Kitchen Privileges

Version: Unabridged
Author: Mary Higgins Clark
Narrator: Mary Higgins Clark
Genres: Biography & Memoir
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published In: November 2002
# of Units: 5 CDs
Length: 5 hours
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Even as a young girl, growing up in the Bronx, Mary Higgins Clark knew she wanted to be a writer, The gift of storytelling was a part of her Irish ancestry, so it followed naturally that she would later use her sharp eye, keen intelligence, and inquisitive nature to create stories.

Along with all Americans, citizens of the Bronx suffered during the Depression. So when Mary's father died, her mother opened the family home to boarders and placed a discreet sign next to the front door that read, "Furnished Rooms. Kitchen Privileges."

The family's struggle to make ends meet; her days as a scholarship student in an exclusive girls academy; the death of her beloved older brother in World War II; her marriage to Warren Clark; writing stories at the kitchen table; finally selling the first one for one hundred dollars, after six years and forty rejections -- all these experiences figure into "Kitchen Privileges."

Her husband's untimely death left her a widowed mother of five young children. Determined to care for her family an& to make a career for herself, she wrote scripts for a radio show. In her spare time she began writing novels. "Where Are The Children?" became an international bestseller and launched her career.

When asked if she might consider giving up writing for a life of leisure, Marv has replied, "Never. To be happy for a year, win the lottery. To be happy for life, do what you love."

Reviews (10)

Somewhat Interesting

Written by Irish from Mesa, AZ on February 2nd, 2011

  • Book Rating: 3/5

It was interesting to hear about the life of Mary Higgins Clark, but it was a bit boring at times Her tone of voice did not do the book justice. I didn't really see the signifiance of the title. It didn't tie into the story. I kept listening for it, but it just didn't seem to be there.

Kitchen Privileges

Written by Bobbie on December 17th, 2010

  • Book Rating: 1/5

I found this book and the author very annoying. I couldn't even finish the first disc. Was happy to quickly send it back. Who cares ?? Really !!


Written by Teri Johnson on April 30th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 5/5

totally fantastic! It was a real treat when Mary Higgins Clark read herself! She was the first author whose book I couldn't put down when I was a teenager and now to hear her tell her own story, priceless!

Kitchen Privileges

Written by Lynn Smoak on November 8th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 3/5

This was an interesting book. I love MHC as an author and it was interesting to see the struggles she went through before she finanally achieved success. At one time as a teenager, I had visions of being an author, but I know I would not have perservered as long as she did. She went through a lot and deserves her success. I will continue to be a big fan of hers.

Kitchen Privileges

Written by Lila Friesen on March 27th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Very interesting to hear of Mary Higgin Clark"s life. Well written and certainly holds your attention.

Kitchen Priveleges

Written by Susan Gribben on May 16th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 4/5

I enjoyed this remembrance of a life well lived. Ms. Clark's story is engaging and charming. Her own narration added to the experience. Well done!

Kitchen Privileges

Written by Barbara on April 28th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 3/5

Mary Higgins Clark has certainly lived an extraordinary life, full, rewarding and tragic. I love her books and I enjoyed hearing about her life.

kitchen privileges

Written by Anonymous on April 3rd, 2005

  • Book Rating: 5/5

overall the book was very interesting. it moved a liiltle slowly in places.

Kitchen Privileges

Written by Anonymous on February 11th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 1/5

I could not get interested in this at all. I really tried to finish it, but didn't.

Couldn't listen long enough to tell if it was good.

Written by Anonymous from Salinas, CA on September 28th, 2004

  • Book Rating: 2/5

I tried to listen to this but found the author's narration of her book quite annoying. I may read the book instead, it looks like it might be interesting.

Author Details

Author Details

Clark, Mary Higgins

Mary Higgins Clark's books are world-wide bestsellers. In the U.S. alone, her books have sold over 80 million copies. She is the author of twenty-four previous suspense novels, Where Are the Children? (1975), A Stranger Is Watching (1978), The Cradle Will Fall (1980), A Cry in the Night (1982), Stillwatch (1984), Weep No More, My Lady (1987), While My Pretty One Sleeps (1989), Loves Music, Loves to Dance (1991), All Around the Town (1992), I'll Be Seeing You (1993), Remember Me (1994), Let Me Call You Sweetheart (1995), Silent Night (1995), Moonlight Becomes You (1996), Pretend You Don't See Her (1997), You Belong To Me (1998), All Through the Night (1998), We'll Meet Again (1999), Before I Say Good-Bye (2000), On the Street Where You Live (2001), Daddy's Little Girl (2002), The Second Time Around (2003), Nighttime is My Time (2004) and No Place Like Home (2005). She is the author of three collections of short stories, The Anastasia Syndrome & Other Stories (1989), The Lottery Winner: Alvirah & Willy Stories (1994) and My Gal Sunday: Henry and Sunday Stories (1996). A re-issue of her first book, a biographical novel about George Washington, originally titled Aspire to the Heavens, was published with a new title, Mount Vernon Love Story, in June 2002. Her memoir, Kitchen Privileges, was published by Simon & Schuster in November 2002 and in trade paperback by Pocket Books in October 2003.

