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Chocolates for Breakfast: A Novel Paperback – June 25, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


“Timeless. . . . Will surely continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.” (Publishers Weekly)

“In Moore’s resonating classic, sexually precocious 15-year-old Courtney, a bit of a female Holden Caulfield, copes with her parents’ divorce and the splitting her life between New York and California. . . . It’s poignant, edgy, and utterly readable.” (The Atlantic Wire)

“This long-overdue reprint of a scandalous 1950s coming-of-age novel chronicles the exploits of a 15-year-old girl living very much beyond her years.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

“Permeated with sadness and existential longing, Chocolates for Breakfast is about the disillusionment of wealth and the desire to find something real in a society that is constantly pretending.” (Los Angeles Review of Books)

“Themes of sex, love, identity and friendship withstand time. Moore may no longer be with us, but her first novel is, rightfully, back on the shelves.” (Chicago Tribune)

“Charming, substantive, and smart.” (The Rumpus)

“A gem of adolescent disaffection featuring a Holden Caulfield-like heroine.” (

“Once I started reading it, I didn’t want to stop, and it’s certainly one of the best books I’ve read all year. . . . If your all-time favorite books include works of young-adult fiction (like Catcher), I strongly urge you to take a look.” (USA Today/Pop Candy)

“Enduring edge.” (

“A new (well, not new, but new to most of us) addition to the smart, edgy coming-of-age female lexicon. . . . Especially perfect for any too-cool Class of 2013 high school girl in your life, or someone who just is one at heart. . . . Totally unputdownable in the best way.” (Jezebel)

“Shocks and shocks again.” (Glamour)

“[An] appallingly frank first novel by an extraordinarily precocious artist.” (Chicago Tribune)

“Not very long ago it would have been regarded as shocking to find girls in their teens reading the kind of books they’re now writing.” (New York Times)

“This book is a sexier more cosmopolitan Bell Jar--young girl, manic depression, New York, LA. It is amazing. Everyone who loves The Dud Avocado will go crazy for this novel.” (Emma Straub, author of Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures)

“Found this book long ago in my parents’ library, a risqué looking paperback--and read it so many times I had to tape the pages back in. It was every naughty thing I hoped life would be like.” (Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander)

“A coming-of-age novel of the most interesting variety. . . as relevant today as it did when published nearly 60 years ago, proving as shocking and important to today’s world as it did in the 1950s.” (Shelf Awareness)

“In a lot of ways, Courtney Farrell is on par with Lena Dunham’s Hannah. She’s learning how to live in New York City, indulging in a mindfully crafted martini or two, and engaging in affairs with older men.” (Village Voice)

From the Back Cover

Courtney Farrell is a disaffected, sexually precocious fifteen-year-old. She splits her time between Manhattan, where her father works in publishing, and Los Angeles, where her mother is a still-beautiful Hollywood actress. After a boarding-school crush on a female teacher ends badly, Courtney sets out to learn everything fast. Her first drink is a very dry martini, and her first kiss the beginning of a full-blown love affair with an older man.

A riveting coming-of-age story, Chocolates for Breakfast became an international sensation upon its initial publication in 1956, and it still stands out as a shocking and moving account of the way teenagers collide, often disastrously, against love and sex for the first time.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (June 25, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062246917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062246912
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #386,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Scott H. on June 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
It's funny how time changes things. Out with the old, and in with the new, right? Sometimes though, it takes time for the old to become new again-- or, at least be re-explored.

I first heard of this book when Courtney Love stated in her VH1 "Behind the Music" special that her mother named her after the protagonist. After an expletive-ridden, frenetic plot summary given by Love, I was instantly intrigued; a rich alcoholic Manhattan teenager and her mother living in the Chateau Marmont, and BOTH having an affair with a gay actor? I mean, come on. It sounded like tragic literary kitsch at its finest. And, oddly enough, Courtney Love's 60 second frenetic plot rundown of the novel actually mimics the manner in which the novel is written.

'Chocolates for Breakfast' is frenetic, sad, disturbing, and strangely alluring. It tells the story of Courtney Farrell, a fifteen year old boarding school student with a rich Manhattan publisher for a father, and a faltering alcoholic Hollywood actress for a mother. The novel documents Courtney's own grapples with her sexuality, her parents, depression, substance abuse, and the apparent social wasteland of upper-class 1950s America. Comparisons to Salinger's 'Catcher in the Rye', and Plath's 'The Bell Jar' are oddly appropriate, as the novel seems to run a similar exploration of teenage ennui and isolation.

The novel, written by Pamela Moore (and published in 1956 when she was only eighteen), feels like a dimestore or pulp novel with some rather wooden prose at times, but the thematic weight of the narrative overshadows its amateurish prose. Moore's characters are rich and palpable, and the plot is energetic, disconcerting, and extremely memorable.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Megan VINE VOICE on June 25, 2013
Format: Paperback
Youth, sex and debauchery collide in a reprinted novel penned by an author as interesting as her wild, dead-eyed heroine.

Pamela Moore's CHOCOLATES FOR BREAKFAST is. . . crazed. Frenetic. Haunting. First released in 1956, Moore herself was only 18 years old when it reached publication. She would take her own life less than a decade later, already struggling to recreate the success of her explosive first novel, and it's hard to separate Pamela from Courtney, her beautiful and morose main character.

The climate surrounding CHOCOLATES FOR BREAKFAST seems crucial to understanding its shock value in the 1950s, but I'll be honest: its content isn't exactly tame by today's standards, either. Though most of the action happens off-page, 15-year-old Courtney is still day-drinking herself into oblivion, becoming involved with men who actually favor men and privately pining for a female teacher. Themes of alcoholism, sex, depression and homosexuality held shock value for '50s America . . . and sixty years later, the content is still enough to some raise eyebrows, mostly due to its teenage heroine.

As I read, I couldn't help but think of parallels between the novel and "Rebel Without A Cause." Released just a year before Moore's novel hit shelves, James Dean's Jim proclaims in the film, "If I had one day when I didn't have to be all confused and I didn't have to feel that I was ashamed of everything. If I felt that I belonged someplace. You know?"

Belonging. What a powerful concept. Shuttled between two coasts, Courtney belongs nowhere. She's used and discarded and taken advantage of by everyone in her life, and her selfish and delusional mother can't be bothered to look up from a manuscript long enough to pay attention to her only child.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By NY film buff on July 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Pamela Moore was apparently 18 years old when she wrote this interesting novel about a privileged teenager in late '50s Hollywood and New York. It's intriguing because the author was doubtless close enough in age to her heroine, 15-year-old Courtney Farrell, to put some of her own emotions and responses to life's pitfalls into the character. The story begins with the final days of Courtney's stay at a venerable, traditional boarding school, and concludes in the posh environment of "high society" deb parties in the Park Avenue section of New York City. Courtney loses her virginity to a bisexual actor in Tinseltown, moves with her actress mother to New York, and embarks on a round of partying with debutantes and Yalies and her best friend, Janet Parker, who has already "lost her reputation" (as they used to say) to booze and boyfriends. During their summer of evening gowns, long white gloves, martinis, and cigarettes, Courtney becomes involved with a rich, handsome young "degenerate" who lives in a suite in the Pierre (or is it the Plaza?). In the end, however, it appears that she will find a more "acceptable" romance with a disciplined, career-minded young Ivy Leaguer who is regarded as too "straight arrow" by the party crowd.

Another interesting point--the book gives the reader a glimpse into a way of life that your average American teenager of the 21st century would find difficult to imagine. Perhaps it still exists among the very privileged.

My question is: did Ms. Moore belong to this social milieu?
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