Anthropology of an American Girl

Hilary Thayer Hamann, Author, H. T. Hamann, Author . Random/Spiegel & Grau $25 (624p) ISBN 978-0-385-52714-9

If publishers could figure out a way to turn crack into a book, it'd read a lot like this. Originally a self-published cult hit in 2003 (since reedited), Hamann's debut traces the sensual, passionate, and lonely interior of a young woman artist growing up in windswept East Hampton at the end of the 1970s. The book begins as a two-pronged tragedy befalls 17-year-old narrator Eveline: her best friend's mother (more maternal than her own) dies, and Eveline is raped by two high school students. Her brutalized interior, exquisitely rendered by Hamann, leads Eveline to a series of self-realizations that bears obvious comparison to that iconic nonconformist Holden Caulfield. The difference, though, is Eveline's femininity threatens to subsume her fragility. Over the course of the book, she falls deeply in love with a stormy figure who helps bring her to disturbing conclusions. Eveline—bent on self-destruction but capable of deep passion, stifled by circumstance but constantly blossoming—is a marvelously complex and tragic figure of disconnection, startlingly real and exposed at all times. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/01/2010
Release date: 05/01/2010
Paperback - 576 pages - 978-0-385-52715-6
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-307-73633-8
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 436 pages - 978-1-58836-938-3
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