In the Land of Men
A fiercely personal memoir about coming of age in the male-dominated literary world of the nineties, becoming the first female literary editor of Esquire, and Miller's personal and working relationship with David Foster WallaceA naive and idealistic twenty-two-year-old from the Midwest, Adrienne Miller got her lucky break when she was hired as an editorial assistant at GQ magazine in the mid-nineties. Even if its sensibilities were manifestly mid-century—the martinis, powerful male egos, and unquestioned authority of kings—GQ still seemed the red-hot center of the literary world. It was there that Miller began learning how to survive in a man’s world. Three years later, she forged her own path, becoming the first woman to take on the role of literary editor of Esquire, home to the male writers who had defined manhood itself— Hemingway, Mailer, and Carver. Up against this old world, she would soon discover that it wanted nothing to do with a “mere girl.” But this was also a unique moment in history that saw the rise of a new literary movement, as exemplified by McSweeney’s and the work of David Foster Wallace. A decade older than Miller, the mercurial Wallace would become the defining voice of a generation and the fiction writer she would work with most. He was her closest friend, confidant—and antagonist. Their intellectual and artistic exchange grew into a highly charged professional and personal relationship between the most prominent male writer of the era and a young woman still finding her voice. This memoir—a rich, dazzling story of power, ambition, and identity—ultimately asks the question “How does a young woman fit into this male culture and at what cost?” With great wit and deep intelligence, Miller presents an inspiring and moving portrayal of a young woman’s education in a land of men.

In the Land of Men Details

TitleIn the Land of Men
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 11th, 2020
PublisherEcco
ISBN-139780062682413
Rating
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Feminism, Biography, Biography Memoir, Writing, Books About Books, Audiobook, Language, Criticism, Literary Criticism

In the Land of Men Review

  • Julie Ehlers
    January 1, 1970
    I'd been spending my professional life, at GQ and Esquire both, reading fiction by men about men.... There sure were a lot of trains. Why were there so many prostitutes? And why were so many of the women dead?... Oh, if I had a dime for each time I read the sentence "She made me feel alive ..." (to which my private stock response was always "And you made her feel dead"). (p. 152)***"I'm sorry I'm being so outspoken and bad-tempered," [David Foster Wallace] said. "I seem to have no filter when I I'd been spending my professional life, at GQ and Esquire both, reading fiction by men about men.... There sure were a lot of trains. Why were there so many prostitutes? And why were so many of the women dead?... Oh, if I had a dime for each time I read the sentence "She made me feel alive ..." (to which my private stock response was always "And you made her feel dead"). (p. 152)***"I'm sorry I'm being so outspoken and bad-tempered," [David Foster Wallace] said. "I seem to have no filter when I talk to you. It's weird.""Not a problem," I said. (p. 166)***There's more than one way to look at In the Land of Men. For me, the most obvious way to look at it is as a source of literary and publishing gossip. Adrienne Miller worked as the fiction editor of Esquire from 1997 to 2006, and the stories she has to tell about writers, editors, and publishing are the kind of thing I want to be reading all the time. If every person who worked in publishing before the internet took over wrote a memoir about their experiences, I would read them all. I just can't get enough, and the whole time I was reading this book it was all I wanted to do.***Of course, there's more to it than that. Miller became the fiction editor of Esquire at age twenty-five. It was a lot of power for a young woman and she had a good mentor, but it was a men's magazine and circumstances were not always ideal. The 1990s were an interesting time in that it seemed that a lot of progress had been made toward gender equality, and for a lot of men who considered themselves progressive and liberal and nonsexist, that seemed to translate into... freedom to be sexist. They seemed to feel that since they believed they were progressive and not sexist, by definition nothing they said or did could be considered sexist, even if it was actually sexist. And since we were all equal anyway, what did it matter? Certainly this book is full of examples like that; Miller experienced some truly outrageous behavior on the part of the men around her, and the recounting of it here is both the background and the foreground of In the Land of Men.***In the Land of Men is also the story of Miller's romantic (albeit mostly long-distance) relationship with David Foster Wallace. Miller becomes Wallace's editor for a story at Esquire, and he pretty much immediately moves in on her; it's uncomfortable for the reader, who senses that if Wallace had had more twentysomething tall blonde female editors, he'd have done exactly the same thing to all of them. The relationship ultimately doesn't work and Wallace comes off badly; he's possessive and jealous even after he moves in with another woman (!), and he implies Miller, and women in general, are just not that smart in comparison to men. But Miller continues to have a relationship with him, in one way or another, for years; she clearly saw something in him. This part of the book is like having a long, one-sided conversation with a friend in a bad relationship; she recounts his misdeeds and overanalyzes his behavior, but always maintains that he has a good side that makes the whole thing worthwhile. Sometime you believe her and sometimes you don't.***Miller makes a point of noting that, during her tenure as Esquire's fiction editor, she hired as many women as she could, albeit in mostly low-level positions. She also mentions in passing that she edited several female writers in addition to all the men (Jeanette Winterson is one I recall). Yet so little ink is spilled on these relationships or experiences. In the Land of Men is in part a book about the sexism of the 1990s publishing industry, but it is also preoccupied with only one writer: the white, male David Foster Wallace. It's hard not to feel this book perpetuates some of the very same sexism it's calling out. "This is my story," not Wallace's, Miller often reminds both herself and the reader, and sometimes it's a reminder that we need. For a reader like me, In the Land of Men has much to recommend it, but like Miller and Wallace's relationship... it's complicated.I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you to the publisher.
