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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars tragic beauty
Lisa Glatt's book is not chick lit or anything close to it. If you want to read about shopping and fashion and silly girl crushes, go elsewhere. This is serious literature, about cancer and looming death and unavoidable loneliness, and the dark, sad, sometimes sleezy, places depressed women go to hide as a result. Glatt is an honest writer. Beautifully honest. In fact,...
Published on October 1, 2004 by JK

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So much pain
This is a book that shows how vulnerable these women are who are in pain from the past, present or future. Their sexuality is used as a cessation of the pain and an understanding of their places in life. The men they encounter are a means to an unachievable end. Sex is not the point of these encounters for the women - they are not promiscuous, but in pain. Perhaps...
Published on July 17, 2005 by Pat


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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars tragic beauty, October 1, 2004
This review is from: A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That: A Novel (Hardcover)
Lisa Glatt's book is not chick lit or anything close to it. If you want to read about shopping and fashion and silly girl crushes, go elsewhere. This is serious literature, about cancer and looming death and unavoidable loneliness, and the dark, sad, sometimes sleezy, places depressed women go to hide as a result. Glatt is an honest writer. Beautifully honest. In fact, she makes tragedy almost appealing.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absurdly, amazingly great., July 29, 2004
This review is from: A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That: A Novel (Hardcover)
The following is an excerpt from my column, a monthly review of first novels published in the New York Journal News. I'm posting it here because Glatt's novel is among the best debuts I've ever read - it deserves all the accolades and praise it has received, and then some - and I think everyone should know about it.

Lisa Glatt's first novel (she previously published two collections of poetry), entitled A Girl Becomes A Comma Like That, is an accomplished, elegant, inky-black tragicomedy that raises gallows humor to a heartrending art form. Its heroine, Rachel Spark, moves home to care for her terminally ill mother, a dynamic, ruthlessly optimistic woman who seems to be coping with the situation far better than her daughter; Rachel, a thirtyish creative writing teacher adrift professionally and personally, is absolutely devastated at the prospect of her mother's death, and attempts to circumnavigate her grief by sleeping with one inappropriate man after another.

Into this central narrative, by turns poignant and uproarious, Glatt intersperses the stories of three other young women: Rachel's friend Angela, a hapless, socially inept young woman, simultaneously tough and clinging, whose allergies occasionally cause her lips to swell to epic proportions, making it difficult for her to breathe or speak; Ella, a sensitive college undergrad and student of Rachel's, who discovers her new husband is having an affair; and Georgia, a sexually and intellectually precocious teenage girl-and an inauspiciously regular client of the Planned Parenthood clinic where Ella works, and which Rachel visits to have an abortion.

All of the characters, whether treated briefly or at greater length, are distinct, dimensional, and eminently believable. Glatt extracts a sweet pathos from the almost arbitrary, near-miss quality of their uneasy friendships, but what connects these women one to another is less important, and of less interest to Glatt, that what keeps them apart from each other and from anyone else: the loneliness that they have in common, a profound, ineffable lack that each tries and fails to fill with sex. As Rachel muses in the line from which the title is taken, "A girl becomes a comma like that, with wrong boy after wrong boy; she becomes a pause, something quick before the real thing." Love is what each of these women craves-authentic, abiding love, the real thing-but cannot or will not permit herself to have. Each endures the effects of ordinary damage that has been magnified and warped by sorrow and happenstance; each is, in her own way, spun out and dizzied by the centripetal forces of self-destructive compulsions.

