Date of publication: September 2014
The author of Passages, a book that changed millions of lives, now lays bare her own life passages in a captivating memoir that reveals her harrowing and ultimately triumphant path from groundbreaking 1960s “girl” journalist to fearless bestselling author who made a career of excavating cultural taboos—from sex, menopause, and midlife crisis to illness, caregiving, and death. Daring to blaze a trail in a “man’s world,” Gail Sheehy became one of the premier practitioners of New Journalism at the fledgling New Yorkmagazine, along with such stellar writers as Tom Wolfe, Gloria Steinem, and Jimmy Breslin. Sheehy dared to walk New York City’s streets with hookers and pimps to expose violent prostitution; to march with civil rights protesters in Northern Ireland as British soldiers opened fire; to seek out Egypt’s president Anwar Sadat when he was targeted for assassination after making peace with Israel; and to break the glass ceiling in a media world fueled by testosterone, competition, and grit.
Daring: My Passages is also the beguiling love story of Sheehy’s tempestuous romance with Clay Felker, the charismatic creator of New York magazine and the mentor who inspired her to become a fearless journalist who won renown for her penetrating character portraits of world leaders, including Hillary Clinton, both Presidents Bush, British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, and Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev, among others.
Sheehy reflects on desire, ambition, and wanting it all—career, love, children, friends, social significance—and coming to terms with waiting until midlife to achieve it all. With candor and humor, she describes her early failures; the pain of betrayal in a first marriage; her struggles as a single mother; the flings of an ardent, liberated young woman; the vertigo of becoming an internationally bestselling author; her adoption of a second daughter from a refugee camp; the poignant account of Clay’s decline; and her ongoing passion for life, work, and love.
Fascinating and no-holds-barred, Daring: My Passages is a testament to guts, resilience, and smarts, and offers a bold perspective on all of life’s passages.
The long summary above gives you the basic run down of what you will find amid the pages of Daring: My Passages. What I will tell you is that Ms. Sheehy has given us a fascinating glimpse into her career and her personal life. I'm really not a reader of biographies/autobiographies. I don't usually find anyone's life fascinating enough to read about other than a wikipedia blurb. But, I decided to go outside of my comfort zone and give this a try.
The book is an easy read and an easy one to get into. There is a LOT of name dropping, but that is just a testament to how fascinating her career has been. The number of historical events that she was witness to is amazing. I loved the story about her taking her sister to Woodstock in an attempt to hide from her drug dealing boyfriend. She admits to the irony of taking a recovering drug addict to what was basically a pot festival with music. The one thing that I do admire about her is not all of the famous people she met or the articles that she wrote. It is that fact that she was a single mom who didn't give up. She didn't come from money and she worked hard to get where she is today.
Up until I read this book, I really had no idea who Ms. Sheehy was, but I know I want to seek out other works that she has published. I do recommend this memoir. I think that lovers of memoirs will find this a fascinating read.
About Gail Sheehy
Gail Sheehy is the author of sixteen books, including the classic New York Times bestseller Passages, named one of the ten most influential books of our times by the Library of Congress. A multiple award-winning literary journalist, she was one of the original contributors to New York magazine and has been a contributing editor to Vanity Fair since 1984. A popular lecturer, Sheehy was named AARP’s Ambassador of Caregiving in 2009. She lives in New York City.
Gail’s Tour Stops
Thursday, September 18th: Book Loving Hippo
Tuesday, September 23rd: Read. Write. Repeat.
Wednesday, September 24th: missris
Wednesday, September 24th: Stephany Writes
Friday, September 26th: Bibliotica
Monday, September 29th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, September 30th: guiltless reading
Wednesday, October 1st: From the TBR Pile
Monday, October 6th: nightlyreading
Wednesday, October 15th: Under a Gray Sky
TBD: My Bookshelf