Girl Land

Caitlin Flanagan. Little, Brown/Reagan Arthur, $25.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-316-06598-6
Flanagan’s personal essays on girlhood, dating, menstruation, diaries, proms, and sexual initiation take a noble subject—the interior lives of girls transitioning into womanhood—and do it a disservice. The author, indisputably a strong and elegant writer, unfortunately skips making arguments or providing evidence in favor of settling for outdated generalizations (“Girls with a father living at home always fare better in the dating world, because malevolent adolescent boys... don’t want to come up against the authority of grown men. In fact, the hallmark of most dangerous teenage boys is that they have never been held to account by a grown man, and they move more confidently in a world of women, where they can threaten and cajole”). Her authorial voice shifts radically from overprotective mother to victim and back to thoughtful intellectual. Nuggets of brilliance (on how the 1990s were especially schizophrenic in regards to gender relations, say) get buried beneath screeds and mounds of well-meaning but off-the-mark advice. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/2011
Release date: 01/01/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-0-316-19264-4
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-316-23251-7
Open Ebook - 101 pages - 978-0-316-19265-1
Paperback - 209 pages - 978-0-316-06599-3
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