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Kitchen Privileges: A Memoir [Paperback]

Mary Higgins Clark
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 21 2003

Dear Reader,
Kitchen Privileges is a book that I feel as though I have been writing ever since I was twelve years old.
In these pages, I've tried to show how my mother's belief in me kept alive my dream to be a writer. My father's early death left her with three young children to support. A generation later my husband's early death left me in exactly that position except that I had five children.
Mother supported us by renting rooms, allowing our paying guests to have the privilege of preparing light meals in the kitchen. I supported my family by writing radio shows. Very early in the morning I put my typewriter on the kitchen table before I went to work in Manhattan and spent a few privileged and priceless hours working on my first novel.
I have found that dreams do come true, and I hope that anyone reading this book may feel encouraged to follow his or her own dreams even when the odds against achieving them seem great.

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Kitchen Privileges: A Memoir + Mount Vernon Love Story: A Novel of George and Martha Washington
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Clark, author of 27 bestselling novels, has shifted gears and written a memoir that speaks directly to readers. The touching collection of anecdotes begins with a Depression-era childhood in the Bronx lacking in money but rich with love. The author's mother, who told everyone, "Mary is very gifted... [she's] going to be a successful writer," supplemented her income by renting out rooms with "kitchen privileges," and raised her children with selfless heroism, proving a shining example when Clark became a young widow, left to bring up five children on her own. The book proves particularly engaging when Clark tells of her writing group and the professor, William Byron Mowery, who taught her to think "what if" and "suppose" as a way of devising interesting plots. She conveys her courtship with her first husband sensitively and humorously, and writes of his death in honest, understated prose. Clark charts her literary road frankly, pointing out the numerous rejection slips and the failure of her first book, Aspire to the Heavens-the love story of George and Martha Washington-due to a misleading, uncommercial title. It's typical of her optimism that she considered it a triumph ("I knew... I had what it took to actually write a book"). Ranging from stories of illness and struggle to her happy 1996 marriage to Merrill Lynch CEO John Conheeney, this memoir shows what can be done when someone pursues her dreams, remains action-oriented and fights to overcome enormous obstacles. Photos.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Popular thriller writer Clark once struggled like many other writers to get her work noticed and published, and in her memoir, she shares both her story of this and other trials. Growing up during the Depression in New York, Mary was doted on by her loving parents and was often found playing with her two brothers, Joseph and John. Her father's death at 54 was the first tragedy of young Mary's life. Her mother was forced to take in lodgers to make ends meet, and a variety of eccentrics traipsed through the Higgins household. Mary opted for secretarial school over college, knowing that money was a constant concern for her family. After a few years as a secretary, Mary daringly decided to apply to be a flight attendant, and she spent a year flying around the world. She returned to marry Warren Clark, a dashing family friend who had captured her heart long ago. Together the pair had five children, and while caring for them, Mary diligently worked on her writing. She sent out story after story, facing the rejection that deters so many writers. Mary persevered, eventually getting a story accepted. But Warren's health was failing, and he died of a heart attack in 1964. Following his death, Mary took a job writing for a radio program, and eventually began working on the novels that brought her so much success. Clark's many fans will find her life just as interesting as her many novels. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
My first conscious memory is of being three years old and looking down at my new baby brother with a mixture of curiosity and distress. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback
The Memoir, especially as written by a fellow writer, has become
my genre of choice lately.
"Kitchen Privileges" came highly recommended and I enjoyed the
reading. I am not a big reader of Mary Higgins Clark: I have only tried out three or four of her page turners. Nonetheless, discovering her life through this memoir was quite fascinating.
Tidbits that surprised me (and at the same time, brought me to
say "Oh, ofcourse!) include the many tragedies that make up her
life. Even as I call them "tragedies" I can almost feel her disagree.
Her spirit seemed to recognize and acknowledge the less-than-idyllic factors which make up the tapestry of her life AND at the same time, she didn't ever allow those to stop her.... she had a life to live, after all, as we all do.
My favorite "fact tidbit" was to read about Mary Higgins Clark's original writing jobs as well as her original writing group. It really reinforces how important it can be for ALL writers to participate in critique and writing groups with other writers.
She has one particular career in writing that made me say "OH!
So thats how she honed the craft of 'page turning writer' compelling the reader to find out more". I don't want to give it away, though..... instead I invite you to experience the book yourself.
Was this review helpful to you?
Format:Hardcover
The Memoir, especially as written by a fellow writer, has become
my genre of choice lately.
"Kitchen Privileges" came highly recommended and I enjoyed the
reading. I am not a big reader of Mary Higgins Clark: I have only
tried out three or four of her page turners. Nonetheless, discovering
her life through this memoir was quite fascinating.
Tidbits that surprised me (and at the same time, brought me to
say "Oh, ofcourse!) include the many tragedies that make up her
life. Even as I call them "tragedies" I can almost feel her disagree.
Her spirit seemed to recognize and acknowledge the less-than-idyllic
factors which make up the tapestry of her life AND at the same
time, she didn't ever allow those to stop her.... she had a life to live,
after all, as we all do.
My favorite "fact tidbit" was to read about Mary Higgins Clark's
