Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Qty:1
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
A Likely Story: One Summe... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Used: Acceptable | Details
Sold by ToyBurg
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: Eligible for FREE Super Saving Shipping! Fast Amazon shipping plus a hassle free return policy mean your satisfaction is guaranteed! Good readable copy. Worn edges and covers and may have creases. The cover may have significant wear. There may be page curls. It is possible that there are heavy highlights or writing in this book. All pages are there and otherwise item is in good condition.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

A Likely Story: One Summer with Lillian Hellman Paperback – November 9, 1999

3.3 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$15.00
$6.85 $0.01

Up to 50% off select Non-Fiction books
Featured titles are up to 50% off for a limited time. See all titles
$15.00 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • A Likely Story: One Summer with Lillian Hellman
  • +
  • The Early Arrival of Dreams: A Year in China
  • +
  • Down the Nile: Alone in a Fisherman's Skiff
Total price: $39.52
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In the 1970s, many a precocious American teenager weaned herself on Lillian Hellman's An Unfinished Woman, Pentimento, and Scoundrel Time. So what if the author didn't look like her onscreen alter ego, Jane Fonda, in Julia. Few, of course, would have dared to act on their obsession. But Rosemary Mahoney did, telling the chain-smoking, hard-drinking Hellman that she would love to work for her on Martha's Vineyard "in any capacity." Who better to toil for than a star who "glorified bad moods, gave them a glamorous edge, brought them to the level of art"--or so the 17-year-old thought. In a fairy-tale-like development, Hellman took Mahoney on as her part-time housekeeper. But the fairy tale was almost instantly to end, and a more complex saga of innocence, experience, and class to begin.

During the summer of 1978, Rose quickly discovered that some bad moods were beyond glorification. Relations between employer and employee were out-of-kilter from the start, since Hellman's version of the job gave "part-time" an entirely new, 24-hour definition. The gig was a far cry from Mahoney's vision of the two of them "sitting at her table together, smoking cigarettes and making toasts to this and that with upraised glasses of a glowing amber drink (never mind that I had had only a few disastrous experiences with smoking and drinking), laughing sagely and discussing books and people and the world and life." Instead Mahoney's dream job was a mixture of tension and tedium as she bumbled around the house and stubbornly refused to admit how much she wanted to be thought worthy. What's more, the teenager felt deeply out of her element amid such Vineyard glitterati as William and Rose Styron, James Taylor and Carly Simon. Some might find her descriptions of the increasingly infirm Hellman less than generous, but the older Mahoney is very much watching herself in the wings and finding her younger self just as wanting. A Likely Story is a cautionary tale about adoration and celebrity from one of our more gifted journalists--each scene literally leaps off the page, fraught with emotion recollected not entirely in tranquillity. --Kerry Fried --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

