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Miss New York Has Everything Paperback – January 23, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Don't let the smiling stewardess on the cover fool you: Jakiela's memoir has more in common with Chuck Klosterman than Coffee, Tea or Me? The early story focuses on the author's 1970s childhood in a working-class Pennsylvania town, especially on her father, a factory worker who considered other people "cockroaches," but doted on his pet miniature poodle. She dwells on her love of '70s pop idols like Shaun Cassidy and explains that her decision to abandon a career as a journalist and writing teacher to become a flight attendant was inspired by a childhood admiration for Marlo Thomas and That Girl. Unsurprisingly, Jakiela discovers life in the skies isn't really glamorous, and the job quickly takes an emotional toll. "My world started to shrink down to small spaces," Jakiela writes, an endless chain of jet cabins and hotel rooms. But there are also poignant moments in brief portraits of colleagues and passengers, and more than enough proof that Jakiela's decision to pursue a writing career was the right move. (Jan. 23)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: 5 Spot; 1st Printing edition (January 23, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044669553X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446695534
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,007,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lori Jakiela is the author of the memoirs The Bridge to Take When Things Get Serious (C&R Press) and Miss New York Has Everything (Hatchette), as well as the poetry collection Spot the Terrorist (Turning Point). Her limited-edition poetry chapbooks include The Regulars (Liquid Paper Press/​winner of The Nerve Cowboy Chapbook competition); The Mill Hunk's Daughter Meets the Queen of Sky (Finishing Line); and Red Eye (Pudding House).

Her third memoir -- Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe -- is forthcoming from Atticus in 2015.

Her writing has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Quarterly, The Rumpus, Brevity, Superstition Review, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The Fourth River and more. Her work has been widely anthologized in textbooks, most recently in Short Takes (Elizabeth Penfeld, editor); The Truth of the Matter (Dinty Moore, editor); Keep it Real (Lee Gutkind, editor); and Between Song and Story: Essays for the 21st Century (Sheryl St. Germain and Margaret Whitford, editors).

She has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize many times, is the recipient of a Golden Quill award for column writing from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, performed at Lollapalooza and won the first-ever Literary Death Match/​Pittsburgh.

A former flight attendant and journalist, Jakiela now teaches writing. She received the Alumni Association's Outstanding Faculty Award from The University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg, where she is an associate professor of English in the undergraduate Writing Program. She also teaches in the graduate writing program at Chatham University and co-directs the summer writing festival at Chautauqua Institution.

She lives outside of Pittsburgh with her husband -- author Dave Newman -- and their family.

She occasionally blogs about writing and other stuff she likes at http://ljwritesbooks.com. Her official author website is http://lorijakiela.net.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael Lima VINE VOICE on April 22, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I realized this wasn't going to be a "pick-me-up" book when I saw that the common thread to each chapter is the disappointment that comes when one realizes a dream, only to find that the dream wasn't as great as one first imagined. Sure enough, the melancholy in Miss New York Has Everything is as thick as peanut butter. Some may be unable to get past this sadness and thus find the book unappealing. But, I found three factors which offset the melancholy enough to make the book entertaining. First, Jakiela knows how to put a sentence together. Her writing style is accessible and powerful, thus making the book a quick read. Second, she sprinkles just enough humor in the story to take the edge off the moroseness. Finally, the emotion behind the story is genuine, thereby making it easy to relate to Jakiela and her travails. Because of these factors, I actually felt a little bit hopeful for Jakiela by the end of Miss New York Has Everything. I also felt good for having spent time reading this painfully honest, yet emotionally rewarding, memoir.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Colleen10014 on December 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
After reading a few chapters of this book, I was a little disappointed. "Miss New York Has Everything" is promoted as the story of a small-town girl who becomes a flight attendant in order to live in New York--but the first half of the book is devoted to Jakiela's childhood and upbringing in a quirky American family in Trafford, Pennsylvania. Don't get me wrong: there's nothing wrong with the first part. It's funny and quite lovely. It's just not what I expected when I bought the book.