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  • Rhiannon Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    I received a complimentary copy of this release from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.Ill keep this one brief because I dislike discussing books I didnt enjoy, but I want to share the good with the bad when it comes to my book reviews.In the Land of Men by Adrienne Miller: At 22, Adrienne Miller was hired as an editorial assistant at GQ magazine and at 25 she became the first woman to take on the role of literary editor of Esquire. I wanted to know about her unique struggles while I received a complimentary copy of this release from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.I’ll keep this one brief because I dislike discussing books I didn’t enjoy, but I want to share the good with the bad when it comes to my book reviews.In the Land of Men by Adrienne Miller: At 22, Adrienne Miller was hired as an editorial assistant at GQ magazine and at 25 she became the first woman to take on the role of literary editor of Esquire. I wanted to know about her unique struggles while working in the male-dominated literary world of the nineties. While she shares some of those stories, this book is mostly a detailed account of her personal and working relationship with David Foster Wallace. Regarded as a literary rock star at the time, his inappropriate actions seemed to get a pass because of his “brilliance.” Every page and section where he was featured was absolutely cringe-worthy, but Miller appears indifferent or accepting of his behavior. In short, smart girls can be stupid and “geniuses” can be total assholes.
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  • Bob Wake
    January 1, 1970
    An instant classic. Adrienne Miller was the fiction editor at Esquire magazine in the late-90s when she was still in her twenties. Crossed paths with Mailer, Updike, Bret Easton Ellis, Dave Eggers, and, the real subject of her book, David Foster Wallace, whom she edited (some of his best short stories appeared in Esquire, including Adult World (I), Adult World (II), and Incarnations of Burned Children), and with whom she shared a romance, off and on, for several years. Its something of a lurid An instant classic. Adrienne Miller was the fiction editor at Esquire magazine in the late-90s when she was still in her twenties. Crossed paths with Mailer, Updike, Bret Easton Ellis, Dave Eggers, and, the real subject of her book, David Foster Wallace, whom she edited (some of his best short stories appeared in Esquire, including “Adult World (I),” “Adult World (II),” and “Incarnations of Burned Children”), and with whom she shared a romance, off and on, for several years. It’s something of a lurid tell-all (one review is titled “Infinite Jerk”), but offers lots more about the era, its literature, its sexism, and the rise and fall of glossy magazine publishing at a time when the Internet was just taking hold. Miller chose not to talk with D.T. Max for his biography of Wallace, so the material presented here is largely uncharted and eye-opening. Her respect for Wallace as a writer is worshipful. The mind games she endured during their wildly complicated relationship are jaw-dropping. The richest, fullest portrait of David Foster Wallace that has so far appeared in print. Highly recommended.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    This book could have been brilliant. It stated out so strong and I was really enjoying the story of Adriennes meteoritic rise to becoming the literary fiction editor of Esquire at twenty five. She talked a lot about how she was surrounded by men and sexism. And then there was the part where there was just a list of all the harassment she had dealt with spilled baldly out. In just a few pages. The rest of the book was just an ode to David Foster Wallace. She edited a few stories with him and had This book could have been brilliant. It stated out so strong and I was really enjoying the story of Adrienne’s meteoritic rise to becoming the literary fiction editor of Esquire at twenty five. She talked a lot about how she was surrounded by men and sexism. And then there was the part where there was just a list of all the harassment she had dealt with spilled baldly out. In just a few pages. The rest of the book was just an ode to David Foster Wallace. She edited a few stories with him and had a vague romantic long distance relationship with him. That’s the part I struggled with. He was terrible and abusive to her but she often excused his behavior away and mostly talked about how brilliant he was. It just made me sad. I would have liked to read more about Adrienne’s career than her recounting every word of boring phone conversations with DFW. But I did love her writing. It was really beautiful and captivating. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Caroline Leavitt
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book. Miller worked for Esquire and GQ before the MeToo era, and when the literary giants were all men. Here, she details her time as the fiction editor of GQ and includes her fraught relationship with David Foster Wallace. Not only is Miller really astute about things like power, chauvinism and writing, but her detailing of her relationship with Wallace is so, so moving. Loved this book.
