Thanks to a successful interview with the painfully shy E.B. White, a beautiful, 19-year-old, blue-eyed blonde from the cornfields of Iowa lands a job as a receptionist at The New Yorker magazine. There she stays two decades, becoming general all-around factotum—watching and registering the comings and goings, marriages and divorces, scandalous affairs, failures, triumphs, and tragedies of the eccentric inhabitants of the 18th floor. Though she dreamed of becoming a writer, she never advanced at the magazine.
This memoir of a particular time and place is as much about why that was so as it is about Groth’s fascinating relationships with John Berryman, Joseph Mitchell, Muriel Spark, as well as E.J. Kahn, Calvin Trillin, Renata Adler, Peter DeVries, Charles Addams, and many other New Yorker contributors and bohemian denizens of Greenwich Village in its heyday. Eventually, Groth would have to leave The New Yorker in order to find herself.