audible, but buyers should be aware of this error.
"Herman Wouk? Really?"
I LOVE Herman Wouk. But I'm just going to have to pretend that he didn't write this. It's not dreadful, it's just not in the same category as "Winds of War," "War and Remembrance," or "The Caine Mutiny." It's petty. I don't know if it was the struggle with writing about a woman or what, but this is definitely one Wouk book you can skip. But don't miss the others. They are brilliant.
"nostalgic 40's love story"
This brought back memories of yesteryear. I will definitely read it again and pass it on to my daughter to read.
The poignant description of the 40's and 50's mores and values of American women and the way they handled the conflicts of their religious beliefs to the developing American culture.
Marjorie, and I thought Gabra did an excellent job with all the characters.
Once started this book was very difficult to put down. The male characters in this novel had many profound observations about our culture and human nature. Herman Wouk had us all figured out.
"OOF, is it Wouk or Zackman who makes this so dull?"
I listen to several books a week due to the nature of my work. After nodding off and forcing myself to listen to a mere 2 1/2 hrs of this I give up. Listen to War and Peace or Wouk's Winds of War and War and Remembrance--all excellent.
Zackman's monotone drone and s l o w manner of speaking made it an agonizing 2 1/2 hrs, I'll steer clear of her in the future.
The book may be a better read on paper. I won't give up on Wouk.
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