original writing jobs as well as her original writing group. It
really reinforces how important it can be for ALL writers to
participate in critique and writing groups with other writers.
She has one particular career in writing that made me say "OH!
So thats how she honed the craft of 'page turning writer' compelling
the reader to find out more". I don't want to give it away, though..... instead
I invite you to experience the book yourself.
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars Show me more of the kitchen, please. Feb. 15 2003
Format:Hardcover
Kitchen Privileges is the memoir written by Mary Higgins Clark's which begins with her childhood. Clark, the prolific mystery author introduces her readers to her parents, brothers a there early life in the Bronx. Surrounded by a large Irish family, Mary, relates a wonderful childhood until the death of her father. Her mother hard pressed to earn money took in boarders with advertisement of an "available room with kitchen privileges, " which we learn annoyed their neighbors. From her early childhood, we then learn about her job as a flight attendant, then marriage to John Clark and the birth of her five children. Death takes her husband at a young age and now the book goes on to describe Mary's early efforts at finding a job and then writing her first book. The end of the book hurriedly tells her readers about her great success at publishing umpteen popular books, some of which have also been made into TV movies. Unfortunately the end was written in a matter of pages as she talks of her marriage later in life and playing with her grandchildren. This along with the weak writing may be the failing of the book. The end was rushed and the writing was almost as if Clark was giving an oral history on paper rather than then editing and polishing. She also spent little time on the more emotional aspects of her life as she was off and running to the next part of her life.
Once an avid reader of Clark in the last number of years I have tired of her formula books which are same old, same old. This memoir is no exception. While her rise to fame is well known by many, this book left me hungering for a bit more substance. But on the other hand it does provide a glimpse of her life if only the Cliff Notes version.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring! Uplifting! Jan. 1 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Mary Higgins Clark is one of my favorite fiction writers (I've read all her books)...but my favorite kinds of books are biographies/autobiographies and when I found out about this book I read it as soon as I could. Her true story is incredible. I was amazed at how much tragedy this woman has endured, yet continues to move forward in her life. It is inspiring to the Nth degree. I was feeling somewhat depressed over the holidays, missing my parents who'd died 5 years ago, as well a feeling sorry for myself for some other things, but as I read this book, I realized I needed to move forward in my life as well. I hope to always keep her true-life story in mind whenever I start feeling down. A few disappointments in the book: The book was too short. It was the type of book that I wanted to go on alot longer, I forced myself to take my time reading it because I didn't want it to end! It kind of moved too quickly. Higgins Clark doesn't expound much on her feelings; she could have elaborated more in many areas. (But perhaps this is why she's had so much success in life, because she doesn't get stuck in emotional traps). However, I finished the book wanting a more in-depth feel to the main character. If you've read one or more of her books, and especially if you, like me, check out the back cover of her fiction work where there's always a glossy photograph of Mary glamourously dressed and dripping in jewels, you should read the book. Over all, a quick, terrific read. P.S. Various family photos in the book a big plus.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll enjoy it
This is a must for any fan of Ms. Higgins Clark. She overcame so much in her life and yet always held her head up high to show the true lady that she is. Read more
Published on Sept. 3 2009 by beegirl1978
5.0 out of 5 stars A heartwarming autobiography
I have been a fan of Mary Higgins Clark since junior high school when I first read, "A Cry in the Night". Read more
Published on May 3 2004 by Ginger Green
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and real!
I listened to the CD version (unabridged). I am usually not all that fond of autobiographies, but I found this one highly entertaining, with many funny personal stories. Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2004 by L. Forrest
5.0 out of 5 stars Clark's voice comes through clearly
The voice of Mary Higgins Clark comes through clearly to her many readers in "Kitchen Privileges." Her story-telling skills are on display as she relates the events through the... Read more
Published on Nov. 8 2003 by Karen Sampson Hudson
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching book by a wonderful author
I've been reading Mary Higgins Clark's well-woven tales of mystery since I was a little girl. I long admired and enjoyed Mrs. Read more
Published on Aug. 5 2003 by "chick-lit-chick"
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching book by a wonderful author
I've been reading Mary Higgins Clark's well-woven tales of mystery since I was a little girl. I long admired and enjoyed Mrs. Read more
Published on Aug. 5 2003 by "chick-lit-chick"
3.0 out of 5 stars cut too short
i enjoyed learning about her youth and how she got into writing but she cut it off way too soon . i would have liked to have read about after she got published and became so... Read more
Published on July 25 2003 by "maryparker1"
5.0 out of 5 stars Mary Higgins Clark
Kitchen Privileges is a very interesting biography.
I love Mary Higgins Clark novels, she's my favourite author, so It was interesting to read her life. Read more
Published on July 5 2003 by H. Georges
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong lady from a wonderful family
Clark does a good job of allowing us to see her life growing up and how she became the writer she always wanted to be. Read more
Published on June 28 2003 by Sandra Trolinger
4.0 out of 5 stars Remembering Mary as a Young Girl
I really enjoyed listening to her story. I am fascinated by the way authors get their start in being published. Their perservence and dedication is what makes them an author. Read more
Published on June 28 2003 by R. C. Hiller
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