She is co-author, with her daughter Carol Higgins Clark, of three suspense novels Deck the Halls (2000), He Sees You When You're Sleeping (2001) and The Christmas Thief (2004).

Two of her novels were made into feature films, Where Are the Children? and A Stranger Is Watching. Many of her other works, novels and short stories, were made into television films.

Mary Higgins Clark's fame as a writer was achieved against heavy odds. Born and raised in the Bronx, her father died when she was eleven and her mother struggled to raise her and her two brothers. On graduating from high school, she went to secretarial school, so she could get a job and help with the family finances. After three years of working in an advertising agency, travel fever seized her. For the year 1949, she was a stewardess on Pan American Airlines' international flights. "My run was Europe, Africa and Asia," she recalls. "I was in a revolution in Syria and on the last flight into Czechoslovakia before the Iron Curtain went down. After flying for a year, she married a neighbor, Warren Clark, nine years her senior, whom she had known since she was 16. Soon after her marriage, she started writing short stories, finally selling her first to Extension Magazine in 1956 for $100.

Left a young widow by the death of her husband from a heart attack in 1964, Mary Higgins Clark went to work writing radio scripts and, in addition, decided to try her hand at writing books. Every morning, she got up at 5 AM and wrote until 7 AM, when she had to get her five children ready for school. Her very first book was a biographical novel about George Washington, inspired by a radio series she was writing, "Portrait of a Patriot." Originally published in 1969 by Meredith Press with the title Aspire to the Heavens, it was discovered years later by a Washington family member and re-issued in 2002 with the title, Mount Vernon Love Story.

Mary Higgins Clark's first suspense novel, Where Are the Children? was published by Simon & Schuster in 1975. It became a bestseller and marked a turning point in her life and career. It is currently in its 75th edition in paperback and was re-issued in hardcover as a Simon & Schuster classic.

Freed to catch up on things she always wanted to do, she entered Fordham University at Lincoln Center, graduating summa cum laude in 1979, with a B.A. in philosophy. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from Fordham University in 1998. She is a past trustee of Fordham University and a current trustee of Providence College and the Hackensack College Medical Center. She has eighteen honorary doctorates.

She is # 1 fiction bestselling author in France, where she received the Grand Prix de Literature Policière in 1980 and The Literary Award at the 1998 Deauville Film Festival. In 2000, she was named by the French Minister of Culture "Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters."

Mary Higgins Clark was chosen by Mystery Writers of America as Grand Master of the 2000 Edgar Awards. An annual Mary Higgins Clark Award sponsored by Simon & Schuster, to be given to authors of suspense fiction writing in the Mary Higgins Clark tradition, was launched by Mystery Writers of America during Edgars week in April 2001. She was the 1987 president of Mystery Writers of America and, for many years, served on their Board of Directors. In May 1988, she was Chairman of the International Crime Congress.

Active in Catholic affairs, Mary Higgins Clark was made a Dame of the Order of St. Gregory the Great, a papal honor. She is also a Dame of Malta and a Lady of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem. She received the Catholic Big Sisters Distinguished Service Award in 1998 and the Graymoor Award from the Franciscan Friars in 1999. Honors she has received include the Gold Medal of Honor from the American-Irish Historical Society (1993), the Spirit of Achievement Award from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University (1994), the National Arts Club's first Gold Medal in Education (1994), the Horatio Alger Award (1997), the Outstanding Mother of the Year Award (1998), the Bronx Legend Award (1999), the 2001 Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Passionists' Ethics in Literature Award (2002), the first Reader's Digest Author of the Year Award 2002 and the Christopher Life Achievement Award in 2003. She is an active advocate and participant in literacy programs.

In 1996, Mary Higgins Clark married John Conheeney, the retired Chairman and CEO of Merrill-Lynch Futures. They live in Saddle River, New Jersey. Between them, they have sixteen grandchildren -- Mary's six and John's ten.