The Best of Everything - Rona Jaffe

Rona Jaffe's 1958 bestseller, The Best of Everything, was set in the publishing world of 1950s Manhattan, and followed the lives of four young women who "had come to the city to find love, to build their careers, and to savour the indefinable optimism of the times."

It was something of a fore-runner to Mary McCarthy's The Group, and it dealt frankly, and with humour, with issues in women's sexual lives as well as their careers, like one-night stands, abortion, sexual harassment. 

It was largely forgotten about until an early episode of Mad Men showed a shirtless Don Draper reading it in bed (what would he learn from it, I wonder?), and subsequent curiosity about it meant it was republished last year.

I was asked by Vivien Goldman to contribute to a programme she was making about Rona Jaffe for Radio 4, and you can hear what I have to say here:


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