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6 Books to Read Based on Your Favorite Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Character

by  | April 20
Girl reading book

When it comes to The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, hapless viewers like me seem to repeat the same mistake every year. Between the faithfully recreated 1950s and 60s costumes and locations, captivating stage performances and spectacle, and, perhaps above all, eccentric cast of characters, the show sucks you right in—and before you know it, you’ve binged an entire season just a mere few days after its release! And just like that, it will be a whole year before you can again see Midge light up the room at the Gaslight, or Susie freak out on an airplane, or Abe go on one of his classic rants about the radical days of his youth. You’ve blown it!

Except not. While season four of Amazon Prime’s marquee show is still some ways away, that doesn’t mean you can’t discover your favorite Mrs. Maisel character’s literary counterpart in the meantime. Let these six books, based on the characters you can’t get enough of, fill the void where Mrs. Maisel used to be, and then some.…

Funny Girl

Funny Girl

by Nick Hornby

Miriam Maisel

There’s a sort of unique thrill that one gets when watching Midge climb the ladder of show business, finding herself in new situations where she can prove herself, whether it’s earning a five-minute slot on a telethon, going on tour with Shy Baldwin, or performing at the Apollo. Part of the fun of these moments is that while we know how funny and quick on her feet she is, we can’t wait to see a new audience come to that realization. Nick Hornby’s Funny Girl, a 60s, London-set book, which follows a young woman named Sophie Straw and her meteoric rise through sitcom comedy, provides a similar thrill to Midge’s as the protagonist navigates her career and pushes boundaries in TV. The book is a bit breezier than a typical episode of Mrs. Maisel; it’s a perfect light read brimming with humor.

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The Wife

The Wife

by Meg Wolitzer

Joel Maisel

At the beginning of Mrs. Maisel, it’s actually Joel who most of the couple’s friends would probably call the “funny one.” But standing behind him, of course, is the far more talented Miriam, who’s allowed her own creative endeavors to take a backseat in the name of supporting her husband. In The Wife, Joe Castleman is the family patriarch with a hugely successful writing career, but he and his wife, Joan, have a secret about his work. In the realm of narratives about men soaking up the spotlight despite their more talented significant others, The Wife is a compelling, intelligent, and fascinating look at the lies we tell ourselves to maintain the illusion of status quo.

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Can I Go Now?

Can I Go Now?

by Brian Kellow

Susie Myerson

While Susie is sometimes ill-mannered, brash, and unpleasant, she’s also scrappy, bold, and quietly revolutionary. The character, according to Alex Borstein, the actress who plays her, takes inspiration from trailblazing real-life Hollywood talent agent Sue Mengers, who is the subject of Brian Kellow’s fascinating biography Can I Go Now? The bio is both a captivating portrait of a woman who worked her way up through a male-dominated industry with a razor-tongue and lack of tolerance for nonsense (sound familiar?) and an inside look at the New Hollywood movement of the 60s and 70s.

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Sophie Lennon

Sophie Lennon may don a fat suit and thick Queens accent when she embodies her loud, obnoxious stage persona, but as Midge and Susie soon find out when they are called to her Upper West Side apartment, she leads a life of luxury. Another eccentric, aging entertainment star calls a young, struggling reporter to her elegant apartment to tell her the story of her life in Taylor Jenkins Reid’s The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. It’s a rousing piece of historical fiction that has glamour, scandal, and heart-wrenching emotion in no short supply.

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A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove

by Fredrik Backman

Abe Weissman

Midge’s father, Abe, is about as lovable a curmudgeon as they come. Never failing to let his complaints be known about the state of the world or his family, Abe doesn’t give people an inch once he decides that what they’re doing is bothering him in some way. Neither does the titular character in A Man Called Ove, but both hide a bleeding heart behind a rough exterior, and ultimately care more about the people in their lives than they let on. The jury’s still out though on whether Ove could pull off Abe’s Catskills romper.

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Modern Girls

Modern Girls

by Jennifer S. Brown

Rose Weissman

It’s not uncommon for Mrs. Maisel to draw parallels between the lives of Midge and her mother, Rose, who, although she may not realize it, has allowed her own independent spirit to be ignited by her daughter’s unconventional lifestyle. Modern Girls is another generational story that follows the lives of Rose and Dottie, a mother-daughter pairing in which both find themselves unexpectedly pregnant while living in New York City during the early-to-mid twentieth century. In addition to a thoroughly researched look at the Jewish immigrant experience in America in the time before World War II, it’s a story of women with differing philosophies and adherences to tradition, grappling with being modern women.

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