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Download Not Pretty Enough: The Unlikely Triumph of Helen Gurley Brown Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Not Pretty Enough: The Unlikely Triumph of Helen Gurley Brown Audiobook, by Gerri Hirshey Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Gerri Hirshey Narrator: Eliza Foss Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2016 ISBN: 9781524708788
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A bold and deeply researched biography of a complicated cultural icon

When Helen Gurley Brown published Sex and the Single Girl in 1962, it sold more than two million copies in just three weeks, presaging the self-help boom and helping to usher in the unapologetic self-affirmation of second wave feminism. Brown declared that it was okay, even imperative, to enjoy sex outside of marriage; that equal rights for women should extend to the bedroom; that meaningful work outside the home was essential for a woman's security and self-esteem. The book catapulted Brown into national renown, cementing her status as a complex and divisive feminist personality. And the ripple effects of her outspokenness about sex and her emphasis on friendships between women can still be seen today, on TV shows like Sex and the City and Girls, and in the magazine world as well.When she died in 2012, her obituary appeared on the front page of The New York Times, which noted that "the look of women's magazines today . . . is due in no small part to her influence." She may not always have been loved--but she was always talked about.

Brown's life story--a classic American rags-to-riches tale--is just as juicy as her controversial books. In this wonderful new biography, the writer and reporter Gerri Hirshey traces Brown's path from deep in the Arkansas Ozarks to her wild single years in Los Angeles, from the New York magazine world to her Hollywood adventures with her film producer husband. Along the way she became the highest-paid female ad copywriter on the West Coast, and transformed Hearst's failing literary magazine, Cosmopolitan, into the female-oriented global juggernaut it is today. Full of firsthand accounts of Brown from some of her closest friends, including Liz Smith, Gloria Vanderbilt, Barbara Walters, and more, as well as those whose paths she brushed--her 1939 prom date, a sorority sister from business school, Cosmo cover girls like Beverly Johnson and Brooke Shields--and writing from the woman herself, Not Pretty Enough is a vital biography that shines new light on the life of one of the most incomparable and indelible women of the twentieth century. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Simply the best, brimming with fresh dish and insight.”

    AARP Magazine

  • “This rollicking, masterful biography celebrates a woman who had the audacity to tell us something we secretly already knew: Sex matters.”


  • “It reads like the plot of a B-movie from the 1950s. Plain girl from a poor Midwestern family, scarred by the horrific accident that killed her beloved father, grows up to be a hot-shot trailblazing New York executive, marries a media mogul, and rules the world. But…Hirshey’s brilliantly journalistic biography of Brown adds nuance and subtlety and cultural history.”


  • “Hirshey’s psychological insights into Brown’s childhood…deepen and complicate the plucky image that Brown projected in public.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “This engrossing biography…is written in a style worthy of its subject.”

    New Yorker

  • “A truly fascinating listen. The Hearst Corporation apparently has a stranglehold on Brown’s archives at Smith College, though she meant them to be available to researchers. Gerri Hirshey has found ingenious ways around their self-serving obstructions; she tells a full, complex story of a unique personality and her mid-century world. Eliza Foss is perfectly equipped to narrate this juicy saga with warmth, sympathy, and enthusiasm.”


  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for July 2016
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About the Author
For more than thirty years, Gerri Hirshey has worked as a features writer, columnist, reporter, and essayist at The Washington Post, The New York Times MagazineVanity FairGQ, Esquire, and New York, among others. She has also written for O, The Oprah Magazine, More,The NationFood & WineLadies' Home Journal, and Parade. Beginning in the 1980s, Hirshey was the first female contributing editor toRolling Stone--she wrote celebrity profiles of numerous artists, musicians, actors, authors, and fashion designers. She is the author of several books, including Nowhere to Run: The Story of Soul Music, which is now in its seventh reprint incarnation, and We Gotta Get Outta This Place: The True, Tough Story of Women in Rock. Hirshey lives in New York City with her husband, Mark Zwonitzer, a writer and documentary filmmaker; they have two young adult children.
About the Narrator

Eliza Foss is an actress who has appeared in numerous theaters in New York City and around the country. She has narrated over thirty books and short stories, been featured in AudioFile magazine, and won five AudioFile Earphones Awards for her narrations.