Book info

Girl (1994)

Girl (1994)
Author
Rating
3.96 of 5 Votes: 6
ISBN
0671897071 (ISBN13: 9780671897079)
languge
English
series
publisher
touchstone
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Girl (1994)
Girl (1994)

About book: A few years ago, I experienced an incredibly debauched New Year's Eve with my hetero lifemate best friend. Just the two of us, in a whirl of: BK warehouse parties, heavy metal bars full of losers and go-go girls, $40 cabs to Harlem, a pale pink snowflake dawn. One persistent takeaway from that night, imprinted onto my brain for all of posterity, is the wholly absurd sight of dozens of mini-trampolines flying in every direction. Once lining every spare inch of labyrinthine cement floor, they succumbed to the fresh panic of those who had just been happily (druggily) bouncing on them. I can close my eyes and witness it in slow motion; I focus on one girl who just didn't want to stop bouncing, her blissful IDGAF smile beaming through the chaos. She did eventually step down gracefully to just walk right out of there, but not before bestowing a wink to one of the cops.Finally back at our apartment, pinpricks of light and snow pierced the sky. We dissected the night to keep it alive, before finally giving in to the dead sleep that accompanies such exploits. Hours later, a gasp woke me. "Izzy!" She shook me. "What did we do last night?!" I creaked open an eyelid. Her black dress was covered in white powder; her face was covered in white powder. That got my attention. When, in the blackness that was the previous night, did we even get a chance to acquire all that...coke? That wasn't even our style. We racked our brains. Nothing. We ordered a pizza.Later that day, I found a tin full of Christmas cookies my mother had sent the week before. They were Greek koulourakia, butter cookies topped with mounds of confectionary sugar. They melt on your tongue immediately, and the sugar clings to the roof of your mouth or catches in your throat. Death by delicious pastry always lurks. I opened the tin, fully looking forward to indulging in a few. And...you got it, empty. And that, my friends, was more our style.What could have been the mother of all "stories not to tell my kid" turned into something comical. Farcical, even. Sweet. (Both kinds.) (My poor mother.)While I can't even hang like that anymore, I firmly believe that Girl by Blake Nelson (serialized in Sassy, no less) is to blame for my several years of hedonism. If I hadn't read it at such a tender, impressionable age, innocent, sheltered teenage me wouldn't have nursed a longing to act out in such a manner. It implanted a little ball of carbon, and the hardening, polishing was left to me. It's not the best, you don't learn anything, God forbid, but it's fun, and it's kinda scandalous for the time (and targeted age group) and legions of women my age probably have similar stories. Who is your Todd Sparrow?In retrospect, the book is also comical, farcical, and kind of sweet.

