Book Reviews

Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart | Book Review

Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart | Book Review Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart
Genres: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Original Publication Date: 2007
Source: I purchased this book
Find the Author: Website, Goodreads, Amazon

Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart is the true story of two best friends experiencing the time of their lives in New York City during the summer of 1945. The Cleveland Plain Dealer raves, “Hart writes about that stylish summer with verve, recollecting with a touching purity a magical summer in Manhattan, seen through the eyes of two 21-year-olds, just as the end of World War II approached.” Marjorie and her best friend Marty are about to have the best summer of their lives.

A Summer at Tiffany

Do you remember the best summer of your life?

Summer at Tiffany is Marjorie Hart‘s charming tale of working at Tiffany’s, the iconic Manhattan jewelry store, during the summer of 1945. Marjorie and her best friend Marty, two naive sorority girls from the University of Iowa, are determined to spend the summer working in New York.

They somehow land jobs at Tiffany’s, the exclusive jewelry store, even though there had never been any women working on the floor.

Marjorie’s first impression of Tiffany’s is one of awe:

Inside, it was cathedral-like: spacious, serene, and cool. It made me gasp. On the paneled main floor, marble-framed mirrors reflected the light from the windows on the opposite wall. Diamonds shimmered from the counters as if they were alive, while solemn, dignified men watched them like sentinels.

Tiffany’s is not like any other store in the world. It is still the most iconic jewelry store in the United States.

Here is a 2016 documentary about it:

Marjorie and Marty work as pages and spend an unforgettable summer.  Their job is to deliver packages to different parts of the building, usually for repair. Celebrities enter the store, and the girls find romance, trying to survive on incredibly little money.

The summer of 1945 was a memorable one in New York:

A small airplane crashed into the Empire State Building, killing 14 people. World War II officially ended, sparking wild celebrations in the streets. New York City was also an innocent world of dances, Schrafft’s, and eating at the Automat.

Celebrities, including Judy Garland and Marlene Dietrich, are customers in the store and Marjorie observes them.

Life Lessons

There are some hilarious stories about their adventures at the famed store, and also about their experiences dating and socializing, and learning about New York City.

Marjorie learns some lessons about life that she will always remember. One day a wealthy customer is in the store to buy some expensive wedding gifts.

She says about her niece who had a successful academic career but is now getting married:

“I’m of the opinion there are more important things for a girl to learn,” the woman said emphatically as she wrote out a check. “I always say – the true measure of a person’s success is to be a person of value.”

This book is a lovely remembrance of a time long past but worth remembering.

Further Reading And Viewing

There was an NPR interview with author Marjorie Hart about this book:

Recalling a Summer at Tiffany

She also talks about the book and her life in this video:

Please read my reviews:

Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman by Sam Wasson.

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson.

The Greengage Summer by Rumer Godden.

People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.

Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.

Thank you for reading The Literary Lioness!

About Marjorie Hart

Marjorie Hart (born 1924), graduated from the University of Iowa and received a M.A from San Diego State University. She taught at DePauw University and the University of San Diego and retired Professor Emerita. As a cellist, she was a member of the San Diego Symphony. Her memoir, Summer at Tiffany, became a New York Times Bestseller.

I love books, writing, film, and television.

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