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College Girl Hardcover – Bargain Price, December 26, 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover (December 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1101015055
  • ISBN-13: 978-1101015056
  • ASIN: B002YNS16G
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,378,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Weitz takes a weak stab at a collegiate version of Prep in this disappointing me-too. Beautiful but virginal Natalie Bloom, a student at the University of Connecticut, has traded her working-class past for a spot at the bourgeois party school. While she maintains good grades, she is less successful in the social scene—a menacing environment where horny frat boys lurk in dark corners and couples easily betray each other—until she meets Patrick in, naturally, the library. Though Natalie insists she's shy, her dialogue with men is snappy and direct, and she and Patrick move toward dating in a series of dull getting-to-know-you conversations. When the relationship turns sexual, Natalie finds herself doubtful about his intentions, but she soldiers on until a weakly developed subplot about her brother's suicide somehow brings her to her senses. Without a comprehensible or urgent plot, the novel relies on its characters, but bland Natalie is surrounded by equally forgettable, interchangeable supporting personalities. When Natalie finally does find her happy ending, the reader won't really care. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Natalie Bloom, the first girl in her family of six older brothers to attend (or even want to attend) college, has finally transferred to a big university halfway through her junior year. She's spent a couple of years proving herself at a community college, developing an addiction to earning A's after having been labeled a slacker for most of her life (she is, after all, one of those Blooms). She studies Russian history because history comes easily to her—she memorizes facts and she's fascinated by other people's lives. When she meets Patrick one night (studying in the library, of course), she embarks on a journey of self-discovery; while not your typical coming-of-age, Natalie's relationship with Patrick leads her to stark revelations. This debut novel unwraps an intriguing downward spiral, deftly portraying social and psychological implications of college life. Natalie's need to come to terms with her history, slowly revealed throughout, is well worth the read. Recommended for all fiction collections. [The author is married to filmmaker Paul Weitz (The Golden Compass; About a Boy).—Ed.]—Julie Kane, Sweet Briar Coll. Lib., VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

The main character was unlikeable at best, as were most of the secondary characters.
R. Stumpf
And I felt like I knew who this Natalie character was and feeling this way, I couldn't help but feel that she just wouldn't have done this kind of thing.
I have not finished a book since last November, so in some small way I will be grateful to this book for getting me past that dry period.
K. Caldwell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Kellie M. Powell on February 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Stop me if you've heard this story before: A beautiful, young, over-achieving student from a poor family feels out of place at her fancy East Coast college. She's embarrassed by her background, her appearance, and her lack of sexual experience. She meets a boy. He pressures her for sex. Her grades suffer. She becomes depressed, she hates herself, she engages in self-destructive behavior. Finally, she loses her virginity, and hates herself more than ever. Times are hard for a while, but eventually she gets together with the "nice guy," who's been in the background all along. This pretty much fixes everything, and she slowly grows comfortable in her own skin.

If this synopsis reminds you of I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe, you're not alone. One big difference is that College Girl is told in the first person, which only makes the protagonist's whining more prominent--and more annoying. It's hard to feel any sympathy for Natalie Bloom; she's self-absorbed and judgmental, and constantly sabotaging herself. In some ways, this is realistic and relatable; most college students have probably experienced the embarrassment of infatuation, dating, and awkward sex. Readers will cringe at Natalie's poor choices and constant humiliation.

While reading, I couldn't help thinking Natalie might have benefited from taking a Women's Studies course. Perhaps instead of throwing around words like "slut" and "whore" and buying into the idea of sex as a form of "leverage" in relationships, she could have stood up for herself a lot sooner. Instead, she keeps quiet about unwanted sexual attention from her roommate's boyfriend, and caves to her own "boyfriend" when he pressures her into performing oral sex despite her protests.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Bledsoe on September 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
For any girl who has sought self-confidence in the arms of a boy, who has lost sight of her own identity in the face of love, who has struggled to balance ambition with a romantic relationship, "College Girl" is (at least at first) the story of her life.

Undergoing a constant inner battle, Natalie Bloom is an intelligent, yet self-conscious 20-year-old girl. And, at age 20, she has yet to bloom. The novel tells the story of her journey to womanhood, including typical trials scattered along the road.

The novel begins strongly. The reader is interested in a girl who spends all her free time in the library. There is hope that the Russian history major will be able to branch out and overcome her social insecurity. With Natalie's sole focus on academic work, she has little need for good looks. At the beginning of the narrative, Natalie admits her physical attractiveness and is unable to ignore the obvious approval voiced by many a male passerby. She discounts all appeals to her good looks, feeling undeserving of genuine interest because of her working-class roots and her meagerly educated family.

The youngest of eight, Natalie is the epitome of Freudian dysfunction. Natalie is the product of her parents' inability to express love and her brothers' constant needling. Upon her return home for winter break, readers witness the gravity of her brothers' demeaning jokes. As amateur psychologists, readers draw the conclusion that Natalie has become the fragile, timid young woman she is because of her childhood.

Her propensity for mental instability (attributed to a family disposition to such) is amplified when she becomes obsessed with her "first love.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Word on May 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The heroine's first boyfriend was so well-drawn -- convincingly attractive, intelligent, charming, and heartless -- that I couldn't put the book down until she was done with him. But the book seemed overly long, and I had trouble believing that the protagonist's circumstances could be as dire as represented. Were all five of her brothers utter clods? Were all the women in her dorm sexually promiscuous? Would a college professor speak so unprofessionally to a student? Etc. Actually I think even the horrible boyfriend would have been nice enough to pay for her hamburger at McDonald's; he drove a Saab, for goodness sake.

Also, the protagonist herself seemed less convincing and less appealing as the book wore on. This girl must have had some moxie and curiosity to be able to get into college and earn A's in her coursework...but all of that goes out the window as soon as her bad love affair begins. She ends up looking like an intellectual zero. I left the book not understanding why she was interested in Russia or even what kind of a person she was.

This wasn't a bad read, just not the kind of book I would read twice.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By KarleeQ on September 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I know a lot of people are comparing this book to Prep, and I'll have to sort of take the same route, even though that's not really fair. The thing is, Prep is one of my favorite books and I happened to re-read it right before reading College Girl. So it was extremely fresh in my mind, and I had hoped College Girl would be just as satisfying a read. Unfortunately, it was not.

The book started out ok. It seemed like a fun and scandalous tale of a straight-laced 20-year-old young woman who would inevitably go wild and start enjoying herself.

But quickly, the book took an extremely depressing turn. It just seemed liked everything that could possibly go wrong *would* go wrong for poor, pathetic Natalie. I felt like the author was trying to heap as many ridiculous things on the girl as possible. The parts that took place at her home, amidst her 5 brothers, were almost laughable. A 20 year old woman begging her probably 30-something brother to let her clean his truck for $10? Eek. I just really hated all those types of scenes. And the character of Patrick... he went from charming to a cheerless sex monster very fast. And Natalie was completely under his spell. Yes, I understand that it happens. Afterall, the same situation happened to Lee with Cross Sugarman in Prep. But Prep portrayed the situation just so much more realistically! Everything in College Girl seemed so over the top and harsh. I found it difficult to read without laughing and thinking "oh, come on!"

Many reviews praise Patricia Weitz's writing style, but I wasn't so into it at all. Nothing was subtle; nothing had any sense of mystery. Like another reviewer mentioned, the fact that Natalie comes from a poor family is beaten into the reader over and over in a glaring and ugly way. This was off-putting to me.
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