The Red Leather Diary

The Red Leather Diary

Reclaiming A Life Through the Pages of A Lost Journal

Book - 2008
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Rescued from a Dumpster on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, a discarded diary brings to life the glamorous, forgotten world of an extraordinary young woman.

For more than half a century, the red leather diary lay silent, languishing inside a steamer trunk, its worn cover crumbling into little flakes. When a cleaning sweep of a New York City apartment building brings this lost treasure to light, both the diary and its owner are given a second life.

Recovered by Lily Koppel, a young writer working at the New York Times, the journal paints a vivid picture of 1930s New York--horseback riding in Central Park, summer excursions to the Catskills, and an obsession with a famous avant-garde actress. From 1929 to 1934, not a single day's entry is skipped.

Opening the tarnished brass lock, Koppel embarks on a journey into the past, traveling to a New York in which women of privilege meet for tea at Schrafft's, dance at the Hotel Pennsylvania, and toast the night at El Morocco. As she turns the diary's brittle pages, Koppel is captivated by the headstrong young woman whose intimate thoughts and emotions fill the pale blue lines. Who was this lovely ing#65533;nue who adored the works of Baudelaire and Jane Austen, who was sexually curious beyond her years, who traveled to Rome, Paris, and London?

Compelled by the hopes and heartaches captured in the pages, Koppel sets out to find the diary's owner, her only clue the inscription on the frontispiece--"This book belongs to . . . Florence Wolfson." A chance phone call from a private investigator leads Koppel to Florence, a ninety-year-old woman living with her husband of sixty-seven years. Reunited with her diary, Florence ventures back to the girl she once was, rediscovering a lost self that burned with artistic fervor.

Joining intimate interviews with original diary entries, Koppel reveals the world of a New York teenager obsessed with the state of her soul and her appearance, and muses on the serendipitous chain of events that returned the lost journal to its owner. Evocative and entrancing, The Red Leather Diary re-creates the romance and glitter, sophistication and promise, of 1930s New York, bringing to life the true story of a precocious young woman who dared to follow her dreams.

Publisher: New York : HarperCollins, [2008]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2008
ISBN: 9780061256776
0061256773
Branch Call Number: 974.71043092 HOWIT KOP
Characteristics: xi, 321 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm

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occy
Aug 05, 2013

Florence was a smart, privileged Manhattan teenager when she started her diary in 1929. For five years, she wrote of her daily life, and her thoughts and dreams. Decades later, Lily Koppel, a journalist with the NY Times found the diary in a dumpster at the side of the road where a brownstone was being renovated and the story of how this novel come to be began. After much searching she finally finds Florence who is now 92 and living in Florida.

The story was definitely an eye opener as to the life and freedom that the affluent teenager had in those days. Her life was certainly more exciting and adventurous than teenagers of today.

Although it has gotten mixed reviews, I certainly enjoyed it and wld give it a 4 out of 5

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