These portraits are, deft, wise, beautifully complex, and drawn with a light, even playful touch; the novel is bracingly unsentimental. Glatt does not stoop to easy cleverness or coy ironies, and she offers her characters neither pity nor condemnation (for example, she takes care to juxtapose the main characters' emotional pathologies with victims of cancer, degenerative brain disease, and other physical maladies, casting a cold light on the young women's complicity in their own suffering). Instead, Girl is shot through with ferocious insight, stern compassion, and a mordant humor that provides ballast without mercy; this is a rare, bright, glass-cuttingly sharp little jewel of a book.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HONEST and WISE and OH SO GOOD..., September 6, 2004
By 
latchkeykid "latchkeykid" (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That: A Novel (Hardcover)
We all want our lives to work out a certain way. To be a certain way. But life is messy. And how we handle things often shows we have no idea what we're doing or how to make things better. The women in "A Girl Becomes A Comma Like That" are no exception. And that's what makes them so incredibly relateable. So incredibly real. They make mistakes. They reach out looking for answers in places they may never get them. They act inappropriately like we all do at times. Because insecurity plagues us all in times of crisis--- If only we had someone like Glatt writing our lines for us in such an evocative way, we may get through those times a little better. And feel alot better about ourselves. What Glatt understands and shows us so compellingly is that even smart women do things that don't seem to make sense. And end up in places that don't seem to make sense. These women-- Rachel, Ella, Elizabeth and Georgia don't have the luxury to define themselves with designer outfits and how rich of a husband they can land. They're too real and like most of us, too complex. The journey we go on with them is to places most writers shy away from. But Glatt takes us there in such a full, rich and powerful way that by the time we're done we see just how substantial that can be.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, dark and funny, September 14, 2004
This review is from: A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That: A Novel (Hardcover)
The smart person's book of the summer. I thank Amazon's editor's for picking A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That as one of the Best Books of the Year. I couldn't agree more.

Rachel Spark and the other women depicted here will break your heart and make you laugh and the same time. The subject matter of the way we relate to our bodies and to each other and the men in our lives has never been explored by any other writer I've encountered in quite this illuminating a way.

Glatt is bold and original in the way she tackles tough issues and flawed characters. I'll be looking out for this writers work in the future.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SO INCREDIBLY GOOD, September 14, 2004
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This review is from: A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That: A Novel (Hardcover)
This book is absolutely phenomenal. The characters are complex and real and love the world and the people in it to a terrifying fault. We are happy with them, hurt with them, love with them, and fear with them.

I read the one unfavorable comment below and was appalled. The only conclusion I can draw about it is that some self-rightous women just don't want to admit that yes, people in their teens and in their thirties, make mistakes, trip and fall, and then pick themselves back up and wipe off their scraped knees. I think there are some who are loathe to admit that this behavior can in fact lead one to lives that are all the more full and rewarding. Only the most uncompassionate of human beings could not be moved by this book.

So I encourage anyone out there not to miss this one. It's a true gem. Let's face it, the meaning of life is love. No one wants to be alone. The remarkable thing is how each of us goes about finding that road towards love of others and of oneself, and true redemption. That is precisely what Glatt explores.

This is a story about the simultaneous fragility and strength in all kinds of relationships, and the beauty that can often be found in the ugliest places.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest and fabulously relatable, October 6, 2004
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This review is from: A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That: A Novel (Hardcover)
Lisa Glatt wrote a novel that was so honest and full of flawed, but lovable women. Each character is developed throughout the piece and we begin to see why the characters make the choices that they do. It is very clear that Glatt knows exactly what makes a woman tick and why we make the choices (and sometimes mistakes) that we do.

This is anything but a surface-level book, but not too over-the-top that you will be depressed for a long time after reading it. Glatt approaches the subjects in this novel with humor, knowledge and her unique writing style.

