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Blueprints for building better girls : fiction
Schappell, Elissa.
Adult Fiction SCHAPPE

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From Publishers' Weekly:

This raw and engaging collection, Schappell's second (after Use Me), follows a cast of girls and women as they navigate relationships with each other, their mothers, and men across several decades. The strongest stories are those about gutsy girls who aren't "afraid to throw the trick," as one character's gymnastics coach describes her in "Out of the Blue and into the Black." Schappell endeavors to show the complex vulnerabilities behind some of the choices made by girls casually judged as sluts, as in "Monsters of the Deep" and "I'm Only Going to Tell You This Once," and this is where she is at her best; less successful, by comparison, are the more diffuse stories that depict the dynamics between mothers and daughters, wives and husbands. Each story adds new perspectives of characters or events chronicled earlier in the book, allowing Schappell to create a bigger, more textured and complicated world than is usually found in collections. This, combined with the energy of the writing and the dark wit of these characters, will endear the book to Schappell's audience and fans of Lorrie Moore and Maile Meloy. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

In this collection of linked short stories by the author of Use Me, one of the characters finds an old advice book called Blueprints for Building Better Girls. Ironically, the young women in these unsettling stories could really benefit from some advice along these lines, as could their clueless parents. In these eight stories spanning four decades, impulsive women dash headlong into self-destruction of various kinds, often bringing someone down with them. The most poignant story reveals a damaged college student attempting to entertain her senile grandfather on a day out from his assisted living facility. VERDICT At first glance, Schappell appears to be mining the ever-popular theme of girls behaving badly (the guys are even worse), but her mordant humor and sharp powers of observation lift these stories above the lurid to a sympathetic portrayal of women whose lives have gone awry. [See Prepub Alert, 2/28/11.]-Leslie Patterson, Rehoboth, MA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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