Norris Church Mailer triumphantly returns to the page with this breezy, hilarious novel of discovery and destiny. Set against the backdrop of 1970s New York City, Cheap Diamonds follows a sweet young girl from the South who risks it all to fulfill her heart’s desire.
Cherry Marshall seeks a life beyond the confines of her Arkansas world. “Sweet Valley was not the place for a girl with stars in her eyes, and I had stars big enough to blind me.” Leaving behind all the comforts–and problems–of home, she sets out to enter the New York modeling world at the advanced age of twenty-two. At “five-twelve,” with unusually white eyebrows, the platinum-blond beauty may be a little too unique to fit in with the latest crop of all-American girls dominating the magazines of the era. Yet aided by her Southern smarts, her drive, and a touch of country naïveté, Cherry finds herself in the right place at the right time–and with all the right people.
There’s makeup artist Salvador, who moonlights as “Miss Sally”; Suzan Hartman, a model turned agency head and fellow Arkansan; Mrs. Digby, Cherry’s eccentric landlady, a former Ziegfeld girl; Aurelius, a saxophonist and neighbor who piques Cherry’s romantic interests; and Lale, a hunk from back home who skipped out on his fiancée, Cherry’s friend Cassie, to become an underwear model.
It all unfolds like a dream–this new world where men have boyfriends, and paintings of soup cans pass for art. As Cherry’s star begins to rise, she finds herself at Max’s Kansas City among Andy Warhol’s glamorous crowd, dining at Elaine’s, and drawing the attention of high society. But their sophisticated, sometimes shallow ways are often at odds with Cherry’s homegrown values. The line between right and wrong blurs, and the ingenue will discover how far she’s willing to go to stay on top.
Mailer vividly captures a thrilling era when New York City was the burgeoning center of art and fashion, when being young and beautiful was the only currency one needed for survival. Smartly written, full of humor and hope, Cheap Diamonds reminds us that no matter where we travel in life, we are never very far from home.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of History eBook: Cheap Diamonds|
|Release Date: 08-07-2007|
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|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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Cheekbones and Airplanes
There just simply wasn't any such place as 830 Broadway. It went down to 860 and dead-ended at Union Square Park, and that was all she wrote. I checked my appointment book to see if I had misread it, but no-in the nine o'clock space it said, Ron Bonetti, 830 Broadway. I stared at the numbers on the building again, then looked around the corner to see if they might for some reason continue down that way. Nope-860 was all there was.
On top of running out of Broadway, I was practically crippled from walking twenty-two blocks in new patent-leather gillies that had rubbed blisters on both of my heels, my right eyelash was off-kilter, and I was sweating in my mulberry Bobbie Brooks crew-necked sweater and box-pleated miniskirt. I never thought New York would be this hot in September, as far up north as it was. All I remembered from the news was big snowstorms, but then in Sweet Valley there never was a whole lot about New York on the news unless somebody got shot in a restaurant or thrown onto the subway tracks and run over, which seemed to happen a lot. Cabs cost a fortune and subways were faster than buses but I can tell you right now, I was leery of going down into them. I have a little problem with being underground anyhow, and most of the stations were not very well lit and had an odor like mothballs and dirty bathroom. Plus, I was shocked when I saw that homeless people lived down there, and I didn't like myself for the way I reacted to them. Part of me was disgusted that human beings could smell that bad and carry on their life right out in public the way they did, and another part felt sorry for them and un-Christi