BONUS: This edition contains an A Ticket to the Circus discussion guide.
In this revealing memoir, told with southern charm and wit, Norris Church Mailer depicts the full evolution of her colorful life—from her childhood in a small Arkansas town all the way through her intense thirty-three-year marriage with Norman Mailer and his heartbreaking death. She met Norman by chance while in her early twenties and they fell in love in one night. Theirs was a marriage full of friendship, betrayal, doubts, understanding, challenges, and deep, complicated, lifelong passion. The couple’s New York parties were legendary, and their social circle included such luminaries as Jacqueline Kennedy, Truman Capote, and Gore Vidal. Complete with the couple’s intimate letters, this candid and unforgettable memoir is a great American love story.
Norman Mailer's sixth and last wife holds her own in this lively memoir. In 1975, Norris (Cheap Diamonds) was a 26-year-old divorced mother and hippie art teacher from Arkansas when the 52-year-old novelist swept her off her feet. Though aged and mellowed, he is still a handful: he throws a drink in Gore Vidal's face, gets busted with marijuana, hangs with Fidel Castro and the Ramones, and womanizes compulsively. Norris has retaliatory affairs and a past that includes trysts with a young Bill Clinton. Amid the Mailer juggernaut and the ex-wives, old girlfriends and seven stepchildren, Norris asserts her independence by dabbling in modeling, acting, and fiction, by matching her spouse in repartee, and by "hitting him and scratching him." One gets a vivid sense of the couple's mutual attraction she reprints bawdy love letters at embarrassing length and prickly antagonisms; Norman is a warm, vital, bombastic literary lion, Norris the spunky belle determined to tame him. The author looks beyond her marital melodrama in well-wrought scenes that include a scary portrait of Jack Henry Abbott, the violent convict-writer Norman befriended, and an evocative travelogue in postcommunist Russia. This is a smart, intimate portrait of the glitterati and their discontents. 69 b&w photos.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Real, Funny, Touching
I enjoyed learning the "back story" and so appreciate Norris' honesty. The timing of my reading this book is a true gift as Norman's end stage is quite coincidental with a loved one in my life. I will miss this book and will explore her two others.
-- written from a CVICU room