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  • Marty Button
    January 1, 1970
    I won a copy of this book through a Goodreads Giveaway.The book started out great. The author and I are approximately the same age. She's a girl from the Midwest who loved reading as a child. I am a girl from the Midwest who loved reading as a child. She got a job in NYNY working for a magazine. Wow! She got the job I thought I wanted when I was a young college graduate. Her experiences in the city were interesting. Her interactions with male colleagues was spot-on with regards to the way the I won a copy of this book through a Goodreads Giveaway.The book started out great. The author and I are approximately the same age. She's a girl from the Midwest who loved reading as a child. I am a girl from the Midwest who loved reading as a child. She got a job in NYNY working for a magazine. Wow! She got the job I thought I wanted when I was a young college graduate. Her experiences in the city were interesting. Her interactions with male colleagues was spot-on with regards to the way the world worked in the 1990s (this is pre- "me too" movement). She lived in NY. She hung out with writers and literary agents. She met David Foster Wallace. And then... the book took a left turn. What started out as an interesting memoir about Adrienne Miller turned into a eulogy honoring David Foster Wallace. David Foster Wallace was a talented writer who is now gone. Miller had a working relationship with him that impacted her life. This could have been summed up in paragraphs, not pages. Miller didn't need DFW to make her story interesting. I do not know who edited this book but it seems that due to Miller's former status the publisher/editor was hesitant to tell her that the book had drastically lost direction.I thought this memoir was going to be the story of a woman working in a land dominated by men. Instead it was about the author's relationship with a mentally unstable literary genius. Adrienne Miller has a gift with words. Unfortunately, that is not the book I wanted to read.
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  • Caroline
    January 1, 1970
    "Sexism and Genius Collide In the Land of Men"https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/11/bo...
  • Allison M.
    January 1, 1970
    From the moment I started reading In the Land of Man, I couldnt put it down. As if Adrienne Miller is sitting beside you, telling you the truths of her early career with unsurpassed skill, wit and humor. This is a must read for any young woman or man about to enter the literary world. It is a tribute to any woman who has navigated her career with finesse and fortitude. And watch out. You will never read David Foster Wallaces work in the same way again. From the moment I started reading In the Land of Man, I couldn’t put it down. As if Adrienne Miller is sitting beside you, telling you the truths of her early career with unsurpassed skill, wit and humor. This is a must read for any young woman or man about to enter the literary world. It is a tribute to any woman who has navigated her career with finesse and fortitude. And watch out. You will never read David Foster Wallace’s work in the same way again.
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  • Dan Solomon
    January 1, 1970
    There are a couple of ways to interpret the half of the book that dominates the conversation around it (and a lot of the reviews Ive read favor the less charitable one), but I think the book is very intentional about being frustrating in how it frames and makes excuses for David Foster Wallaces genuinely shitty treatment of both the author and, er, pretty much everybody else. Miller does a really compelling job of clearly articulating all of the behaviors that made the dude such a fucking dick There are a couple of ways to interpret the half of the book that dominates the conversation around it (and a lot of the reviews I’ve read favor the less charitable one), but I think the book is very intentional about being frustrating in how it frames and makes excuses for David Foster Wallace’s genuinely shitty treatment of both the author and, er, pretty much everybody else. Miller does a really compelling job of clearly articulating all of the behaviors that made the dude such a fucking dick and how it made her feel, then dips back into the perspective of a 27-year-old whose insecurities butt up against the validation she receives because the Most Famous and Important Writer Alive is interested in her. It’s extremely frustrating sometimes because you just want to see a good, cathartic fuck-you to this guy, but that’s for us as the reader to bring to the story she tells, not something we get to take away from the author. In conclusion, fuck David Foster Wallace, this book is a lot, but mostly it’s really good at bringing us into a particular space that it’s worth being in.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    Miller is brilliant and witty as she recounts her rise from a young innocent editorial assistant at GQ to becoming the first female literary editor of Esquire! Pretty incredible! The era Miller ascended in was before MeToo, before women had positions equal to men. She offers a vivid portrait of what the literary magazine world and culture looked like back in the 90's. (Exceedingly Masculine) How she, a young woman had to find her place working alongside men, critiquing their work and being bold Miller is brilliant and witty as she recounts her rise from a young innocent editorial assistant at GQ to becoming the first female literary editor of Esquire! Pretty incredible! The era Miller ascended in was before MeToo, before women had positions equal to men. She offers a vivid portrait of what the literary magazine world and culture looked like back in the 90's. (Exceedingly Masculine) How she, a young woman had to find her place working alongside men, critiquing their work and being bold and unapologetic at a time, in an industry where this was vastly unheard of. She covers her intricate relationship with David Foster Wallace. She was his editor. He at the time (1990's) was one of the most noteworthy authors out there. I myself knew nearly nothing of him but her characterization offers insight into a complicated man with an intelligent literary mind. I'm interested to check out his work. For thoes out there that were already fans you wont be disappointed with her glimpse behind the scenes.The second half of the book is mostly dedicated to him. Miller has a gift with words and I found this a facinating, inspiring read. I personally did enjoyed the first half a bit more. Her recap of her climb to working literally in a land of men was so interesting! •Thank You to the tagged publisher for sending me this book opinions are my own. •For more of my book content check out instagram.com/bookalong
