Friday, 6 November 2009

Manhattan when I was young (Cantwell) 478

What a fascinating read Manhattan when I was young was. It is a wonderfully elegant account of Cantwell's life in New York in the 1950s. She moved there just before she married her fiancee B, and started working on the magazine Mademoiselle, and was later to work for Vogue. The book is split into five sections, each of which correspond to a place where she lived in New York and outlining the events of her life which happened while she lives there. It gives the reader a real insight into life in the period.

Whilst much of Cantwell's life is entertaining and amusing, unfortunately it doesn't work out that way. She gets married, has two children, but then suffers considerable mental health problems, quitting her job and spending years in therapy. Marriage is somewhat loveless and Cantwell is racked with guilt about the thought of divorcing her husband, but this is inevitable.

This forms part of a trilogy of memoirs by Cantwell, including American Girl and Speaking with Strangers (none of the others are published as VMCs) and I am certainly interested to read more about her. Just the one VMC edition, above.


  1. I have all three on hand--they all sound good and I look forward to reading them...eventually. The NYC one sounds especially good!

  2. Danielle - I am very keen to read the others now, even though they're not published as VMCs.