The Subway Girls [Book Review]


I received an advance copy of  The Subway Girls due to me being a book reviewer. I choose it by the synopsis

In 1949, dutiful and ambitious Charlotte’s dream of a career in advertising is shattered when her father demands she help out with the family business. Meanwhile, Charlotte is swept into the glamorous world of the Miss Subways beauty contest, which promises irresistible opportunities with its Park Avenue luster and local fame status. But when her new friend—the intriguing and gorgeous fellow-participant Rose—does something unforgivable, Charlotte must make a heart-wrenching decision that will change the lives of those around her forever. (


Then I started reading it and it begins in March of 1949. I was hooked straightaway. Why? Because I enjoy books set in a certain time period for I learn about those periods and the people that lived during that time. And this book really gave insight not only into how men thought, how women behaved and adhered to as their duties as women, but also how the city the story is set in, looked and felt like.


Set in New York, 1949, Charlotte Friedman is a 21-year-old college student in her last year at school. Her goal in life is to work in the advertising field. She has applied to the top advertising company in New York called J. Walter Thompson. After losing out on the job she hopes to get a job in the typing pool. The typing pool was just that, a pool of typers, and this was the most a female could expect to become back in those days outside of secretary or housewife. Charlotte is even turned down for that job at the same company. Then there’s her father’s paint store.


Charlotte’s father owns a paint store, kinda like an Ace Hardware Store but geared towards paint for fences, houses and the likes. The plan was for Charlotte’s brother, Harry, was to take over the store once her father retired, but Harry didn’t return home while fighting in World War II. Due to Harry’s death, her father has left the burden of the store, working in it on Saturdays. But the paint shot isn’t doing and her father, Fred, has to dismiss his assistant manager and wants Charlotte to work full-time once she finishes college. This is a blow to Charlotte’s plans. Charlotte believes that if she enters and wins Miss. Subways, she can bring more attention to her father’s shop to where it will make the money it needs and she won’t have to work in it full-time after college.

JULY 2018

We are introduced to Olivia, a big player in the advertising world who faces the same issues women back in 1949 did and that’s having to prove herself as a valued employee. Olivia has been in the game for a long time but finds herself having to work harder and longer hours than her male counterpart to create an ad for a big ad agency in New York, Metropolitan Transportation Authority. With help from her neighbor, Mrs. Glasser, Olivia learns that the struggles she’s facing today, Mrs. Glasser faced in her day. Through her connection to Mrs. Glasser, Olivia has the idea to bring Miss. Subways back to life by featuring the original Miss. Subways, as many, as she can find, for her ad idea for the MTA.


I liked how Susie Orman Schnall had each chapter set in either 1949 or 2018. By starting the book off in 1949 with a seemingly intelligent woman with more going for herself than staying at home to raise kids and then bringing us to 2018, Olivia, to show that not much has changed for women. The only difference is women are allowed to have careers, but sometimes the struggle is still there when in you’re in a career that been considered a man’s world.

You find yourself rooting for both Charlotte and Olivia in different aspects. You really appreciate the times you live in when you read how women were treated and thought of in the 40’s and 50’s. And do I dare say, even today? Beauty is the way to make your mark. Strong-willed women are looked at as B’s. Strong-willed men are looked at high achievers. Not all the time, but sometimes.


I give this book 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. And I’ll give it 5 out of 5 stars anywhere else.


This book was reading too true to me about the Miss. Subways contest that I looked it up and here’s some of the links I found with great information.

Miss. Subways Through The Years

Miss. Subways

Miss. Subway Winners Through The Years


The Subway Girls comes out 10 Julye 2018 but you can pre-order the book at Amazon 


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