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Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen Paperback – July 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (July 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140265716
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140265712
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,950,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The ex-prom queen of the title is Sasha Davis, a rebellious Midwestern girl who becomes one of the few women in her high school class to make it east for college. In grad school, she marries a fellow student, then trades school for clerical work. Trapped in a loveless union, Sasha has affairs, divorces ... meets a new love, marries him, has two children and finds this second, more "l;modern" union as difficult, in its own way, as her first. The book made a big splash when it was first published in 1969.... -- Entertainment Weekly

About the Author

Alix Kates Shulman is the author of three other novels, the award-winning memoir Drinking the Rain, two books on the anarchist Emma Goldman, and three children's books. She divides her time between New York City and Maine.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Alix attended public schools and planned to be a lawyer like her dad. But in college at Case Western Reserve University she was smitten by philosophy and upon graduation moved to New York City to study philosophy at Columbia grad school. After some years as an encyclopedia editor, she enrolled at New York University, where she took a degree in mathematics, and later, while raising two children, an MA in Humanities.

She became a civil rights activist in 1961 and a feminist activist in 1967, published her first book in 1970, and taught her first class in 1973--all lifelong pursuits that have found their way into her books.

Having explored in her novels the challenges of youth and midlife, in her memoirs she has probed the later stages in the ongoing drama of her generation of women, taking on the terrors and rewards of solitude, of her parents' final years, and of her late-life calling as caregiver to her beloved husband, with whom she lives in New York City.

She is the author of:

five novels:
Ménage
Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen
Burning Questions
On the Stroll
In Every Woman's Life...

three memoirs:
Drinking the Rain
A Good Enough Daughter
To Love What Is: A Marriage Transformed

selected essays:
A Marriage Agreement and Other Essays: Four Decades of Feminist Writing

two books on the anarchist-feminist Emma Goldman:
To the Barricades (biography)
Red Emma Speaks (collection)

and three books for children:
Bosley on the Number Line
Awake and Asleep
Finders Keepers.

For more information, see AlixKShulman.com.

Customer Reviews

Much of the "action" seems pointless.
BMB
I did not even like the main character and thought that the writing was hard to follow.
Holly
I found this book to be a fun and easy read...one I could not put down.
cjenkins219

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Amanda on August 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is my favorite book of all time. I was suprised to read the other reviews, as they suggest that the women's movement has corrected all the injustices described in the book. Unfortunately the situations the author speaks of are almost as real today as they were then. While women have more financial options than in the past, those who think these situations won't resonate with 'the pretty girls' of today are living in a dream world. Plus, it's a great read.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By AMLeClair on March 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
I'm 21 years old and was given this book to read for my U.S. Women's History class that I knew I'd hate (the class, not the book) because I'm no history buff, as this class was an unfortuantely forced elective. I was merely looking forward to reading some of the literature that the professor mandated, such as Work by Louisa May Alcott and Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs; however stumbling onto Memoirs Of An Ex Prom Queen, I opened up to a random page and read a little bit to see what I was getting myself into. This was unlike any other female writer that I've read and did read in that particular class. I knew that ending the semester, this book would still be in my head and hands. I started from the beginning and couldn't put it down with my mind swarming inside and out of the words that dive further and further into Sasha's world of sexuality and ambition. As an English: Creative Writing major, I found this to be my literary muse. Of course, I've always found creative inspiration in plays and poetry, but this work of fiction opened up my eyes to new depths of writing as the woman that I'm growing to be. Everything that Alix Kates Shulman touched on was clever and thought-provoking, relatable and enticing, as well as genious and raw. It reminded me a bit of Sylvia Plath's The Belljar (although that's much heavier and serious to take on) because of the brutal honesty and irony that Sasha expresses in scrutinizing herself and relationships. As a young woman approaching the age that Sasha starts at in the beginning of the novel, all of those qualities and characteristics of the story are amplified to me, although I'm not married, in an anonymous mid-West town, or in a post World War II society. She writes with such gripping reality that could truly touch every woman.Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dilma M. Silva (dilma@ime.usp.br) on June 3, 1998
Format: Paperback
I decided to read all of the books from this author after browsing her last book (Drinking from the Rain, I believe) and getting absolutely hooked on it. Her writing really appeals to me. It is not easy for me to understand Sasha, the main character in this book, probably because of the generation gap, but also because I couldn't accept her to be so strong and so weak at the same time. The ending is also very confusing, I didn't expect marriage and maternity to have such a strong effect on her (negative, from my view). I will be checking out here at amazon to see if other people can help me to make sense of the book ending. I intend to read other books from Ms. Alix K. Shulman pretty soon.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By magellan HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is not my usual type of book, but I when I picked it up at random in a book store 20 years ago, the author's frank style sort of grabbed me, and I ended up reading the whole thing.
Shulman's memoir pre-dates many of the later works of this type since she grew up in the 40's and 50's, which basically just goes to show you that none of this is very new from the standpoint of women's consciousness. I was a grad student in the 70's and 80's, and by then we were solidly post-free love, post-sexual liberation, and post 60's sexuality in general. This author's discussion of these issues pre-dates this by at least 20 years, so the book is interesting if only for that.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is the most well written piece I have read since dabbling in the American cannon in my college literature classes. It is very frank, sexual and revealing. And the language is abosultely edible! Sasha is raw and on the edge of profound feminine insights, yet is battered again and again by the male-ism that dominates her culture. Women who have had few lovers may find this a difficult read, but that's the challenge. This book was not only a delight for the time period it represented, but I also appreciated the disturbing and yet real male/female scenarios that, although "dated," have given me a insight into raising raising my own young boys ... different from their grandfathers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By loree resnik on March 30, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rereading this so many years after i first did when it originally came out was a treat. The feminist revolution had no better fiction writer than Alix Kates Shulman!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sally Ann on September 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Loved the book!! Highly recommended! I'm wondering, how do this author's other books compare? The story was a mix of shocking and interesting and the writing was so believable to be a memoir
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The things I remembered most vividly from my early reading included the college student's epiphany and subsequent construction of the time line. (I'm not going into detail because for those who read this review who haven't read the book, I want to save the details for their discovery when they do read the book), the "pantsing" episode, and Sasha's loneliness regardless of which set of characters she is with and whatever activities are going on. I loved and resonated with all of these things again and this time noticed more closely the on-going autopsy of the marriage/no marriage, children/no children quandary. We who were early women's liberation activists and advocates have often been criticized for not paying attention and not giving respect and honor to women who chose to be mothers. A reading of this book makes clear how wrong, how inattentive, that criticism is. Recognizing and acknowledging that by our children we are held hostage does not mean we didn't honor those (among whom most of us counted ourselves eventually) who did have children. I don't remember reading any book by any of the early second wave feminists in which that combination of love and fear is made more explicit. But what I loved most about the book then and now is the intelligence that underlies it. We read about all sorts of awakenings in here but where it is about sex or social condition about gender performativity or comparative cultures what I cherish most is the brilliance of the mind recording and questioning and thinking about it all.

I've read some of the very critical or snarky or disinterested reviews by contemporary readers and I was shocked by them.
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