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  • Teresa
    January 1, 1970
    This is a highly uneven book. First of all, kudos to Miller for holding her own as Literary Editor at Esquire for 9 years. Her description of work there, the authors she met and her struggle to balance her feminist ideology with the job was worth reading.I have mixed feelings about the material covering her relationship with David Foster Wallace. (This is more than half the book.) They were lovers and then later friends. He was ten years older than her, neurotic as hell, and haunted by many This is a highly uneven book. First of all, kudos to Miller for holding her own as Literary Editor at Esquire for 9 years. Her description of work there, the authors she met and her struggle to balance her feminist ideology with the job was worth reading.I have mixed feelings about the material covering her relationship with David Foster Wallace. (This is more than half the book.) They were lovers and then later friends. He was ten years older than her, neurotic as hell, and haunted by many things, all of which permeated their relationship. She documents these things and the turmoil she found herself in, in raw prose. He is bigger than life on the pages of her book, as he may well have been in her life at that time, and she unfortunately gives him more space on the page than she gives herself. The rest of her life almost disappears in these chapters. Too much of the book is one-sided conversations (DFW’s) followed by her small, brittle complaints about things he said or did. The big-picture, wisdom-gained perspective from looking back twenty years later is reserved for the wrap-up chapter. I think that her story would have worked better as a novel (similar to what Lisa Halliday did with Asymmetry) where she could find some distance from the gigantic person of DFW.
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  • Doreen Ashbrook
    January 1, 1970
    Beautifully written and very interesting. Loved the trip down memory lane. Thank you Goodreads Giveaways.
  • Katy
    January 1, 1970
    Becoming the literary editor at Esquire at 25 is pretty incredible, especially, as is the crux of this memoir, for a woman in the nineties. Her depiction of the culture and climate of the magazine world, and learning to become an editor, is a great mix of dish-y details and reflection. Readers looking for insights into David Foster Wallace wont be disappointed as she devotes most of the second half of the book to their personal and professional relationship. Her steady, cool style is the polar Becoming the literary editor at Esquire at 25 is pretty incredible, especially, as is the crux of this memoir, for a woman in the nineties. Her depiction of the culture and climate of the magazine world, and learning to become an editor, is a great mix of dish-y details and reflection. Readers looking for insights into David Foster Wallace won’t be disappointed as she devotes most of the second half of the book to their personal and professional relationship. Her steady, cool style is the polar opposite of Bough Down, the impressionistic griefscape by DFW’s wife following his suicide.
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  • Nayley Husbaum
    January 1, 1970
    In Miller's hilarious, heartbreaking memoir, she proves herself to be among the class of brilliant writers and thinkers that she is reflecting on. Through her intellectual relationship with David Foster Wallace, Miller displays her genius as a woman who was unafraid to push, criticize and motivate one of the most prolific writers of the era. In doing so, she also highlights the nature of the male dominated literary world, in which it is the job of brilliant women like Miller, who is a writer and In Miller's hilarious, heartbreaking memoir, she proves herself to be among the class of brilliant writers and thinkers that she is reflecting on. Through her intellectual relationship with David Foster Wallace, Miller displays her genius as a woman who was unafraid to push, criticize and motivate one of the most prolific writers of the era. In doing so, she also highlights the nature of the male dominated literary world, in which it is the job of brilliant women like Miller, who is a writer and intellectual herself, to prop up the ideas of brilliant-- but destructive-- men, while these men tend to their own success.The most impressive aspects of the memoir are the narrative thread, which is packed with humor and some truly sharp observations, and the dialogue. Miller has a way with dialogue. Some of the DFW quotes included in the book are truly a gift. The "character" of DFW is so real, so multifaceted-- he is both devil and angel-- that reading his quotes will make you shiver. Perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects of the book is how Miller weaves him into the narrative. The first half of the book, in learning about Miller's literary ascent, she becomes the "hero": modest, smart, and funny, she is easy to root for. Then, DFW-- a God to many-- is introduced to her already-established narrative. By framing her story in this way, Miller makes it so that David, upon entering the memoir, is not our hero. But he's not our villain, either. His presence in the book is both threatening and charming, lovely and disgusting. He is a necessary evil, whose deliciously wicked acts highlight Miller's struggles as a woman in the Land of Men. You will want to recommend this book to everyone you know. Can't wait for her next book!
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  • Csimplot Simplot
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent book!!!
