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Girl Land Hardcover – January 12, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books; 1 edition (January 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316065986
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316065986
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #742,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Caitlin Flanagan is a former high school teacher who became a writer; she has been on staff at The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and the Wall Street Journal. A winner of the National Magazine Award, she has also written for Time, O, The Oprah Magazine, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times. Her work has been widely anthologized in, among other publications, The Best American Essays and The Best American Magazine Writing series. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two sons.

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Customer Reviews

I can't say I can recommend this book to a lot of people I know.
Kindle Customer
Flanagan's writing is breezy and down to earth, the read is entertaining and enlightening-- good for parents of girls and boys alike.
J. Rake
Girl Land should not be seen as some social retrospective on the life of young girls, it's far from that.
3 Boys and an Old Lady

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 41 people found the following review helpful By ireadabookaday VINE VOICE on January 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I find Caitlin Flanagan is a witty and readable writer though I disagree with a majority of her opinions. I say opinions, because her work is skimpy on facts, long on generalizations and vague anecdotes. That is especially true of this book.

In aiming to protect girls from a dangerously sexualized culture, Flanagan presents them as dreamy, romantic,interior creatures lacking in agency, sure to be victimized by males that at best can't understand them and at worst want to hurt them. This book is full of similarly sweeping generalizations, the phrases
"every woman I know" and "every girl" crop up with regularity. When she does present real data, in one case she follows it up by stating that Columbia University is not a "go-to source for information on the hearts and minds of evangelical teens". I'd counter that the author is not a go-to source of information on the typical teenage girl- she is writing mostly about her own experiences, or a few girls whose upbringing resembles her own. She is an authority only on her own girlhood- too bad she didn't stick to examining that rather than making broad generalizations based mainly on her own experience.

As for solutions, Flanagan is short on these. Removing internet access from bedrooms, and having fathers or other strong male figures intimidate the boys that their girls are dating are the main ones. She states that she is old-fashioned enough to believe that girls are hurt more than boys by early sexual experiences, and she is apparently old-fashioned enough to not hold boys ( or men) accountable for this, or even hope for better from them. She offers no solutions for raising better boys- the burden is all on the girls or parents of girls.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jon on March 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book is about much more than female adolescence. It's a frothy little history book about the evolution (or not) of American adolescent rites, particularly in the past eighty or so years. It's also a quietly charming reminder that in these hyper-exhibitionist times (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), everyone, not just pubescent girls, would do well to cultivate a measure of privacy, a degree of interior life, something that is undeniably harder to do than it used to be. That Flanagan discusses the peculiar but not exclusive side-effects such exhibitionism can have on girls does not in any way make her a reactionary or an anti-feminist. Her advice would benefit everyone (adult women, men and boys), but the temptations and the consequences are not equal across all groups, and Flanagan should be lauded for not shying from this inconvenient truth.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By 3 Boys and an Old Lady on February 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Flanagan has some rather interesting thoughts on how woman are perceived but as I read it I was curious as to who these women are that Flanagan writes of. As I read Girl Land I kept reflecting back to the very first page where Flanagan writes "Every woman I've known..." and the more I read the more I thought, "Dear Mrs. Flanagan you need to meet more women, with daughters."

So which chapter do you want first? Not that it matters. Every chapters starts and ends with sex. Dating? Sex. Menustration? Sex. Proms? Sex. Diaries? You guessed it, sex. Flanagan writes "...A diary is a place where a girl can record and examine her sexual progress..." Really.?! I kept a diary for years as an adolescent and even as an adult and Flanagan's perspective is so far from my experience, but hey, that's just me. However, I dare not believe young girls are as consumed with sex as so portrayed in Flanagan's Girl Land.

Girl Land should not be seen as some social retrospective on the life of young girls, it's far from that. It is a journal of one woman's beliefs which I imagine are based on her life experiences. Yet, I wonder how different the book would read if Flanagan were the mother of a young girl.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Laurie A. Brown VINE VOICE on May 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
Girl Land is not a place that exists in physical space; it's a place in time. Girl Land is the time between childhood and womanhood, when girls turn inward, write in diaries, and dream of romance. Teen girls need protection during this time; protection from the cruel world, from boys, from the internet. They need a strong father in their lives to provide this protection, yet divorce makes it common that a girl grows up without her father present in the house to protect her from boys. Modern life is destroying Girl Land. Rather than turning inward and writing in a diary, the modern teenage girl is posting her every mood and deed onto Twitter and Facebook. Worse, she is giving oral sex to boys and thinking she is still a virgin. Refusing to allow the girl internet access in her bedroom is the best gift the parents can give her, because this will protect her from the cold, cruel world.

I found Flanagan's stand rather at odds with modern thought. Rather than teaching girls to be strong and independent, she wants them to rely on their fathers to protect them. Now don't get me wrong; I'm all for keeping both parents present in the girl's life! But I don't feel that having the father absent from the dwelling is necessarily worse for girls than it is for boys, and I don't feel that the couple has to be heterosexual to raise a healthy girl. Nor do I think that denying `net access in the privacy of a girl's bedroom will keep her from seeing the wrong things; most modern phones will allow her to see all the wrong places anyway.

I just don't think that putting a teenage girl in a cocoon is the best way to prepare her for adult life. If going through adolescence is as traumatic as Flanagan says it is, girls need to be given the tools to deal with it, not hidden in fluffy pink womb.
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