A “Park Avenue Summer” for you A throwback to simpler times

I found “Park Avenue Summer” by Renee Rosen when perusing social media, specifically when I looked through YouTuber Katy Bellotte’s feed and saw that she highly recommended it to her millions of followers.

“Park Avenue Summer” reminded me of “The Carrie Diaries” and of AnnaSophia Robb’s portrayal of Carrie Bradshaw landing a job at Interview Magazine, back in the ‘80s. Likewise, this novel takes place in 1965, and Cosmopolitan, Hearst’s biggest magazine, just hired a new Editor-in-Chief: Helen Gurley Brown. Brown herself can’t handle the job’s pressure, but luckily Alice Weiss, who just moved from the Midwest, is willing to do whatever it takes to make it in New York City just to have her photography noticed. 

Brown meets her next-door neighbor and wants to help Weiss achieve her dreams of becoming a world-known photographer, at least in NYC anyway. Alas, Weiss starts out as a secretary, because like everyone else in the world, the novices must start out small.

Weiss is almost conned into helping a young, smooth, good-looking businessman from Hearst who wants her to get some information out of Brown. The interaction of the two include a seductive and almost envy-consuming dinner, since this man is wildly known by every woman in the restaurant they dine at. Who would’ve thought that someone like Weiss would have to jump through flaming and thorny hoops just to get to where she is going?

Perhaps this novel is a wake-up call to some, especially during the pandemic, because writing, editing and photography jobs can be tough to get nowadays. Perhaps 1965 was a part of “the simpler times,” but when you watch movies like “Hairspray” on the side, it doesn’t seem like that. You may even have grandparents or parents who lived through that time. Overall, “Park Avenue Summer” is worth reading, especially if you have the free space in your schedule.