Careers for Women
New York in the late 1950s. A city, and a world, on the cusp of change..Maggie Gleason is looking toward the future. Part of a midcentury wave of young women seeking new lives in New York City, Maggie works for legendary Port Authority public relations maven Lee K. Jaffe--affectionately known to her loyal staff as Mrs. J. Having left Cleveland, Maggie has come to believe that she can write any story for herself that she imagines.Pauline Moreau is running from the past--and a shameful secret. She arrives in the city on the brink of despair, saddled with a young daughter who needs more love, attention, and resources than Pauline can ever hope to provide. Seeing that Pauline needs a helping hand, Mrs. J tasks Maggie with befriending, and looking after, Pauline.As the old New York gives way to the new, and Mrs. J's dream of the world's largest skyscraper begins to rise from the streets of lower Manhattan, Pauline--with the aid of Maggie and Mrs. J--also remakes herself. But when she reignites the scandal that drove her to New York, none of their lives will ever be the same. Maggie must question everything she thought she knew about love, work, ambition, and family to discover the truth about the enigmatic, strong woman she thought she had rescued. Careers for Women is a masterful novel about the difficulties of building a career, a dream, or a life--and about the powerful small mercies of friendship and compassion.

Careers for Women Details

TitleCareers for Women
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 25th, 2017
PublisherLittle, Brown and Company
ISBN0316363839
ISBN-139780316363839
Number of pages304 pages
Rating
GenreFiction, Historical, Adult Fiction

