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Bad Girls: 26 Writers Misbehave Hardcover – July 17, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0393064636 ISBN-10: 0393064638

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (July 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393064638
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393064636
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,362,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 26 hit-or-miss essays, women writers provide confessions ranging from the mildly naughty (Roxana Robinson forging a parental permission slip during high school) to the grimly personal (Jennifer Gilmore suffering from acute bulimia). Few of these writers cop to behavior that is genuinely, inexcusably bad (none are currently languishing in prison), but many of these stories prove intriguing and occasionally brave, nonetheless. Joyce Maynard explains her reasons for penning a memoir about her long-ago love affair with J.D. Salinger (she calls him "Jerry"), and Laura Lipmann's hilarious tale of employee abuse recounts the months of spite-fueled work at a newspaper that produced some of her best articles. Pam Houston writes movingly of the complicated relationship she shared with her late father, and Kaui Hart Hemmings's sharp "Author Questionnaire" pokes fun at the self-involved world of San Francisco moms. Though the themes are familiar (Susan Casey's Christmastime blues especially so), and some essays could have used more fine-tuning (Tobin Levy's point gets lost among an entertaining catalog of former lovers), this is a lively assortment with enough variety to hook a wide range of readers.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Ellen Sussman is the author of the novel On a Night Like This. She has two daughters and lives with her husband in Los Altos Hills, California. She, too, is a bad girl.

More About the Author

Ellen Sussman is the New York Times bestselling author of four novels, A WEDDING IN PROVENCE, THE PARADISE GUEST HOUSE, FRENCH LESSONS, and ON A NIGHT LIKE THIS. She is the editor of two critically acclaimed anthologies, BAD GIRLS: 26 WRITERS MISBEHAVE and DIRTY WORDS: A LITERARY ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SEX. She teaches through Stanford Continuing Studies and in private classes. www.ellensussman.com

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. S. Charpentier on March 31, 2011
Format: Paperback
This collection of autobiographical essays collected from women writers, some much more famous than others, was one I highly anticipated reading. I have had it on my wish list since it was published and reviewed in Bitch magazine. However, I guess I must have built it up too much in my mind, because I didn't find myself enjoying it as much as I had hoped. I had really hoped for some truly shocking revelations, but for the most part, the ladies admit to such things as driving really fast, listening to other people's confessions, eating shellfish, being so good at her job it makes other people jealous, etc. One woman finds it scandalous that she's really such a good girl that her worst offense is having forged a permission slip for another girl (although that was a really fun story to read.) The only truly salacious confession comes from Caroline Leavitt who was so insecure in her marriage that she slept with a really gross dude who taught her ballet class. The only story I really enjoyed was "Penises I Have Known", which is an essay on a decidedly vulgar topic dressed up with SAT level vocabulary, and presented in such a way that I wouldn't be surprised to see it published in a scholarly journal.
Included at the end is some biographical information for each contributor. If I had known that was there, I'd have flipped to it after reading each chapter. As it was, I discovered it at the end and had to flip back to remember who belonged to which story. It would have been nice to have that information included with the story, either at the beginning or immediately following, like a lot of science fiction collections do.
Although none of the essays are terrible, and almost all were fun to read, I just didn't relish reading the book as much as I expected to. It's completely possible that this is my fault. It's also possible that I've been such a bad girl that nothing really scandalizes me any more.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I began reading about bad girl behavior (although "girl" is a bit disconcerting) with a favorite author's offering, Susan Straight's "Reckless". Returning to the wild days of rock and roll, fast cars and a brother who shared the heady freedom of her childhood, Straight describes the heart-racing thrill of flying over a dusty road, pedal to the metal, music blaring, the scent of cannabis in the air. Because I came of age in the same area and experienced a similar joy in racing my mother's car on back roads, I could easily empathize with such abandonment, if only temporary, touched by the personal loss that remains part of those sweet memories.

Katherine Weber writes about the night she and a close friend climbed an as yet unfinished tower of the World Trade Center, ready for the future from the ninety-ninth floor, the wind howling in the night. Years later, she remembers the exquisite sensation, one of the first people to enjoy the stunning view, the foolish plans of untested youth before the changes the years bring. So far my "Bad Girl" selections have proved nostalgic, but I've yet to encounter any really naughty behavior as promised in the title. Perhaps Erica Jong will restore my faith in "My Dirty Secret". Uh, oh. Jong's bad girl is, after all, a fraud: "She is my self-created monster." Rather than a revealing essay, Jong renders an apology on female writers, claiming women writers are treated similarly to female politicians: "damned for being all the things they need to be in order to be heard", for example, Hillary Clinton, Arianna Huffington, and feminist history's heroine, Queen Elizabeth I.

In "Lying", Ann Hood sits through a makeover in Bendel's, lying about every aspect of her life to appear more mysterious.
Read more ›
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Margaret on August 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
These refreshingly frank essays will leave you crying and laughing out loud. From Kaui Hart Hemmings "Author Questionnaire" and Lolly Winston's "Turn it Up!" (the two funniest) to Erica Jong's "My Dirty Secret" and Ellen Sussman's "Consider the Slut" (two of the most thought-provoking) to "Carolynn Leavitt's "Bad Dancer" and Joyce Maynard's "A Good Girl Goes Bad" (both frank and moving), this collection will have you reconsidering and embracing the bad girl--in a very good way.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S. Goodman on July 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a must read book. The different essays will make you laugh and cry, but mostly they'll make you think about your own "bad" experiences. Couldn't put it down.
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