So today I went in this bookstore and I was wearing this really cute dress and I had my hair in a bun but the lady at the desk was giving me these weird looks and I guess she must have been jealous because I was young and have a boyfriend and she's almost forty and has to dust books off all day. And then my friend came in and it was so random we began hopping around. And then everyone was looking at us so we ran behind a bookshelf and I knocked a book off because I was so excited and it turned out to be this book. And it looked pretty interesting so I took it home and I thought I was very cool.So maybe I'm overexaggerating the writing style just a little bit. But you get the idea. It was odd, I began reading this chronicle of Andrea's life, teen girl in the murky world of early 90s Portland, with an immense sense of dread. I guess I was expecting something else, a different style, a more likeable character. And then suddenly I began relishing the writing, admiring, imitating, quoting, doodling. The story was interesting enough, the prospect of living in a time that most of my wardrobe is inspired by tantalizing to my imagination. However eventually the novelty wears off. It might be realistic to have a teen girl ramble about insignificant things and people and have her place so much importance on individuals who later fizzle out into nothingness, but it doesn't mean I want to spend time reading about it. The book grew tedious with so many people being met and introduced and yet little to no closure. The most interesting character wasn't the main one, and if you ask me too much time is devoted to questionable sexual escapades than identity and character development. Or maybe the best way to define Andrea's character is having sex in a park with a skeezy musician. Who knows. Ultimately I enjoyed the book, I liked the way it was written (sort of), and there were parts that were exceedingly relatable. However it is nothing incredible or astonishing, but maybe it wasn't meant to be.
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Reviews
Diana Welsch
I I wanted to use Girl for a Teen book display on music, but found that it was catalogued as Adult fiction. Huh? I had heard that it was a coming-of-age novel about a teenage girl who gets involved in her local grunge music scene in Portland in the 90s. So I read it to find out why it was in Adult.Now, I suppose I can see why it was. While no adult could ever enjoy reading this book, it does contain quite a bit of graphic sex. So much, in fact, that it struck me as unrealistic. Did normal teenagers in the 90s have so much graphic sex with so many different people and take it so lightly? Geez.Girl was written from the point of view of high school student Andrea Marr. It reads exactly like a teenage girl's diary, except possibly less interesting. More to the point, it's like listening to a self-absorbed teenage girl who can't shut up about anything she does. It's written entirely in run-on sentences. Nothing she does, no matter how trivial and uninteresting, is edited out. She doesn't have any clever observations or perspectives that so often make coming-of-age tales worth reading.TO my surprise, I found that this book has no shortage of positive reviews, with readers stating things like "This book could have been about my life!" This book could have been about me too, although my teenage years involved far, far less graphic sex. I was an outwardly dull, suburban loser with an exciting secret life. I was attracted by a counterculture music scene, hung out at seedy venues over my parents' objections, and mooned over a badass punk rock guy who was too old for me and jerked me around. However, I was less like Andrea than her friend that the plot revolved around: Cybil, the one who actually started a band and did some cool stuff. Yes, the book could have been about me. It still wasn't interesting.It would be interesting to go back through and count the number of times the characters in this awful book went to Scamp's for frozen yogurt. OK, I get it! You like frozen yogurt! You go to Scamp's for frozen yogurt! But after 50 times, reading about frozen yogurt starts to lose its zest!I gave this book two stars rather than one because I did sort of want to find out what happened. Reading it gave me a headache, but I did see it through to the last excruciating page.I would not recommend this piece of crap to anyone, unless they are under the age of 18 and interested in reading about frozen yogurt or graphic sex.
Aviva
I really liked the book, to be honest. This is a book that I will reread once every few years just because it's like one long deja vu trip. Andrea's voice is strong and honest and the entire book is told in a kind of stream of conscious that doesn't so much feel like we're reading the story as it happens, but that it's being recounted later. Either over coffee years after the fact, or because we found her diary helping her move.I'm not sure who this book was originally supposed to be marketed to. Because I know it's appeal now would be Young Adult. And certainly I would have loved to have gotten my hands on it in high school, but I remember what the YA books where like back then. And they weren't this...honest. Andrea has sex. Andrea's friends are having sex. They do drugs. They curse. They have eating disorders and question their sexuality and worry about being cool. This is what our lives were like. But to read the fiction we were being given it was like we were all buffered in happy cotton balls until our first days as undergrads.Some of Andrea's musings transcend the diary feel because the lines are just amazing. Also, they're pretty fucking astute. But then, Andrea was a smart kid, so it's no surprise. I liked that she didn't just one day wake up and go "I think I want to be a groupie today" but that the progression was natural enough that Andrea's relationship with Todd seemed about as real as it could have. I also really liked that Andrea wasn't the center of the scene she was in. If anything, she seems to fall into it, decide she likes it, and desperately wants to fit in. She's a character with flaws, but her flaws make her real.Overall this is a great read, I'm glad I reread it (again) and I recommend it to anybody.
Courtney
This was THE book at a certain point in my life and I hadn't even read it, but the cool girls I wanted to be like were reading it, and whether they liked it or not, I had to have it because they had it. And I could quote the parts they liked best because they were quoting them and I still remember a lot of those quotes. Anyway, I asked for it for Christmas. Six or seven years ago. And I'd read the first page and flip ahead but I'd never actually READ IT. I was really reluctant and I'm still not sure why. Maybe because the girls I wanted to be seemed so distant from anything I could be and it was weird (to me) to try to dive into something that was so in their sphere, which I assumed was so outside of mine. So I watched the movie instead. And every time I'd pass Girl on my bookshelf or hear someone talking about it I'd get nostalgic about this book I hadn't even READ. And now it's six or seven years later and I read it and it was good*. The end.* great style!
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