Monday, September 13, 2010

Review: Anthropology of an American Girl

This is a book sorely in need of an editor. The book is a veritable tome, clocking in at hundreds of pages, when 200 would probably suffice. The plot follows the late teens and early twenties of Eveline Auerbach, coming of age on Long Island and in New York City. For Evie, these years are entirely defined by her first love with an older man. That love is largely unrequited, so Evie compensates by filling her life with other unsuitable men. As the book progresses Evie describes her life, feelings, and surroundings in excruciating detail. While for some characters this might make for an intriguing book, Evie is not one of those characters. While unrequited teenage love will likely resonate with many, most of us grow up and get over it. Evie does not. Perhaps this is why I thought the high school section was the strongest part of the book.

Evie is the sort of character who lets life wash over her and lets things happen to her, and is convinced there's no other way for things to be. She also has tremendous talent for choosing bad men. Evie's parents were somewhat unbelievable characters, allowing her to move in with an older man, generally paying her no attention whatsoever.

I think I would have liked this book much better if it had been ruthlessly edited. I was expecting to love the book, and I did not.

Hilary Thayer Hamann, Anthropology of an American Girl (Spiegel and Grau, 2010) ISBN:
0385527144, 624 pages

No comments: