Steiker, Valerie 1969(?)-
STEIKER, Valerie 1969(?)-
(Valerie Michele Steiker)
PERSONAL: Born c. 1969, in New York, NY; daughter of Jerome J. (an investment banker) and Gisele (Neiman) Steiker; married Matthew John Lane (a doctor), March 15, 2003. Education: Harvard University, degree.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Pantheon, 1749 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.
CAREER: Writer and editor. ArtForum magazine, editor; Vogue magazine, New York, NY, senior editor.
The Leopard Hat: A Daughter's Story (memoir), Pantheon Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Contributor of articles to periodicals, including the New Yorker.
SIDELIGHTS: New York magazine editor Valerie Steiker is also the author of the 2002 memoir The Leopard Hat: A Daughter's Story. In the book Steiker tells the story of her beautiful mother, Gisele, a Belgian Jew who hid from the Nazis during World War II and later moved to New York, where she met and married the author's father. This memoir also details the author's own childhood as the daughter of a beautiful and vivacious woman whom she was determined to please. Vignettes of the author's comfortable Upper-East-Side Manhattan lifestyle blend with Steiker's attempts at finding her own way in the world. Her mother's death from cancer in 1988 marked the end of Steiker's childhood. Thereafter, she set out on her own path in life. Steiker tells her story in chapters which are each named after an animal that is intended to add metaphoric weight to the theme.
Critics largely found The Leopard Hat appealing and well written. Nancy Zachary, writing in Kliatt, called Steiker "a remarkable writer with the vivid imagination of a master storyteller," and Zachary further described The Leopard Hat as a "beautifully crafted memoir." Similarly, Booklist reviewer Vanessa Bush felt that Steiker "beautifully evokes the relationship between mother and daughter." Gina Kaiser, writing in Library Journal, also commented that Steiker "relates the events of her mother's life in captivating fashion." However, Kaiser also thought that the author is "less successful with her own struggles to establish her identity," calling Steiker's own story "is less compelling." Other critics applauded the entire narrative. A critic for Publishers Weekly found The Leopard Hat to be a "finely etched memoir" and a "rich, elegantly understated chronicle." Likewise, a critic for Kirkus Reviews called the book a "luminously written debut" that is also "refreshingly free of the usual resentments." Eric Weinberger, reviewing the memoir in the Washington Post Book World, thought it "is the exquisite handiwork of a deeply appealing young writer."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Steiker, Valerie, The Leopard Hat: A Daughter's Story, Pantheon Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Booklist, March 15, 2002, Vanessa Bush, review of The Leopard Hat, p. 1194.
Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2002, review of The Leopard Hat, p. 396.
Kliatt, September, 2003, Nancy Zachary, review of The Leopard Hat, p. 36.
Library Journal, March 15, 2002, Gina Kaiser, review of The Leopard Hat, p. 90.
New York Times, March 16, 2003, "Valerie Steiker, Matthew Lane," section 9, p. 13.
Publishers Weekly, March 4, 2002, review of The Leopard Hat, p. 65.
Washington Post Book World, May 19, 2002, Eric Weinberger, "The Eponymous Hat of Valerie S," p. T15.