  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    What a beautiful and compelling memoir! This is a MUST read, and there is so much here to discuss! It's the story a young woman who worked as an assistant in a very male environment, think Devil Wears Prada, but if Andy was in a much tougher workplace, who had in addition to the normal assistant job headaches, had to deal with sexual harassment around every corner! It's also like if Mad Men was more focused on Peggy's POV instead of Don Draper's. The characters around her, especially the editor What a beautiful and compelling memoir! This is a MUST read, and there is so much here to discuss! It's the story a young woman who worked as an assistant in a very male environment, think Devil Wears Prada, but if Andy was in a much tougher workplace, who had in addition to the normal assistant job headaches, had to deal with sexual harassment around every corner! It's also like if Mad Men was more focused on Peggy's POV instead of Don Draper's. The characters around her, especially the editor Art, really come to life. We also get some backstory on Adrienne, and I found her obsession with the film Amadeus growing up totally fascinating, and see how it many ways it foreshadows things to come in her own life and career.From there, Adrienne moves out of the assistant world, and gets a job as an actual editor, as the first female literary editor at Esquire. The magazine has a long tradition of publishing the top male writers -- Normal Mailer, John Updike, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, etc, and the editors before her have been legendary, and also all men. As a young woman with that job, in the all male culture of Esquire, she has her hands full. She tries to carve out her place, and fend off male harassment, men who think she's unqualified for the job and want to take her down, and even finding out one of her close male colleagues, who is at the same level as her, is making TWICE her salary. She's up against great odds, and just trying to get by. She works with many writers, and focuses on her professional and personal relationship with David Foster Wallace, the writer of his generation, and the writer she worked with most. Their dynamic is fascinating, the dialogue between them (and throughout the book, really), is riveting. They seem like equals, and David depends on Adrienne for her smarts, and Adrienne is fascinated with Wallace's writerly talent. Yes, David is manipulative, but the book presents him fairly, as someone who is complex, someone who can be the most amazing person, and also the worst -- in other words, he is a HUMAN BEING. He clearly loves her, and she loves him, and they also respect each other. The book goes deeper into their dynamic, and their work on stories is actually page-turning to read about. This has to be the best and most vivid portrayal of David Foster Wallace out there, but it's really Adrienne who we see as a remarkable and very relate-able character. The writing here is beautiful. It's a funny book, and a very moving one, and I was inspired by her journey. This is the best book I have read in a long time. Thank you Adrienne for sharing your journey!!
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    This felt...bland. Superficial. Choppy and scattered between her life at Esquire and her relationship with David Foster Wallace. She hit a couple of interesting points and then was off without actually saying anything about them. Whether we can read into a writer's real life through the fiction they write. How people can be good and bad. At one point she brings this up and says I just don't know. And I felt that this was her summary of the big questions in life, and her reason for writing this This felt...bland. Superficial. Choppy and scattered between her life at Esquire and her relationship with David Foster Wallace. She hit a couple of interesting points and then was off without actually saying anything about them. Whether we can read into a writer's real life through the fiction they write. How people can be good and bad. At one point she brings this up and says I just don't know. And I felt that this was her summary of the big questions in life, and her reason for writing this memoir, "I just don't know." Nobody has any absolute answers to life, but I am not any further illuminated after reading this memoir. I do respect her writing this memoir though. Especially in terms of her relationship with DFW. There are several times where she writes of his insecurities and his controlling nature of what he wants the world to know about him. How he would tell her "dead man's talk" for things he didn't want her to share with anyone else (frustratingly, I still don't understand this phrase and it isn't explained) and a couple of time's I thought hey, here she is telling these things. But then at one point she does address this and says "But this is my story." I think it is a respectful and truthful account of her relationship. I know and have already gotten a glimpse through the reviews on GR that people will accuse her of exploiting the relationship for her own gain, but even though I didn't enjoy this memoir I don't think that accusation holds true at all.
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  • Marija
    January 1, 1970
    It's so hard to rate this one. I loved her writing style but, like others have said, her relationship with David Foster Wallace had me taken aback at some points. He would say and do some very questionable things to her and she would let him off because of his "genius" and she knew she was doing it too. I admire her for what she put up with during her tenure at GQ and Esquire but she would humblebrag about who she worked with, without really acknowledging the tremendous privilege she had to get It's so hard to rate this one. I loved her writing style but, like others have said, her relationship with David Foster Wallace had me taken aback at some points. He would say and do some very questionable things to her and she would let him off because of his "genius" and she knew she was doing it too. I admire her for what she put up with during her tenure at GQ and Esquire but she would humblebrag about who she worked with, without really acknowledging the tremendous privilege she had to get there. Incredible writing though and I definitely read her other writing.
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  • Victoria Miller
    January 1, 1970
    Really enjoyed this delightful, autobiographic account of Adrienne Miller's experiences as an editor at Esquire Magazine. The book does morph into a story dealing largely about her friendship with David Foster Wallace; however, she paints a gracious portrait of their relationship and experiences with him. One of those books, I was sad upon finishing it. I hope she writes more books.