Careers for Women Review

  • Anmiryam
    April 18, 2017
    Whoa, I'm first to review this book. Here's hoping I'm not the last, nor the only one, to think it's wonderful.The slim size of this novel is deceptive. In fewer than 300 pages, Joanna Scott crafts a narratively complex tale of women's lives the late 20th Century. Given the title, the workplace is central, but it is clear that there is irony embedded into Scott's use of the word career. Her characters's "careers" include prostitution, depressed housewife, single mother, romance novelist, secreta Whoa, I'm first to review this book. Here's hoping I'm not the last, nor the only one, to think it's wonderful.The slim size of this novel is deceptive. In fewer than 300 pages, Joanna Scott crafts a narratively complex tale of women's lives the late 20th Century. Given the title, the workplace is central, but it is clear that there is irony embedded into Scott's use of the word career. Her characters's "careers" include prostitution, depressed housewife, single mother, romance novelist, secretary, and blackmailer. While the focus is primarily on three women: Pauline Moreau, Lee Jaffe and the narrator, Maggie Gleason, their lives are shaped by the broader world, specifically the physical transformation of New York City with the building -- and ultimately the destruction of the World Trade Center -- as well as changing mores around corporate ecological responsibility and the costs of what we so blithely label as progress, and ultimately, the wrenching destruction caused by patriarchal assumptions about women. As the story of Pauline Moreau and her daughter Sonia is told by Maggie Gleason, out of chronological order, the mystery and pathos of her short life becomes reflective of the transience and shortsighted nature of so much human endeavor. Told in a voice that is often wry and amusing, it's only after you've been entranced by the brisk pace that Scott peels back the layers of blithe prose to make the book's tragedy sting. Maggie's voice threads through the book though she hides it with point of view shifts -- first person, third person, second person are all used effectively -- the reasons for which become clear only later on. Through it all, you never lose the sense that Maggie is at the helm -- no matter the perspective there is a directness and a casual though knowing tone that is consistent. In many ways, this is a story in which the mystery is not what happens to Pauline, but how Maggie discovers the story. As the novel hurtles onwards these questions are answered and we come to understand how Pauline's life and death transform Maggie. Counterbalancing the impact Pauline has on Maggie, is the equally compelling portrait of Lee K. Jaffe, the real-life trailblazing Director of Public Relations at The Port Authority of NY & NJ. When we meet her in 1958, in the book's opening scene, she is mentoring the young women who work for her over a boozy annual lunch. Here and elsewhere in the novel Ms. Jaffe emerges as a counterpoint to so many negative portraits of mid-Century women in positions of power. She is determined, persistent, and ambitious, but she is also accepting, supportive and caring -- a clear counterpoint to the novel's male characters. I liked her enormously and was thrilled to learn how central she was in the story of the World Trade Center. In fact, I fell for all the women in this smart, readable and illuminating book. I think a lot of other readers will too.
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  • Tonstant Weader
    July 30, 2017
    It was the cover of Joanna Scott’s Careers for Women that drew me to this book. The retro advertising art suggested a light bit of humor and sophistication that I expected to enjoy immensely. It began exactly as I expected, with a group of women mentored by their supervisor, the famed Lee Jaffe of the Port Authority, a story of the subtle wit of women navigating professional life in the oppressive working world of the Fifties and Sixties.However, there is much more to the story than that. We hav It was the cover of Joanna Scott’s Careers for Women that drew me to this book. The retro advertising art suggested a light bit of humor and sophistication that I expected to enjoy immensely. It began exactly as I expected, with a group of women mentored by their supervisor, the famed Lee Jaffe of the Port Authority, a story of the subtle wit of women navigating professional life in the oppressive working world of the Fifties and Sixties.However, there is much more to the story than that. We have the careers for women at the Port Authority with Maggie Gleason, Lee Jaffe, and Pauline Moreau. We also have the story of Kay and Bob Whittaker. Kay’s career is the full-time housewife and mother, supporting her husband who truly does not deserve her support. There is the Robert Whittaker III and Brigid love story. There is also the story of Maggie and Sonia, Pauline’s daughter. There is the story of building the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers, Lee Jaffe’s great dream. Then there is the story of perfidy and pollution poisoning the air in upstate New York near the Alumacore plant and all in just three hundred pages.I will credit Joanna Scott with immense ambition. She packed a lot of stories into her book. She tackles important themes, corruption, environmental devastation and corporate malfeasance, anti-semitism, the challenges of developmental disabilities, sexual politics, infidelity, and misogyny. For me, though, it does not come together despite her considerable skill as a writer.It’s strange. This is not a long book and it packs in a lot of stories and ideas, yet it still manages to overflow with unnecessary discursive interstices, overheard conversation, the chorus of construction workers, or the Emergency Action Plan, a ploy that bored me and made the book seem endless at times. It reminded me a bit of Shakespeare, who would add a conversation among a few people who show up for that conversation and are never seen again. They deliver some bit of information or an idea and go away. Shakespeare, though, has the sense to limit it to once or twice in a play. Scott throws this flotsam in all over the place. It became intrusive, irritating and I wanted to skip over them.Scott is a skilled writer. I was drawn to her prose at times and sometimes it was magical. Her Maggie storyline was interesting and the first quarter of the book was fantastic. However, the “mystery” was not enough of a mystery and there was little suspense at all. The environmental storyline was overly dogmatic, its preachy lack of subtlety robbing it of emotional effect. People are contrary and when an author insists on telling us instead of showing us, we resist. Scott showed none of her narrative skill with that story, it was heavy-handed and obvious.This was such a mixed bag of a novel. There were the parts I liked, the Maggie Gleason and Lee Jaffe story, even the Pauline story. The rest of it, meh.I received a copy of Careers for Women from the publisher through NetGalley.★★★https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpre...
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  • Dan Radovich
    July 26, 2017
    3.5 stars. The lives of three women unfold in this short work and I wish that it was longer because there are elements left unanswered and under developed that would make it a much better novel. The women work in the Public Relations office of The Port Authority of NY & NJ and the building of The World Trade Center is a key plot point. Scott begins her story in late 1950's New York, and she captures office life for her women wonderfully, and as the years pass she chronicles the changing atti 3.5 stars. The lives of three women unfold in this short work and I wish that it was longer because there are elements left unanswered and under developed that would make it a much better novel. The women work in the Public Relations office of The Port Authority of NY & NJ and the building of The World Trade Center is a key plot point. Scott begins her story in late 1950's New York, and she captures office life for her women wonderfully, and as the years pass she chronicles the changing attitudes. She weaves her plotlines together to create the story, but I wanted more of both the lives of her female 'leads' and the environmental impact of building the Trade Center, less is not also more. Worth reading.
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  • Lorri Steinbacher
    July 31, 2017
    Great read. Told in a on-linear way that kept you thinking.
  • Aran Glynn
    June 19, 2017
    I am extremely happy that I won this book in a giveaway! I love this author and this book has a very interesting premise. I can't wait to read it and I will update my review once I receive it.
  • lp
    June 21, 2017
    Great voice, GREAT read. This one was hard for me to put down.
  • nikkia neil
    July 25, 2017
    This is a novel to start a revolution!
  • Read Voraciously
    July 19, 2017
    wearevoracious.wordpress.com
  • RLM
    May 26, 2017
    from Entertainment Weekly's "Summer's 20 must-read books" (5/26/17 issue).
  • Ann Theis
    July 28, 2017
    Booklist
  • Susan
    May 26, 2017
    EW Summer's 20 Must-Read Books (2017)
  • Dawn | Reading Column
    July 20, 2017
    Thank you to Little, Brown and Company and Netgalley for providing me this free ARC in exchange for my honest review!CAREERS FOR WOMEN has a Mad Men-esque vibe set during the 1950s, which is a period I’ve always been drawn to so naturally I was sucked in from the get-go!Scott’s cast of characters are every bit who you would expect to meet in mid-century New York City. The women are strong and admirable, each securing their own special place within the story. Maggie, the benign central character Thank you to Little, Brown and Company and Netgalley for providing me this free ARC in exchange for my honest review!CAREERS FOR WOMEN has a Mad Men-esque vibe set during the 1950s, which is a period I’ve always been drawn to so naturally I was sucked in from the get-go!Scott’s cast of characters are every bit who you would expect to meet in mid-century New York City. The women are strong and admirable, each securing their own special place within the story. Maggie, the benign central character is level headed and responsible and truly shines when she sacrifices her future with a prominent doctor to raise her friend Pauline’s special needs daughter. I adored Mrs. J., the Director of PR at The Port of New York Authority and the cornerstone to the construction of the World Trade Center towers, she advocates for her career girls during a time when men ran the corporate show. Her beliefs are firmly rooted in good old fashioned hard work and ingenuity and any woman possessing both can achieve her worth.The multi storylines constantly evolve; Bob Whittaker is the corporate big shot running Alumacore, the upstate aluminum plant polluting the animals and people and his own morality. His despicable actions have far reaching effects; from the death of his step-son’s fiancée’s father to Pauline the reformed prostitute who gets caught in his crosshairs. The plots are thought-provoking especially because I grew up with equal opportunity and my heart went out to the bright women who could only get so far as typists while enduring the occasional pat on the derrière from the boss.Scott’s writing is nostalgic, entertaining and well paced and I wanted more. She brilliantly pays homage to women who paved the way into corporate America. I highly recommend this book!
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  • Leslie
    June 8, 2017
    This novel is packed with great characters. I was very intrigued by Mrs. J and her position at the Port Athority of New York. I love when a novel has some historical aspect. A slight mystery involving one of the characters kept the novel moving at a fast pace. The building of the twin towers was fascinating too. I will be reading more by this author!
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