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DECADES (Park Avenue Series, Book #1) by [Harris, Ruth]
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DECADES (Park Avenue Series, Book #1) Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 139 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Powerful...A gripping novel.” — Women Today Book Club

“The songs we sang, the clothes we wore, the way we made love. DECADES will have three generations of American women reliving their love lives and recognizing ruefully and with wry affection just what changes have overtaken them.  The characterizations are good and the period atmosphere "absolutely perfect.” —Publisher’s Weekly

“Three generations of women are  succinctly capsuled in this novel by a writer who has all the intellect of Mary McCarthy, all the insight of Joan Didion.  Rarely have attitudes been so probingly examined. Tough, trenchant, chic and ultra-sophisticated, Ms. Harris recreates the decades in which her heroines lived, from zoot suits and Sammy Kaye, through Eisenhower, Elvis and poodle-cut hairdos to moon walks, Mick Jagger and micro-minis.  A brilliant book!” --Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“Evokes the feelings of what it was like to grow up female in the innocence of the 40’s, the movie-formed dreams of the 50’s, the disillusion of the 60’s. It’s all here—the songs, the headlines, the national preoccupations, even the underwear.”  —New York magazine

“I read DECADES straight through at one sitting and the more I think about that, the more impressive the novel seems.” — Houston Post

“Terrific!” —Cosmopolitan 

From the Author

I hope you will enjoy DECADES and come away with new insight into the past challenges that helped make us the strong, successful women we are today.

Join my news letter for fun, interesting content and exclusive offers. eepurl.com/CUioz

Product Details

  • File Size: 1747 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: December 26, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004H1TCXO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #418,685 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I first read "Decades" when I was 15 (I was one of those kids who skipped YA and headed straight for the adult section of the bookstore). I read it again in my 20s and again in my 30s, and found it equally compelling - and different - each time.

Each of the heroines is a metaphor for her own decade, showing both the good and the bad choices women faced, as well as the good and bad choices they made. The descriptions are particularly vivid, and often very funny. One of my favorites is (quoting/paraphrasing from memory): They would have had sex swinging from the chandeliers - if the hotel room had chandeliers.

Highly recommended, especially for those who miss the juicy, soapy, multi-generational novels of the 1980s.

Alina Adams
[...]
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Format: Kindle Edition
This engaging Novel explores the lives of three very different women who evolved in three very distinct eras. The glue that binds these women together is Nat, husband to Evelyn, Father to Joy and Lover to Barbara. These three women find themselves joined by their connection to Nat. Each woman deals with their conflicting needs and the moral values they grew up with. Their struggles lead to a stunning clash that will leave each one of them struggling with their own beliefs and judgments.

Barbara was married in the 50's and became the mother of two children. Her marriage was very traditional in the sense that she was expected to be devoted to her husband her children and her home. Barbara felt that there was something more she needed to be fulfilled. She ends up divorced from a husband whose top priority is work. She strives to become a single mother and a force in the workplace. She struggles with relationships and trust issues until she meets Nat and becomes his mistress.

Evelyn is a classic product of the 40's and is married and extremely devoted to Nat. Her goal is to please him and make him and their home as comfortable as possible. They have a daughter and their differences in how to raise a child are a point of contention. Evelyn suffers from issues that were not talked about openly at that time and cause her to wrestle with her feelings and feel very isolated.

Joy is the daughter of Evelyn and Nat born in the 60's. She is very rebellious and her mother has a hard time dealing with her. Her father encourages her manipulative and outrageous behavior and also her hatred of her mother. Joy finds herself trying to deal with the permissiveness of her generation and searches for a way to find a life of happiness and satisfaction.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is one of those books that I remember my mother having on her bookshelf when I was a child. There were lots of period references (published in 1974 & the story spans the 40s through the early 70s) that I didn't get (like names of popular shops, things that were on television & accidents or cases that took place at the time) but that didn't keep me from thoroughly enjoying this. It was very easy to connect to the characters & just fall into the flow of the story. I believed every character & the tragic nature of the lives they led. I plan on reading the rest in this series. If you want a story you can't tear yourself away from while on vacation or travelling to get there, I highly recommend this!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What is there to add after all the rave reviews that greeted this best selling classic when it came out in 1974 - traditionally published of course by one of the big all-time publishers,Simon and Shuster.

Nothing except to say that it is still highly relevant and an extraordinary testimonial to the harrowing role model changes women went through after World War II - the baby boomer era! Three decades, each crucial in its own way, calling in the next with the usual give-and-take, push-and-pull, destroy-and-rebuild that characterizes all human relationships. For this is a fast-paced novel full of suspense! Because for a woman to move to the next role model as the forties folded into the fifties, sixties and ultimately seventies, didn't come without pain and doubt. Each major female character in this book impersonates one of the typical role models: the good wife of the 40s and 50s, the liberated and ambitious professional career woman of the 60s and 70s, and the young daughter who is poised between the two, suffers from an over-permissive education (that too was typical of the times!)and is uncertain about which way to go, what role model to follow. Because the novel ends on a question mark making you want to read the next book in the series.

This is a highly polished novel, the work of a master wordsmith and it comes as no surprise that it should be considered a "classic". It is the work of an author who is a typical baby boomer, self-questioning, highly observant, and therefore able to deliver a full panoramic overview of those transformative times, as women moved from submission to their husbands to full liberation as equals. And losing some pieces on the way as Ruth Harris does not fail to note.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Originally published in 1974 by Simon and Schuster, Decades gives you a glimpse into the romantic lives of three women in another time. Nat Baum has three important women embroidered into his life: Evelyn; his wife, Barbara; his lover, and Joy; his daughter. Decades covers their stories--of a woman (Evelyn) who loves her husband despite his shortcomings; Barbara, a divorcee who finally finds her equal and fights to claim him even though he's married to someone else; and Joy (Nat's and Evelyn's daughter), who is very close to her indulgent father while having a strained relationships with her more conservative mother.

In this novel there is no harsh judgment of right and wrong. No one emerged to me as the hero. Each character had faults and the path to right and wrong wasn't always clearly illuminated. Nat was a complex character, deeply faulted, and ultimately very self-indulgent, but haven't we all known people like that and loved some of them anyway? Nat also struck me as a bit of a chameleon--the women in his life were all very different but he easily won over all of them.

The writing style itself was extremely engaging. Ruth Harris has a clear voice that shines through the pages. From reading the parts of the book from the three different women's perspectives, I expected it all to be tied back together in a neat little package at the end, but there was no fairytale ending--just like in real life. This is a novel that will stay with you after you've finished reading it--the sign of a great book!
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