I recommend this book to both males and females of any age.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Novel About Being a Woman, November 28, 2004
This review is from: A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That: A Novel (Hardcover)
Lisa Glatt's novel, A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That is a wonderfully written novel concerned with essentially what it is to be female in contemporary American society. Rachel, the protagonist, is dealing with relationship failures and successes, her mother's bouts with breast cancer, abortion, birth control, friendship, weight gain and many other issues women confront. The novel will make you think about all of these issues, but it will also make you laugh and make you smile. Rachel is not a perfect protagonist. She'll annoy you sometimes with the choices she makes, but in the end that is what makes this book so compellingly readable: Rachel's humanity. Enjoy.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest, frank, and poetic, February 21, 2005
By 
T. Eugenie James (New Orleans, La USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That: A Novel (Hardcover)
I bought this book because I loved the title, and the story line seemed passable (I was trying to get away from the dark horror I usually read). What I found was a novel that stired my soul and made me re-read passages so that what Glatt was saying would stick to my bones. I rarly find a book that hits this close to home. Stories about three seperate woman whose lives are linked by association the book skips back and forth between years of Rachel's mother's cancer. Rachel herself is an english professor who is, let me be gental here, sexually loose. Alot of her "relationships" have more to do with her pain over her mother than anything else. The mother is a constant source of wit and postiviness in this book where the other characters are more at a downward spiral emotionally in their lives. The line "a girl becomes a comma like that" was Rachel talking about how one girl (her in the example she's giving) is just the pausing point for a guy inbetween one to the next. That hurt so much to read someone write that, but it was so beautifully put I didn't care. A must read for any female who can't find her place in a relationship, or sometimes in herself.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Debut Novel, September 14, 2004
This review is from: A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That: A Novel (Hardcover)
I truly loved this book. You don't just read this novel, you climb inside and inhabit the lives of these women. Then when you've finished it, you find they inhabit your life. The characters stay with you--like all great writing does. Rachel Spark and the crazy, sad, wonderful people around her are beautifully drawn. The dialogue is sharp and the characters' frailities and strengths paint a telling picture of how we live with grief,love and regret. At once hilarious and bittersweet, this is a great read. Buy/borrow/steal this book!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars observations of the relationship between sex, death & love, June 28, 2004
By 
Felicia Sullivan (New York, ny United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That: A Novel (Hardcover)
A mother dying of breast cancer who wants to love, a daughter with a revolving door into her bedroom but a Beware sign on her heart, a desperate, acerbic friend whose lips puff like down pillows and beds a man because she likes that he likes her, a woman who obsesses over her husband's infidelity, and a teenage girl with moxie who lends out her body like a library book while her father pines over the mother that left them behind: Elizabeth, Rachel, Angela, Emma, and Georgia are the central figures in Lisa Glatt's auspicious novel-in-stories, A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That.
The novel shifts between the women's points of view from 1997-2000, all bearing the weight of someone leaving. At the center is poetry teacher, Rachel Spark, who has been coping with her chipper mother, Elizabeth's bought with terminal breast cancer. For over six years, Rachel has remained in her mother's home, ferreting Elizabeth to chemo sessions, cosmetic surgery and leech therapy all amidst Rachel's own unraveling. A bevy of men haunt her bedrooms with their accents, their stories and finally, after an unprotected one-night stand with a Brit and a mother who creeps quickly towards death, Rachel finally confronts loss and the possibility of life after her mother.
During the day, Emma Bloom lectures girls about safer sex, sees girls with round bellies, STD cancers that fester and spread, infecting a girl's body and stands side-by-side with the woman she found kissing her husband (a man who studies bats) and wonders about love, what does it imply, who does it implicate and how it is possible that one can love and be comforted too soon. Most compelling is Georgia. A teenager alone with a brother who longs for escape from their cold home, a despondent father, and a mother who has taken up house with another - Georgia's body is this thing - this empty thing that gives her power.
Bodies are merely an assortment of parts that can be manipulated and molded to get one through one's day. A breast implant provides posture, balance - a mouth is an oracle to quiet with cruel words or silence through oral sex, - Lisa Glatt's debut is all at once an uncomfortable and unflinching look about women's complicated relationship with their bodies. Many of the characters bear the weight of abandonment by their loved ones and often are left to raise themselves. Disease with respect to relationships and the body is so intricately linked which raises an eye to the close relationship between sex, death and love.
Glatt's dialogue is authentic, prose sparkles and many of the passages are absolutely heartbreaking. The structure is a bit rough at times with the reader having to flip back and forth to locate oneself in time (same with long passages that switch between present/past tense), however, that aside, A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That is honest, pensive and uncompromising.
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A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That: A Novel
A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That: A Novel by Lisa Glatt (Hardcover - June 1, 2004)
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