Monday, May 13, 2013

TLC Book Tours: Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953 by Elizabeth Winder

Title:  Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953
Author: Elizabeth Winder
Format: ARC
Publisher: Harper
Publish Date: April 16, 2013
Source: TLC Book Tours

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a non-fiction fan.
  • You're interested in Sylvia Plath.
What's the Story?:

From "On May 31, 1953, twenty-year-old Sylvia Plath arrived in New York City for a one-month stint at "the intellectual fashion magazine" Mademoiselle to be a guest editor for its prestigious annual college issue. Over the next twenty-six days, the bright, blond New England collegian lived at the Barbizon Hotel, attended Balanchine ballets, watched a game at Yankee Stadium, and danced at the West Side Tennis Club. She typed rejection letters to writers from The New Yorker and ate an entire bowl of caviar at an advertising luncheon. She stalked Dylan Thomas and fought off an aggressive diamond-wielding delegate from the United Nations. She took hot baths, had her hair done, and discovered her signature drink (vodka, no ice). Young, beautiful, and on the cusp of an advantageous career, she was supposed to be having the time of her life.

Drawing on in-depth interviews with fellow guest editors whose memories infuse these pages, Elizabeth Winder reveals how these twenty-six days indelibly altered how Plath saw herself, her mother, her friendships, and her romantic relationships, and how this period shaped her emerging identity as a woman and as a writer. Pain, Parties, Work--the three words Plath used to describe that time--shows how Manhattan's alien atmosphere unleashed an anxiety that would stay with her for the rest of her all-too-short life.

Thoughtful and illuminating, this captivating portrait invites us to see Sylvia Plath before The Bell Jar, before she became an icon--a young woman with everything to live for."

My Two Cents:

Sylvia Plath is absolutely fascinating to me. Here is a woman that was smart and wrote so many really prolific things yet her legacy is overshadowed by her untimely end at her own hand. How did she get there? How does someone with so much talent have such a tragic ending? It's really hard to reconcile.

In "Pain, Parties, and Work", the author, Elizabeth Winder, seeks to show how Plath's month in New York City as a guest editor for Mademoiselle magazine set Plath's tragedy in motion. This month in NYC happened approximately a decade prior to Plath's suicide. Plath attempts suicide for the first time soon after being in New York City.

I think it is a very interesting supposition to think that this one event changed the course of Plath's life. You can see that the author definitely did a lot of research on Plath's life but a lot of it is second hand information. Plath was a fastidious journal writer but only writes one entry while in New York so much of the first hand information comes from Plath's writing before and after the month in NYC, which I think is really interesting as I am not sure how you can make a firm leap that this month changed things so much. However, that being said, I think that this book is extremely fascinating.

This was a picture of Plath that I had not seen before. I really would like to read some of her letters and personal writings now as aside from this book, my reading on Plath has been really limited to her fiction and poetry.

Overall, this book would definitely interest those that want to learn more about Plath and her life before her tragedy.

Follow the Rest of the Tour:

Tuesday, April 16th: Savvy Verse & Wit
Wednesday, April 17th: 50 Books Project
Thursday, April 18th: Veronica M.D
Wednesday, April 24th: Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, April 24th: The Road to Here
Monday, April 29th: nomadreader
Tuesday, April 30th: Man of La Book
Thursday, May 2nd: The Blog of Lit Wits
Thursday, May 2nd: Necromancy Never Pays
Friday, May 3rd: Luxury Reading
Monday, May 6th: Sophisticated Dorkiness
Tuesday, May 7th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Wednesday, May 8th: Book Hooked Blog
Monday, May 13th: A Bookish Affair
Tuesday, May 14th: missris
Wednesday, May 15th: guiltless reading
Thursday, May 16th: The Scarlet Letter
Monday, May 20th: Peppermint PhD
TBD: Oh! Paper Pages
TBD: Speaking of Books


  1. Plath is certainly an interesting figure, and this sounds like a compelling look at her life! I'm fascinated by anything set in New York City, really, so I'll have to add this one to my list.

  2. I didn't realize that her first suicide attempt came shortly after her time in NYC. It certainly does lend credence to the author's theory.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  3. "I think it is a very interesting supposition to think that this one event changed the course of Plath's life."
    This idea crossed my mind a time or two as well...I do think that Plath was already at risk for serious depression. I do, however, think that the archaic treatments she endured could have very well messed her up even more than she already was.
    I enjoyed your review. :)


Hi! Welcome to A Bookish Affair. If you leave a comment, I will try to either reply here or on your site!

As of 6/6/2011, this book is now an awards free zone. While I appreciate the awards, I would rather stick to reviewing more great books for you than trying to fill the requirements.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...