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Not That Kind of Girl: A Memoir Hardcover – July 28, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (July 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060840544
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060840549
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,095 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“The tension between the sacred and the secular permeates every page of this heartfelt memoir. . . . Poignantly describe[s] the grace and beauty of ordinary moments.” (Publishers Weekly)

From the Back Cover

Raised in evangelical churches that preach apocalypse now, Carlene Bauer grows up happy to oblige the God who presides over her New Jersey girlhood. But in high school and in college, her intellectual and spiritual horizons widen, though still she finds it hard to let go of her ingrained ideals and to rebel as she knows she should. She loves rock 'n' roll but politely declines offers of sex and drugs, and hovers between a hunger for the world and a suspicion of it. In her twenties, however, determined to make up for lost time, Bauer undertakes a belated and often comic coming-of-age in New York City—ultimately falling in love and losing her religion, and left wondering just what it means to be good.

Sharply written, hilarious, and touching, Not That Kind of Girl is the story of one young woman's efforts to define worldliness, ambition, and love on her own terms.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 14 customer reviews
It is a memoir, but read like good fiction.
jersey tomato
Her love life and career prospects improve, even as Bauer discusses losing her faith and insecurity about what it is she wants in life.
Alla S.
And secretly, I can't help but desire my own nonintellectual, carefree companion.
Bookreporter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Anastasia Duro on August 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I love memoirs, especially ones about addiction, my motto being, "the more debauched the better." But Carlene Bauer has written quite a different sort of memoir. Her story is of a good girl who is both equally baffled by and attracted to the misbehaviors of her peers. Not one to go unreflectively forth, Bauer ponders her way through to her 30's. Luckily for us, all of her introspection is written in precise and evocative prose, laced with humor, wit, self-deprecation and honest admissions of pain and humiliation. If you have a functioning brain, if you think about your place in the world, if you've ever felt awkward, disappointed by reality, or wanted more than what made the rest of the people around you happy-you will love this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By dmm on December 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I picked this book up after reading a review/excerpt on [...]. As an avid reader of memoirs, I was excited to find one that tackled the subject of spirituality from a Christian experience. Ms. Bauer's writing is engaging, and I had no problem going along for the ride. I enjoyed her lyrical turns of phrase and creative metaphors but found, like a prior reviewer, that some of her references were obscure (or perhaps, over my history major head). I also found myself stumbling every now and then on over-worked phrasing that took me out of the rhythm of reading.

The work itself is honest, open, detailed and entertaining. . . for the first 75% of the book. It seemed like so much care and detail was given to the first part of the book that I was disappointed at the rushed turn things took once she decided to convert to Catholicism. It seemed from that point on, things were combined, edited down, rushed and passed over. Additionally, it's hard to feel satisfied with the trajectory of the story when something as crucial as the author losing her faith is given all of a few paragraphs of development (it was unclear, was it 9/11 solely? The book seemed to imply that after 9/11 she just stopped going to church and walked away from God, but it was so under-explored for something so huge.). Likewise, her two real adult relationships feel tacked on at the end. I can't decide if the odd way those relationships are handled (referring to her boyfriend as "her friend", no name, no pseudonym) is due to real life legal issues (no releases) or rush to publication?
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By a reader on August 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
A story about weighing pleasure against goodness, god against sex and boys, modest middle-class values against vaulting ambition, etc. To all the thoughtful girls and once-girls out there, I recommend it wholeheartedly
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cville Dad on August 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
and then I lost interest. Clearly, Bauer is a very intelligent woman (and if you forget this, she reminds you), but I became tired of her waxing philosophical about her virginity and God issues. Usually, I'm a sucker for coming-of-age memoirs, especially when they're mixed with religion, but this lacked a certain something (humor, perhaps?) and just seemed to meander along midway through. Bauer may take herself a tad too seriously, and frankly, I found her a little too annoying to care about what ultimately happened to her virginity or relationship with God. I put it down and immediately became engrossed in a much less intellectual, but far more engaging memoir, "Confessions of a Prairie Bitch."
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on September 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I haven't read many memoirs where I felt compelled to underline sentences because they resonated so strongly with my own view of the world. NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL almost could be my story --- a prudish and bookish girl growing up in the '80s and '90s with a passion for evangelical Christianity and an equally passionate love of words. Just like the author Carlene Bauer, "I was sure that when people talked about using our gifts to glorify [God], it meant that God was going to put me to work writing devotional guides for teenage girls." And just like Bauer, I wasn't sure that this was the life I wanted.

Bauer did have one thing that I didn't --- a life plan involving majoring in English right out of high school and moving to New York to work as a writer. While I did eventually get my English degree and have now visited New York, this memoir allows me to live vicariously through Bauer and see a life that at the ripe "old" age of 32 I feel I cannot pursue now. And not only can I see this life, I can see it through the eyes of a young girl equally afraid of her own sexuality, equally stuck in the lives of dead authors' romantic heroines, equally replacing underlining in Bibles with underlining in novels that refreshingly offer no one truth, and, ultimately, equally stumbling through life without all the answers.

There were moments when Bauer and I took the exact same steps --- the same Christian hang-ups bothered us in the same order, starting with the phrase "How's your walk with the Lord?" and ending with a desperate scramble to find some denomination that let women be feminists and congregants be liberal but ultimately failing in this quest.
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