I had to wait approximately 130 pages for Jakiela to move to New York, where she finds a life that's absolutely lacking in the glamour she envisioned while watching Marlo Thomas in "That Girl." While traveling around the world, sleeping in horrible hotels, cleaning after rude passengers or looking for love in all the wrong places, Jakiela is someone you like, someone you find yourself rooting for. The end of the book was touching and moving without ever being maudlin. And it's nice to know that even though she no longer lives here, Lori Jakiela still loves New York as much as I do.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By William D. Ehrhart on February 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best memoirs I have ever read. From start to finish, I was deeply impressed-often to the point of visibly shaking my head and/or making vocal noises loud enough to attract my wife's attention-by Jakiela's skills at understated humor, and tenderness without sappiness, and her ability to blend those two qualities with exquisite and devastating effectiveness. Moreover, Jakiela offers a unique perspective on commercial air travel: I will never again board an airplane without remembering Jakiela and endeavoring to behave in a manner that will not leave me skewered on the end of her pen.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Neutron88 on December 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
Do you ever pick up a book and know a few pages into it that you are reading something special? I didn't know where the story was going, which is befitting a good story-- but I could relate to everything that happens in this endearing memoir. It is a book about life's dreams and disappointments, reality, relationships, family and growing up ("coming of age"). Lori Jakiela has written this book with grace and humor and an embarrassingly honest demeaner.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Charwicki on July 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
I read this book in a day, mostly in my bathtub. I just couldn't put it down. I love the chapter about the poodle most of all, but it's all so good, so funny and so sad. I could relate to so much in this book!!! I haven't read a book that I connected with like this one in such a long time. The writing is beautiful also. In short, this is a classic, brilliant book. I'm reading it out loud to strangers and friends and recommending it to everyone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nicole Del Sesto on September 24, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
By the time you finish reading Miss New York Has Everything, you will wish you were Lori Jakiela's friend, while feeling like you already are.

Lori's story is endearing, relatable, at times funny, at times sad.

I've read quite a few memoir's this year, but there was something particularly touching and special about this one.

Miss New York deserves everything!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By janice p. on August 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
If you like a book that's as funny as it is sad, as heartbreaking as it is heartwarming, read this one. Tragic comedy at its best. The cover is very misleading, however. I originally picked this up thinking it would be a light beach read, but the book is much more than that. I was surprised, but happily so. Highly recommended reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CGScammell TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 31, 2007
Format: Paperback
This well-written litte memoir was an enjoyable read. Lori's childhood with her parents in the Pittsburgh area, visited by a drug-addicted aunt of a nun and ruled by Polish-Catholic norms molded this young woman to what many girls back in the 1960s dreamed of: independence, New York and a boyfriend with clean, long hair. Although she can say she lived her dream, her dream wasn't all what she thought it was until she returned to her hometown after her dad's death, got married, had kids and wrote her memoirs.

The airline years were barely half the book, most of her stories were about her childhood, then teenaged years, college and the years as a small-town writer hanging out with unambitious men on drugs. She didn't sound very happy for many years, she always kept that elusive dream in the back of her head of making it big as a writer in New York. It was answering a Delta airlines ad that brought her to New York, but the high-flying years were never that exciting as she thought they would be.

I enjoyed this book as I could relate to many episodes: the worthless boyfriends, the drinking, the dreams of New York and other exotic places, the wonderings of weird family members who always drop in when you least want them to. But her life seemed to drag a bit after her college years and I'm glad that in the end all worked out afterall, and she no longer yearned for New York when her happiness came to her later back in western Pennsylvania.

I'm glad she wrote this book, if only to give other young women hope that there's always more outside of one's hometown, but that one's hometown is always open to you. "You can't go back home" in this case didn't ring true.
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