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  • Hanns
    January 1, 1970
    Terribly written memoir filled with lies about the late David Foster Wallace. Its disgraceful to all literature the depths Miller goes exploiting a tragic death for personal gain. Everything she writes is one sided and I cant imagine how Amy and Davids parents feel knowing this is the exact bullshit David did NOT want after his death- which even miller herself seems to understand yet without shame proceeds to slander a man who can no longer get defend himself. Terribly written “memoir” filled with lies about the late David Foster Wallace. It’s disgraceful to all literature the depths Miller goes exploiting a tragic death for personal gain. Everything she writes is one sided and I can’t imagine how Amy and David’s parents feel knowing this is the exact bullshit David did NOT want after his death- which even miller herself seems to understand yet without shame proceeds to slander a man who can no longer get defend himself.
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  • Bonnie G.
    January 1, 1970
    This is a pretty wonderful book. Yes, as the other reviews state this book spends a good deal of time looking at Miller's relationship with David Foster Wallace. That relationship was a truly formative one, clearly one of the most important of Miller's life, and through the anger and meanness its clear that she loved him. I think he loved her too, but that is less clear, and since this is her story it is also less important. DFW was a deeply troubled man, but also a genius - not because people This is a pretty wonderful book. Yes, as the other reviews state this book spends a good deal of time looking at Miller's relationship with David Foster Wallace. That relationship was a truly formative one, clearly one of the most important of Miller's life, and through the anger and meanness its clear that she loved him. I think he loved her too, but that is less clear, and since this is her story it is also less important. DFW was a deeply troubled man, but also a genius - not because people say so, but because every time I read his work (I have read most of what he wrote, and he was really prolific) even the puff pieces, I see something I have never seen before. He was a true original. He was also sick and cruel and manipulative, but that does not make him less than he was or diminish his impact on literature or on Adrienne Miller. I found the DFW sections fascinating. I also enjoyed the reminiscences of the very last moments of the heyday of print journalism. Some people are interesting in their marrow, DFW, Hunter Thompson, Abraham Lincoln are great examples. Some people are interesting because of what they have done, and what has happened around them, and Adrienne Miller is a great example of that. (I am sure she is a wonderful person, she seems smart and lovely and grounded, but most of us are good and not inherently fascinating.) I know its supposed to be all feministy to reject great male writers who are not feminist. I reject that rejection. If you want me to turn in my feminist card I am happy to do that, but I have been fighting for women's autonomy, physical and intellectual, since before most of the pearl-clutching reviewers were born so I'm good. People treat each other like shit in relationships (whether family, friends or lovers), that is especially true of narcissists who hate themselves (I recently read Marquis deSade 120 Days of Sodom and oh.my.god!) That does not make either party less-than, and it does not make the relationships less interesting. Recommended. I did think the beginning dragged a little given that it covered a point where her rise was meteoric, but once Miller got to Esquire it moved with alacrity. A very high 4, but not quite a 5.
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  • Becky Sandham Mathwin
    January 1, 1970
    A memoir by a woman who worked as a magazine editor in New York in the 1990's and early 2000's (initially at GQ but primarily as the first female literary editor at Esquire). While I definitely liked it overall, I have mixed feelings. Very well written and thoughtful. Lots of literary references-some of which I had to look up. I have an English Lit degree but I've been an RN for many years now and have admittedly forgotten a lot about that part of my education. I'm the same age as Ms. Miller and A memoir by a woman who worked as a magazine editor in New York in the 1990's and early 2000's (initially at GQ but primarily as the first female literary editor at Esquire). While I definitely liked it overall, I have mixed feelings. Very well written and thoughtful. Lots of literary references-some of which I had to look up. I have an English Lit degree but I've been an RN for many years now and have admittedly forgotten a lot about that part of my education. I'm the same age as Ms. Miller and also initially graduated from college in 1994-it's striking how different things were back then. I'm sure a big part of what I enjoyed about this book was due to nostalgia/remembrance of the pre-internet (or at least pre-mass usage of the internet), pre-smart phone days. There are definitely aspects I miss. On the other hand, societal attitudes toward gender (not to mention sexuality) have thankfully evolved since then. Ms. Miller addresses the challenges/difficulties of being a young woman in a less evolved male dominated environment very well. Gen X women were socialized differently and unfortunately "back in the day" we put up with a lot more than Millennials and Gen Z women do. There was a lot of ambivalent discomfort. I feel like she did a great job of capturing that aspect of being a young woman in the 1990's-one of the best depictions I've read. What I liked less about this memoir was the large amount of space that was dedicated to her relationship with the writer David Foster Wallace-most of the second half of the book. I've only read a few of his short stories-perhaps those who are more familiar with his work or more interested in him would appreciate this part of the memoir more? He was a genius and even though he was a troubled person who could be very difficult she loved him. I get it and totally understand why she got involved with him-those sort of people are captivating in spite of (or in part because of) their problems. I just wish less time was spent on him as to me there seemed to be many more compelling things she could have written about. I was much more interested in her story than in David Foster Wallace.
