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Kitchen Privileges: A Memoir [Audio Cassette]

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

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Book Description

July 2003
Even as a young girl, growing up in the Bronx, Mary Higgins Clark knew she wanted to be a writer. The gift of storytelling was a part of her Irish ancestry, so it followed naturally that she would later use her sharp eye, keen intelligence, and inquisitive nature to create stories about the people and things she observed. When Mary's father died during the Depression, her mother decided to open the family home to boarders, and placed a discreet sign next to the front door that read, FURNISHED ROOMS. KITCHEN PRIVILEGES. The family's struggle to make ends meet; her employment as a hotel switchboard operator; the death of her beloved older brother in World War II; her brief career as a flight attendant for Pan Am; her marriage to Warren Clark; sitting at the kitchen table, writing stories, and finally selling the first one for one hundred dollars (after six years and some forty rejections!) - all these experiences figure in Kitchen Privileges.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product Details


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.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll enjoy it Sept. 3 2009
Format:Paperback
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. Don't expect any revelations or skeletons from her closet, but a touching autobiography of her life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A heartwarming autobiography May 3 2004
Format:Paperback
I have been a fan of Mary Higgins Clark since junior high school when I first read, "A Cry in the Night". As a 31-year old working mother of two, I barely have time to read anything leisurely anymore! Over the years I have read many of her books, but I have found this one the most entertaining to date. This book brought me to tears on more than one occasion. This is a truly inspiring human story of love and loss that many people will relate to. I applaud her determination in making all of her dreams come true. I have forwarded the book to a dear aunt who writes short stories to give her some encouragement. I hope this review has been helpful.
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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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and real! Jan. 15 2004
Format:Paperback
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. It was also honest and real. This is the life story of someone who too often was given lemons, but always chose to make lemonade. I enjoyed every minute. She brings you right into her world. Incidentally, listening to the CD was also wonderful because the author did the recording, so she knew just where to put the emphasis.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Clark's voice comes through clearly Nov. 8 2003
Format:Hardcover
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 decades of her life. Populating the story are family and friends, dear to her, and a theme throughout (though understated) is her warm Irish pluck, that courage that enabled her to raise five children when she was left on her own as a young widow. Clark is modest about her highly-honed writing ability; also, she never overplays her unfolding story. Instead she carries the reader along in a highly competent, yet matter-of-fact style---it's like she's
refusing to take the role of heroine. The woman we meet in these pages is modest, immensely likable, and still young in spirit after all these years and all these best sellers. Clark's memoir deserves the highest recommendation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Touching book by a wonderful author Aug. 6 2003
Format:Hardcover
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. Higgins Clark's gift for writing entertaining mysteries with characters that still seemed like "real people". When I saw her memoir available I scooped it up immediately and read it in one afternoon. Several times I laughed out loud and cried tears of sorrow reading about her life from its humble, beautiful beginnings in the Bronx to her struggle as a young widow with five small children. I had no idea that the author had undergone such a road in her life to reach the success and fame she now well deserves. I highly reccomend this book to any Mary Higgins Clark fan, or anyone who would like to read an account of a resourceful, tender on the inside, tough as nails on the outside lady. Bravo!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Touching book by a wonderful author Aug. 6 2003
Format:Hardcover
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. Higgins Clark's gift for writing entertaining mysteries with characters that still seemed like "real people". When I saw her memoir available I scooped it up immediately and read it in one afternoon. Several times I laughed out loud and cried tears of sorrow reading about her life from its humble, beautiful beginnings in the Bronx to her struggle as a young widow with five small children. I had no idea that the author had undergone such a road in her life to reach the success and fame she now well deserves. I highly reccomend this book to any Mary Higgins Clark fan, or anyone who would like to read an account of a resourceful, tender on the inside, tough as nails on the outside lady. Bravo!
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Most recent customer reviews
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Tragedy, Community, Intriguing Career Development & More
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... Read more
Published on June 8 2003 by Julie Jordan Scott
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting memoir
I have not read many of Mary Higgins Clark's books ~~ it's not because I don't like her writing ~~ I do ~~ it's that I don't normally read a lot of mysteries. Read more
Published on May 18 2003 by Busy Mom
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