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The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki Book Review

Reasons for Reading This Book:

As a dedicated Readhead I read The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki. What is a ReadHead you ask? The Readheads is a podcast book club that reads a book each month and then puts out a podcast episode where the four hosts discuss, rate, and choose actors for the characters. The episodes are put out the first Thursday of every month. This month's choice was from Jackie O, our historic fiction queen. The last time we read a similar historic fiction book I really liked it so I was excited to read this one too.

Content of This Book:

Marjorie Merriweather Post is the daughter of C.W. Post the founder of Post Cereal Company. After growing up in Battle Creek, Michigan Marjorie made a name for herself through her business, phlanthrophy, entertaining, as a wife, as a mother, and endless high-society and political connections. From hosting presidents’ parties to serving the homeless of the Great Depression Marjorie has lived many lives. Both before and after becoming the wealthiest woman in the United States Marjorie was always striving for more. Could this be the reason for her four marriages? Read to find out about the magnificent and luxurious life of Marjorie Post.

What I Liked About This Book:

I loved the luxury and talk of expensive art collections, jewels, fashion, parties and over the top homes and home decor. I find it so fun to read about a life of luxury and what it's like to have an unlimited amount of money to spend. This is a constant topic of this book, 'I have so much money I don't know how to spend it'. As someone who has always loved learning about connections between celebrities and people with power, I very much enjoyed reading about all the people Marjorie knew and who was in her circle of friends. I watched the HBO series The Gilded Age and loved reading about how Marjorie was friends with some of the people that were highlighted in that show. I was really interested in reading about the business and how it grew from one product to a company that acquired so many other brands. The business side of the story was just as intriguing as her love life. Allison Pataki told a well rounded account of Marjorie Post by detailing all of the things that were important to her. This included her business, her parents, daughters, husbands, philanthropy, and entertaining. As someone who is big into service I fascinated by her interest in philanthropy. I have some more thoughts on it that I will discuss in the disliked section. I loved that this book was so easy to read. It flowed from chapter to chapter effortlessly. The timeframes given were helpful in seeing the jumps in time. I truly feel like this was a well organized and thorough account of Marjorie Post's life. The author did a great job of adding in little updates on say her daughter's when there was a jump in time. The descriptions of this book gave the reader an understanding of just how extravagant her life was, but also told about the not so pretty and depressing times in her life. In that way it really did give a full picture of her life. When it comes to historic fiction I am not the biggest fan of war or war-time books. Allison included the war and its significance into this novel but not in an overpowering way. The amount of time spent on the war was just enough for me to be informed on her involvement and the progression and ending of it without it being the main focus. This is apart of historic fiction that is not a big interest of mine. Allison incorporated it beautifully into the rest of Majorie's life story. 

What I Disliked About This Book:

When it comes to Marjorie's philanthropy efforts I was at first really impressed and dying for more details, but was soon disappointed when she just threw money at projects to fix the problems instead of being in the action helping. This feeling was lessened later in the novel when she did take on a big government responsibility that was very useful to the country. Something that the author chose to focus on and repeatedly bring up was the way Marjorie's father was always praising her. As I reflected on her as a 'character' I realized that this praising led to her having somewhat of an ego that to her, put her above others. This seemed to come out when she was not well received by those of different wealth or place within society. She always fell back on, 'well my father said I am smart and can do this and that', which is true but also led her to push people away that could have done great things for her. If you read the book then you will see this is true for her relationship with the journalist. I also found there to be extensive character development of the people in Marjorie's but only to an extent for Majorie. Upon reflection and the conversation that was had on the podcast episode, we only got her perspective on her divorces and the downfalls of her marriages. We never got a perspective of what she did wrong or caused in the marriage. I find it hard to believe that only the husbands were at fault. 

Would I Recommend This Book?

I have always loved hearing, watching, and reading stories about people's lives and this book hit the mark for me. It was hard for me to put this book down each time I picked it up to read. I devoured it!! Even if you are not the biggest fan of historic fiction, there is something in this book that you will love. I highly recommend it for all readers!!

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