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  • Daniel Hall
    January 1, 1970
    Read in about two days. The concept was interesting but no follow through on the problem of sexism in the workplace. Plus her response, whether from her collegues and superiors or DFW himself, was mainly an angry yet passive acceptance of "that's the way it/he is." Also, there were just some metaphors and other ornaments that stopped me in my tracks: "My mind became an abandoned amusement park."!! "Clothes were ... armor and talismans ..[A]gainst fear--they were a way to assert your superiority Read in about two days. The concept was interesting but no follow through on the problem of sexism in the workplace. Plus her response, whether from her collegues and superiors or DFW himself, was mainly an angry yet passive acceptance of "that's the way it/he is." Also, there were just some metaphors and other ornaments that stopped me in my tracks: "My mind became an abandoned amusement park."!! "Clothes were ... armor and talismans ..[A]gainst fear--they were a way to assert your superiority over the abyss. I've always known what clothes are for."???"[I]t was impossible not to pick up on a kind of weird energy in the room, like some miasma hanging over the city of Thebes."?!?! (This last is a reference, I think, to Oedipus Rex, but what the heck does that have to do with a party at a grungy bar? Maybe it's just to let us know she has read Oedipus Rex?)Also, the book really didn't focus on something or tell us anything. Sexism in the 90's in New York at men's magazine? Quelle surprise! But if you are going to tell that story, then stick with it. Tell us either how to deal with it or how you survived. Then we spend the rest of the book trashing DFW; which is fine, if that's what you want to do. But then, that's the book. I'm not sure that the first part had to do with the second, other than to underscore her inconsistency in dealing with sexism and misogynoy, that is, when it was the regular oafs at workdoing it, it was wrong, but when a genius does it, well that's ok, or at least forgiveable. So, it was readable, but ironically, she could have used an editor. (Don't know why the app says I read it 3 times. Once was enough.)
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  • Jeff Zell
    January 1, 1970
    Miller fell into a dream job as the Literary editor of Esquire magazine at 24 years old. She candidly admits that she was in the right place, right time, and knew the right people. She has the distinction of being the first female literary editor in Esquire's history. Miller tells her story for two reasons. First, she writes with candor about the blatant sexism that she endured at the hands of male employees and writers. Second, she is ready to tell the world about the version of David Foster Miller fell into a dream job as the Literary editor of Esquire magazine at 24 years old. She candidly admits that she was in the right place, right time, and knew the right people. She has the distinction of being the first female literary editor in Esquire's history. Miller tells her story for two reasons. First, she writes with candor about the blatant sexism that she endured at the hands of male employees and writers. Second, she is ready to tell the world about the version of David Foster Wallace that she encountered. Miller was his editor, friend, confidant, and, for a time, lover. She presents a different view of this literary rock star than what is usually portrayed these days. I am not a Wallace fan. So, I grew tired of the amount of time she spent on him and her relationship with him. I know that others will benefit from the information she provides, but I really wanted to hear more about her experiences with other writers and editors. Someone described this book as a "must read" for literary junkies. I think literary junkies will benefit from it. I was glad to read this because I am curious about how things get decided to be put in print, but I was glad when I came to the last page.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    This book held a lot of promise for me. I love reading stories of women who persevere despite difficulties. To be an editor at such a young age in a workplace that was incredibly male-dominated - I thought this would be filled with tales of her struggling to earn respect, how she worked harder, and the disparities between her and her male counterparts. These things were touched on as the memoir progressed, but I felt they were more throwaway moments. The beginning began strong, but it didn't This book held a lot of promise for me. I love reading stories of women who persevere despite difficulties. To be an editor at such a young age in a workplace that was incredibly male-dominated - I thought this would be filled with tales of her struggling to earn respect, how she worked harder, and the disparities between her and her male counterparts. These things were touched on as the memoir progressed, but I felt they were more throwaway moments. The beginning began strong, but it didn't hold up as it progressed.Instead, it turned into something else entirely - a bizarre memorial to David Foster Wallace. It was no longer Adrienne in the Land of Men but in the Playland of one man where she almost seemed more like a toy he enjoyed playing with. I understand he was not mentally well, and he did write a piece of literature lauded by many, but I felt that a lot of his behavior towards Adrienne was childish and cruel, and she seemed so willing to forgive him, perhaps because he had written Infinite Jest.I was disappointed because I expected her memoir, and instead I got a biography of him.
