Thursday, March 31, 2016

Julie's Review: Three Martini Lunch

Author: Suzanne Rindell
Series: None
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Putnam Books
Pages: 512
Obtained: Edelweiss via publisher
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Bottom Line: The characters will haunt you long after you close the book
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: In 1958, Greenwich Village buzzes with beatniks, jazz clubs, and new ideas—the ideal spot for three ambitious young people to meet. Cliff Nelson, the son of a successful book editor, is convinced he’s the next Kerouac, if only his father would notice. Eden Katz dreams of being an editor but is shocked when she encounters roadblocks to that ambition. And Miles Tillman, a talented black writer from Harlem, seeks to learn the truth about his father’s past, finding love in the process. Though different from one another, all three share a common goal: to succeed in the competitive and uncompromising world of book publishing. As they reach for what they want, they come to understand what they must sacrifice, conceal, and betray to achieve their goals, learning they must live with the consequences of their choices. In Three-Martini Lunch, Suzanne Rindell has written both a page-turning morality tale and a captivating look at a stylish, demanding era—and a world steeped in tradition that’s poised for great upheaval.  

Review: Three-Martini Lunch is a slow burning novel. It isn't full of action but there is a ton going on. I really enjoyed each of the 3 main characters perspective of what was going on during this time in publishing and in Greenwich Village. Cliff, Eden and Miles each bring something different to the novel. They all come to the publishing world in different ways. Cliff is the silver-spoon in his mouth aspiring writer; Miles is the bike messenger with dreams of graduating from Columbia and doing more with his life; Eden is the Midwestern girl who comes New York to become an Editor.

Their lives intersect in ways that can't even imagine when they first meet each other. They don't necessarily run in the same circles but they do come across each other fairly often.  Each of these characters are flawed but Miles' story resonates the most with me. He's a smart, education black man but even after graduating with a degree from Columbia and he's still working as an errand boy and bike messenger. He also travels across the country to find his dad's journals and turns them into a very personal journal of his own. It is his story that I feel will resonate with most readers because he is the one that struggles the most.

Next to Miles, Eden was my next favorite characters. She's got spunk but she's also not quite sure how to go about getting what she wants. She knows she want so be an Editor but how do you get the job when you aren't giving the opportunities to get there? When you are back-stabbed by someone you thought was mentoring you? Especially when it's a woman and there are so few of them in management to support each other. Her biggest trip up is marrying Cliff.

Let's talk about Cliff for a little bit. He's probably the biggest dreamer of them all. He graduates school with plans of becoming the next big novelist, after all his dad is a big time editor. He's also doesn't have much of a work ethic. So it wasn't any surprise when the events unfolded as they did. He's also a young man that wants his dad's approval more than anything, even though he doesn't like him. He feels that if his dad would support his choice to be a writer, then he could be successful.

Ms. Rindell writes this story as if you are there at these lunches, in Greenwich Village and with Miles in San Francisco. You feel the vibe of the late 1950s with how she sets the scenes with the words she chooses. I can only imagine how much research was put into getting all of these settings right. 

While this is very different than The Other Typist, it is just as well written. It's a wonderful character study of a time period that seemed much simpler but had it's own complexities.



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