THE GIRL WHO GOT ALL THE BREAKS by Carol Eisen Rinzler
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THE GIRL WHO GOT ALL THE BREAKS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The All About Eve scenario always works like a dream when it's recycled by someone with the right, light, martini-dry approach--and Rinzler (Nobody Said You Had to Eat Off the Floor) hits the perfect bitchy-but-nice tone in this tale of nasty doings in today's debased publishing industry. Her lady-at-the-top is smart, sane Jessica Garfield Hale, who's a much gentler and more obviously vulnerable superstar than Bette Davis' Margo Channing; senior editor at prestigious Caxton Press, 38-year-old Jessica is a happily divorced mother who's nursing memories of her hopeless love affair with writer Steven Milsom (a married Prince Charming) while carrying on a companionable affair with Edward Cummings, Caxton's owner-publisher. (Edward wants marriage, but ""the fact that I would get over him if he disappeared does give me pause."") So Jessica is already a bit frazzled when she hires magazine-writer Blake Schaefer, a bright young blonde, as her assistant. At first, of course, Blake is so helpful and eager--but soon she's coolly, ruthlessly stealing authors, projects, and. . . Edward (who's ready to turn very nasty when Jessica turns down his marriage offer). Will Jessica come out on top? You bet: she'll have a mini-encore fling with Steven (and get over him at last), and she'll watch while Blake bungles Caxton's much-needed Big Book of the Season. All of this is fine, however familiar both the Eve bit and Jessica's single love-life may be. (Her chumship with a woman writer, on the other hand, is fresh and specific and lovely.) But best of all here is Rinzler's catty, all-too-believable peek into the publishing biz: the subsidiary-rights director who needs her own bathroom because she throws up during paperback auctions; the PR department (""the secret was that none of those involved in selling the book ever read it""); lunches, agents, book-clubs, job-search on the cocktail circuit (Jessica has a scary stretch when her days at Caxton seem numbered); the increasing, rank commercialization of once-respectable houses; the decreasing quality of editors (""The old ones spend all their time at lunch. The young ones can't hack it""). Breezy and tart, but never brittle--a bright dab of entertainment for just about anybody and required reading for book-world watchers of all persuasions.

Pub Date: June 30th, 1980
Publisher: Putnam