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August 7, 2012 / Leslie

Review – Audiobook: Mad Women by Jane Maas

Mad Women by Jane MaasMad Women
The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the ’60s and Beyond
by Jane Maas
Narrated by Coleen Marlo

Genre: Memior
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Publish Date: February 28, 2012
Format: Audio, 5 hours | 37 minutes
Audio Listening Level: Easy
Rating: 4 of 5

Jane Maas was one of the pioneering women in advertising during the 1960s, beginning her career as a copywriter and working her way up to Creative Director at Ogilvy & Mather. Her talent, tenacity and a supportive family helped her to succeed in a field that most women could only dream of entering.

I am a huge fan of the television show Mad Men and the staff at the fictional advertising firm of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Ok, it’s my favorite show. While I never worked in the field, advertising/marketing was my business major and I did interview for a few jobs in product brand management in the late 1970s. I can confirm it was as sexist as ever back then and can remember leaving one horrible interview nearly in tears. The giant consumer products corporation will remain nameless, and I boycott them to this day. But my interest in the field remains.

Jane begins the book with her description of a typical hectic day rising at 6am, walking her daughter to school on her way to the office and often working late into the evening or entertaining clients. She confirms that a lot of what we see on the show Mad Men is the way it really was, but that they occasionally got a few things wrong. There was a lot of sex, drinking and smoking, and always a few annoying, difficult to please clients. Jane once worked for Leona Helmsley and said something along the lines of, “She wasn’t as bad as people say, she was worse”.

What set Jane apart from other women of the era was that she had a very encouraging husband and the financial means to hire a housekeeper. She admits that work came first, then her husband and finally her children. Without this attitude and assistance at home, it’s doubtful she would have been able to reach such a high level of achievement. Most women were not in this situation; she mentions that she was one of the few moms at her daughter’s school that worked full-time and was often made to feel guilty about it.

At only 5½ hours, the audio was a quick and easy listen. Coleen Marlo’s narration was pleasant and enjoyable to listen to, her voice reminding me of the character Joan from Mad Men.

Informative and at times shocking to realize this was how the world was for women in the not so distant past, this was a provocative and entertaining trip through the advertising world of the 60s. Mad Men fans will enjoy it and most readers should find it interesting.

Source: Public Library.
© 2012 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.


Leave a Comment
  1. Diane@BibliophilebytheSea / Aug 7 2012 5:58 am

    Not familiar with this one, but it wounds worth listening to.


  2. BermudaOnion / Aug 7 2012 8:05 am

    This sounds like a book both my mother and I would love! Maas must be fascinating.


  3. Jeff / Aug 8 2012 1:16 am

    I like this and I’m happy to consider Coleen a friend. Nice review. –JEFF


  4. Alyce (@AtHomeWithBooks) / Aug 9 2012 5:09 pm

    I saw her speak at the Tucson Festival of Books and she was incredibly entertaining! I remember her saying how the school expected the moms to hang around until something like 11am and have coffee just in case the kids might need them. So very different from now where they shoo all of the parents out of my kids’ school as soon as possible on the first day.


    • Leslie / Aug 9 2012 6:04 pm

      I’d love to hear her speak. Things were so different back then. Imagine having to drop your child off and then sneak away to go to work! No wonder she felt guilty.


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