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1185 Park Avenue: A Memoir de Anne Roiphe
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1185 Park Avenue: A Memoir (1999 original; edició 2000)

de Anne Roiphe

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The author describes growing up in a family marked by her parents' troubled marriage, its impact on her and her brother, and life on New York's Park Avenue during the 1940s and 1950s.
Membre:AnotherLizRose
Títol:1185 Park Avenue: A Memoir
Autors:Anne Roiphe
Informació:Touchstone (2000), Edition: 1st Touchstone Ed, Paperback, 257 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
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Etiquetes:nonfiction

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1185 Park Avenue: A Memoir de Anne Roiphe (1999)

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I first read Anne Roiphe probably forty years ago when her second novel, Up the Sandbox, was a bestseller. I also read the next one, Long Division, but then I kinda lost track of what Roiphe was up to. Then a year or two ago I happened to pick up what was then her newest book, a memoir called EPILOGUE, a painfully honest record of the year or two following the sudden death (of a heart attack) of Herman Roiphe, her husband of forty years. I was deeply moved by that book, enough to purchase this one, 1185 PARK AVENUE, the 1999 memoir which preceded EPILOGUE. This older book details Roiphe's life from childhood into adulthood, describing in stark elegant prose the profoundly dysfunctional family she grew up in. She came from a background of wealth and privilege, her mother, Blanche Philips, being the heiress to the Van Heusen Shirt Company. Her father, Gene Roth, however, was a Jewish immigrant who worked to put himself through law school. Roiphe's father was a deeply disturbed man who emotionally abused and neglected his two children. He was cruel and unsympathetic to his wife throughout their marriage. Roiphe's mother was no great shakes herself, leaving her children to be reared by governesses, fearful and unsure of herself her whole life. Her father was also a philanderer and a cad. Roiphe's younger brother, 'Johnny,' also was kind of a mess, a genius of sorts, but with no social skills and a streak of cruelty all his own. He was probably autistic, and, although he was married with a son, he may have been homosexual too, since he died of AIDS at a relatively young age.

They say that women tend to marry men like their fathers. Anne's first husband, although perhaps a brilliant young playwright, was just as abusive toward his wife and indifferent to his child and had Roiphe's father been. He burned up whatever money they had on alcohol and prostitutes. The marriage only lasted about five years.

As the title suggests, this is a book about family and a particular address. Park Avenue makes one think of wealth and privilge. The Roth family had that. What they did not have was love. By the book's end, Roiphe's parents and brother have all died. And since I'd read these books out of order, EPILOGUE first, I knew that Anne Roiphe's heartaches were not yet over.

This is obviously not a happy book, and yet there are moments that will make you chuckle. The prose is spare, direct and absolutely eloquent. Elegant, eloquent, beautiful - all words to describe the skill Anne Roiphe brings to her books. I would have thought Epilogue would be her last memoir, but at 75 Roiphe has just published to near unanimous critical acclaim yet another memoir called ART AND MADNESS, about her young adult years as part of the literary and artsy crowd of New York City in the 50s and 60s. I can't wait to read that one. But first I've got another of her books here to read, a kind of quasi-feminist book called FRUITFUL. Stay tuned. ( )
  TimBazzett | Mar 21, 2011 |
Wasn't sure what this was a memoir of really. Got about half way through and gave up.
  sunshine608 | Oct 9, 2007 |
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The author describes growing up in a family marked by her parents' troubled marriage, its impact on her and her brother, and life on New York's Park Avenue during the 1940s and 1950s.

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