The tribulations suffered by a 17-year-old girl working for a stubborn, acerbic 73-year-old woman may sound like a potential whine-fest. But when the narrator is a writer as gifted as Mahoney, and the older woman is none other than Lillian Hellman, the story becomes a compelling chronicle not only of an intergenerational combat of will and manners, but also of that terrible, wavering period of late adolescence when nothing is certain, and frustrations are legion. Although not at all domestic, Mahoney jumped at a chance to be Hellman's "part-time live-in housekeeper." But Martha's Vineyard became Mahoney's Omaha Beach, as she battles to keep emotionally intact. Less interesting is a tendency for the author to overwrite, often resorting to a repetitive excess of detailAe.g., there's only so much of the rather ghastly descriptions of Hellman's yellow buck teeth, failing, fishlike eyes and pallid sagging skin the reader can stand. The condescension that Mahoney occasionally displayed in the NBCC-finalist Whoredom in Kimmage is still here, although since it's directed at Hellman and a few pompous individuals, it's more understandable. More deeply affecting than Hellman's shocking tantrums and relentless egomania are Mahoney's recollections of her own childhood. These describe the heartrending struggle of a caring, devoted child for a hopelessly dysfunctional mother. Her memories, reflecting on how Nora Mahoney's awful desperation was countered by her wit, humanity and passion, create a telling juxtaposition with the detestable self-absorption and pettiness of the sniping, spoiled Hellman. First serial to Vanity Fair and Elle.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (November 9, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038547931X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385479318
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,128,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kevin McNichol on July 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
If you're looking for yet another biography of Lillian Hellman, this is not the book for you. LH is really the backdrop for the real story of Ms. Mahoney as a girl, and her relations with her mother (a drinker)and her family. In fact, the book is BEST when Ms. Hellman is off the stage and the author lets us peek in to her family life with mom, and the 7 (8?) children, all in pursuit of lunacy to a more or lesser degree. If you enjoy finely crafted writing, you'll love the long, lush (inadvertant pun noted) lyrical passages. Apparently, Ms. Mahoney has never met a metaphor she didn't like and the reader is all the richer for that. I suspect the author could make poetry out of the telephone book if she put her formidable talents to it. Someone else in these pages said that "A Likely Story" probably would not have been published if it had not been "about" a famous person. Sadly, that's true; which is a shame because the more interesting and likeable story is the one about the Mahoneys themselves.
Comment 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
A Likely Story, is about a seventeen year old girl, who's hopes and dreams are to spend a summer of fun & friendship with Lillian Hellman, in hopes that greatness would rub off on her.
Rosemary was 17 when she wrote to Lillian Hellman, asking for a part-time summer job. To her surprise, Lillian hired her as a part-time live-in housekeeper, which became more than part-time. When Rosemary applied for the job, employment was the farthest thing from her mind. Rosemary was really only thinking of herself. What she really planned was to read, write, and becoming great friends with Lillian Hellman. But, Lillian had other ideas for Rosemary. And what Rosemary got was something else indeed.
This book is about the innocence's of a 17 year-old girl, her touch with reality and her painful coming of age. At times it's heart breaking to read, other times it is uproariously funny. Rosemary Mahoney makes you feel as if you are her, in her shoes, living her experiences, and feeling her emotions.
It's a good read for those times when you don't want to concentrate on a story line or try to solve a plot. Everything you need is right there for you. I hope you like it. I did.
Pam Stone back to the top
Comment 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This delightfully written memoir of disappointed youth harassed by vindictive old age is well worth the read. I can easily see Hellman as the woman about whom Mary McCarthy said, "Everthing that woman says is a lie, including 'and' and 'but.'" Mahoney's gimlet-eyed descriptions of Hellman's eccentricities and her lyrical depiction of the island are a pleasure to read.
Comment 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I think Mahoney caught a lot of undeserved flak for attackingan idol like Hellman. The book contains some of the sharpest insightsand most vivid word pictures you'll find anywhere, and if the narrative bogs down from time to time, well, that's the price for such a talent for physical description. I myself fell in love with Mahoney after reading the book, though I admit I would dread the idea of actually meeting her since her powers of observation are quite cold-eyed and one wonders if anyone could survive them...
Comment 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Rosemary Mahoney is an excellent writer who surely must have excelled when her writing class studied metaphors and similes. Even though I really enjoyed the book, I found parts frustrating -- the digression into overly-long discussions about Mahoney, her friends, her neuroses, and perhaps a short sentence here or there about something Hellman said. Painful analysis of that sentence, then more about Mahoney.
Rosemary Mahoney was a child when she worked for Hellman, so we can forgive the child for being somewhat of a nervous wreck during that summer. We can also forgive her (maybe) about being less than generous concerning Hellman's infirmities and what it means have to rely so much on those around her. Still, I wish Mahoney had more to offer in retrospect, from an adult's point of view.
Comment 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
This book is great. Rosemary Mahoney has done it again. Her keen eye for the details of life combined with her sharp wit have produced an excellent work. Funny and sad, a portrait of a teenage aspiring writer whose dream summer becomes a bit of a nightmare. The book made me laugh out-loud and at times i felt my eyes well up with tears. I have read all of mahoney's books but this one is the best. I could not put it down.
Comment 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
In January 2009 Rosemary Mahoney will turn forty-eight years old. She's older, and presumably wiser, but the Mahoney depicted in this book is in contrast a young adult, a much younger version of herself.

In this book we read of the trials and tribulations of her seventeen-year-old self who spend an illusion-shattering summer in the employ of the notably acerbic Lillian Hellman (emphasis on the "Hell" part of her name, in this case), in which she discovers the sad and lamentable truths that a leopardess does not change her spots, and that one should be careful what one wishes for, as you may get your dream (or in this case, nightmare) come true. (In other words, Hellman was impossibly difficult to get along with during the best of times, and with old age became increasingly difficult to deal with; and wishes may come true, but not in the way you had hoped.)

Anyone that has read about Hellman's life would agree that during the best of times, she was -- let's be charitable here -- an exasperating, acerbic personality who didn't mind telling people off. It's also a truism that, in old age, one becomes very particular, for better or worse, and younger people, especially those pumped up by idealism, will inevitably find points of friction: in this case, an unsure teenage girl with unrealistic expectations of what it'd be like to be around a literary celebrity, a girl who thinks she'd be welcomed and recognized as a budding literary talent, instead of thinking she'd be exactly what she was: a temporary hired hand for an older person who could no longer care for herself.

A person who values her privacy -- you can search the Internet and find little about Ms.
Read more ›
1 Comment 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

A Likely Story: One Summer with Lillian Hellman
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: A Likely Story: One Summer with Lillian Hellman