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  • Kyra Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    [Thank you for the gifted book, @eccobooks. ♥]In her memoir, Adrienne Miller details her remarkable ascent at the age of twenty-five from working as an editorial assistant at GQ to becoming the first female literary editor at Esquire. With sharp, intimate prose, Miller explains how she had to find her voice and place in a male-dominated industry during the mid-nineties. She was bold and critical at a time when this was unheard of. Miller paints a vivid picture of her challenges, the culture of [Thank you for the gifted book, @eccobooks. ♥]In her memoir, Adrienne Miller details her remarkable ascent at the age of twenty-five from working as an editorial assistant at GQ to becoming the first female literary editor at Esquire. With sharp, intimate prose, Miller explains how she had to find her voice and place in a male-dominated industry during the mid-nineties. She was bold and critical at a time when this was unheard of. Miller paints a vivid picture of her challenges, the culture of the literary world and her experiences with sexism in the workplace.In the second half of the book, Miller recounts her personal and professional relationship with David Foster Wallace and how they influenced each other. Personally, I would’ve preferred to hear less about DFW and more about Miller’s incredible experiences and unique struggles throughout her career (because, yasss girl 👊). That tidbit did not take away from how absolutely fascinating, brilliant, funny and inspiring this memoir is! I’m looking forward to reading more from Miller and I recommend this for anyone interested in the publishing industry.
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  • Brianna
    January 1, 1970
    I thought this was brilliant. While it had a lot of smart and insightful things to say about writing & publishing as an industry, art, and artists, at its heart is was about trying to love and survive the gravitational pull of a brilliant person's catastrophically self-destructive behavoir; sometimes the experience of loving someone is like barely escaping a fatal car crash. I know some people will hate this book for either its refusal to fully condemn David Foster Wallace or it's refusal to I thought this was brilliant. While it had a lot of smart and insightful things to say about writing & publishing as an industry, art, and artists, at its heart is was about trying to love and survive the gravitational pull of a brilliant person's catastrophically self-destructive behavoir; sometimes the experience of loving someone is like barely escaping a fatal car crash. I know some people will hate this book for either its refusal to fully condemn David Foster Wallace or it's refusal to ignore his personal shortcomings, but I recognized a lot of my own experiences and am grateful to have read it. There's a really profound emerging canon of this type of art that's been made recently: Joanna Hoggs' The Souvenir, Dianne Seuss' The Four Legged Girl. As always sometimes books are victims to their own marketing campaigns, which is why people are complaining about the bait and switch. Let this book stand on its own merits, because its really really good.
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  • Barbara Zeller
    January 1, 1970
    I found this book fascinating. The first half is a bit jumpy, reflective of the path Adrienne took to her dream job as literary editor of Esquire in the 1990s. The second half is laser-focused on the magazine publishing world (the challenges she faced as a woman maneuvering through all the male testosterone), fiction writing/editing, and on the authors relationship to David Foster Wallace. There are so many small gems in this book, that it deserves a careful reading. I knew that any book where I found this book fascinating. The first half is a bit jumpy, reflective of the path Adrienne took to her dream job as literary editor of Esquire in the 1990’s. The second half is laser-focused on the magazine publishing world (the challenges she faced as a woman maneuvering through all the male testosterone), fiction writing/editing, and on the author’s relationship to David Foster Wallace. There are so many small gems in this book, that it deserves a careful reading. I knew that any book where David Foster Wallace was featured in any way would draw the knives from the #metoomovement people and wasn’t wrong (NYT Book Review), which is so sad because this book is so much more, INCLUDING the nuanced insights into David Foster Wallace’s fiction.
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  • Readsbeck
    January 1, 1970
    Lovely, painful, extremely grim high gossip read about the crazy gender imbalance that is modern literature/the publishing world. This book makes me want to find out more about the previous lit editors of Esquire. I need more. But also? I wasnt prepared for the DFW section (out of equal parts empathy, annoyance, and frustration). I can see though that in writing this, it was therapeutic in a way for Miller. Also! Im grateful for Adrienne Millers A man ___ lines in her book. We should all Lovely, painful, extremely grim high gossip read about the crazy gender imbalance that is modern literature/the publishing world. This book makes me want to find out more about the previous lit editors of Esquire. I need more. But also? I wasn’t prepared for the DFW section (out of equal parts empathy, annoyance, and frustration). I can see though that in writing this, it was therapeutic in a way for Miller. Also! I’m grateful for Adrienne Miller’s “A man ___” lines in her book. We should all document these. Every woman has them. We need to give them air time in order to take away their power. I’m embarrassed I cared so much about Hemingway and Bellow when I was in university. I want a do-over.
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  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    Although this book was interesting, it had less to do with the author's life of being a young female in a male driven world and more to do with her toxic and abusive relationship with a famous writer of the time. Intermittantly she will throw in phrases, situations, and dialogue to lend to the male world narrative but they feel disjointed and more like an aside than anything else.Instead and almost heartbreakingly, she writes her story and still it feels as if she doesn't understand appropriate Although this book was interesting, it had less to do with the author's life of being a young female in a male driven world and more to do with her toxic and abusive relationship with a famous writer of the time. Intermittantly she will throw in phrases, situations, and dialogue to lend to the male world narrative but they feel disjointed and more like an aside than anything else.Instead and almost heartbreakingly, she writes her story and still it feels as if she doesn't understand appropriate and inappropriate behavior for herself and others.
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