Tag Archives: babe paley

Book Review: The Swans of Fifth Avenue – Melanie Benjamin

25279165“From the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife comes an enthralling new novel about Truman Capote’s scandalous, headline-making, and heart-wrenching friendship with Babe Paley and New York’s society “swans” of the 1950s.

Centered on two dynamic, complicated, and compelling protagonists—Truman Capote and Babe Paley—this book is steeped in the glamour and perfumed and smoky atmosphere of New York’s high society. Babe Paley—known for her high-profile marriage to CBS founder William Paley and her ranking in the International Best-Dressed Hall of Fame—was one of the reigning monarchs of New York’s high society in the 1950s. Replete with gossip, scandal, betrayal, and a vibrant cast of real-life supporting characters, readers will be seduced by this startling new look at the infamous society swans.”

Allow me to preface this post by saying that I have never read any of Melanie Benjamin’s other books. When I posted my review on Goodreads, I read through a bunch of other people’s reviews and they all seemed to be previously enamored with the author’s work…an advantage which I don’t have, and that may or may not contribute to the fact that I rate this book a weak 3 out of 5 stars…more like a 2.5. I love dishy and scandalous stories, but quite honestly the characters, with the exception of Truman Capote bored the crap out of me. The privileged ladies who lunch set were a snooze-fest.

My primary thought upon finishing the book was “Wow, Truman Capote is a conniving little bitch!”

Below is my review from Goodreads, since aside from above I don’t feel like there’s much more to elaborate on about the book.

This book is a fictionalized account of the lives of New York society darlings who lead a very charmed existence and are enamored with this fabulously flamboyant literary wonder who sucks up to them and inserts himself into their lives under the guise of being this whimsically fun guy – which they of course lap up as the bored ladies who lunch types that they are. Later, Truman betrays their confidences for the sake of his art, and all hell breaks loose in their circle of friends.

I felt sorry for Babe, her husband is a douchebag who seemed like he realized what he had too late. (That part isn’t fictionalized.) It’s sad that she felt obligated to put up with his crap for decades.

Obligatory disclaimer: I was given an e-ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Non-obligatory ramble: If you like to read, I strongly recommend signing up for NetGalley…because free books are awesome. Especially when you get to read them before everyone else. The only catch is, these are e-books, so if you’re grossly opposed to reading from a phone/iPad/Nook/Kindle, etc you might not enjoy the site so much.