I have a friend named Laurie Hertzel who writes lovely observations over at Three Dog Blog. She's clever, well-read, insightful and kind. And her new book is finally out.
I never knew until reading News to Me: Adventures of an Accidental Journalist that Laurie Hertzel's youth paralleled Mary Tyler Moore's--that is, if Mary Tyler Moore had worked for a newspaper instead of in television. I adore Mary Tyler Moore--intrepid young lass making it alone in the big city. I used to watch her show as a little girl and watched the Nick at Nite reruns as a working girl in my twenties. Mary was stylish and smart and I loved that the show was more about her at work than it was about her relationships as a single gal. Mary Tyler Moore was empowering--it made me see women as capable and career-oriented and happily single. Plus Rhoda lived upstairs from her--how cool was that?
While reading Laurie Hertzel's memoir about her start in the newspaper business at the Duluth News Tribune, I kept thinking of Mary all along the way...Yes, I know Laurie has famously curly hair, but in my imagination, Laurie had this sleek brown bob and wore fantastic polyester pant suits and wrap dresses.
Laurie's story is the real deal, not a made-for-television fantasy. As a teenager she steps into the bustling world of journalism--surrounded by the clack-and-rattle of typewriters and the constant ringing of telephones. In a male-dominated office she comes of age and takes on every challenge they throw her way--from copy editing to beat reporter, news editor to feature writer. Laurie recounts this fast-paced, exciting world in a memoir so compelling that I put it down once. For a bathroom break and to refill my coffee mug because you cannot read News to Me without black coffee and a cigarette. (Well, you can, and of course I didn't smoke while I read it, but darn it if I wasn't smelling cigarettes, as prominent in a 1970's newsroom as in Mad Men.) She references her personal life along the way in her story, but the focus is on her work, her fascinating, challenging, glorious work. News to Me: Adventures of an Accidental Journalist is a wonderful (and often funny) memoir of a woman at work in a world where the next story is always breaking now!
I'm giving away one copy of Laurie Hertzel's FABULOUS memoir to a lucky reader--leave a comment to enter, every comment you leave counts as an entry and I'm picking a lucky reader Sunday.
Spill it, reader. Who was your television heroine as a girl?