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16 Reviews
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A night of coming of age via alcohol, drugs, sex, love, friendship, destruction, and misfits
Think of the whimsy and the magical alignment of lost souls that one might find in a Francesca Lia Block book. Toss in some dark twists a la Chuck Palahniuk or David Lynch. Bring in an innocent yet observant (and witty!) narrative voice like that in Speak or The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and you arrive at a hint of Rose of No Man's Land. Don't infer that it is...
Published on May 7, 2006 by Jessica Lux

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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Why, Michelle Tea, why?
This book made me want to stab my eyes out. I read Valencia a few weeks ago, and was hoping for more of the fabulously insightful and beautiful descriptions ("Iris went through girls like a slash and burn farmer." How cool can you get?) that made it a good book. The drama of all of the sex and drugs and love was certainly exciting, but left alone, it would have been...
Published on January 7, 2007 by rsm


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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A night of coming of age via alcohol, drugs, sex, love, friendship, destruction, and misfits, May 7, 2006
By 
This review is from: Rose of No Man's Land (Hardcover)
Think of the whimsy and the magical alignment of lost souls that one might find in a Francesca Lia Block book. Toss in some dark twists a la Chuck Palahniuk or David Lynch. Bring in an innocent yet observant (and witty!) narrative voice like that in Speak or The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and you arrive at a hint of Rose of No Man's Land. Don't infer that it is formulaic, or that it can be strictly compared to any one of these books. I was swept away by this book, and every time I had a handle on what it was about, the narrator's life would wrest out of her control and the direction of the story would change.

Our 14-year-old narrator Trisha is a loner, happy to wear the same beat-up oversized t-shirt all summer. Her mom hasn't left the couch in years as she self-diagnoses herself with infections, with autism, with Tourette's, and any number of other TV-news-topics-of-the-moment. Mom's loser boyfriend Donnie spends his days working on his car, storing merchandise that fell off a truck in Trisha's bedroom, and letting Trisha steal his lukewarm beers when she needs to escape from life. Trisha's older sister, currently filming herself to audition for The Real World, makes Trisha her new project, and transforms her into someone who can get a job at the hottest, trendiest store in the mall.

Rose of No Man's Land is the story of Trisha and Rose, who meet at the mall. Rose is a whirlwind of activity who shoplifts, steals, hitchhikes, and does whatever comes to mind in the moment. The third member of the action is absent throughout the entire novel, but central to the plot. Kim Porciatti, a girl high above Trisha's social strata, is all the buzz in town because tried to kill herself. It is Kim Porciatti's absence that allows Trisha to have a trendy mall job, and it is Kim Porciatti's cell phone callers who open up a world of adventure for the bored and listless Trisha and Rose.

If you are ready to handle a unforgettable night of underage alcohol, destruction, drugs, friendship, sexuality, love, and tattoos that will change Trisha forever, pick up Rose of Man's Land. Trisha's narration is poignant and the action is unpredictable, yet believable. Any Boston native will recognize the slang, customs, and Route 1 neon hang-outs that the story of Trisha and Rose is set in.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a rush, August 6, 2006
This review is from: Rose of No Man's Land (Hardcover)
Rose of No Man's Land is this fabulous rush of book - full of energy and emotion and brilliance and GREAT writing. Wow. I have no idea how she keeps the pace so fast in a novel where nothing really melodramatic happens. I read that she does a lot of spoken word performances, so maybe that's where she tests out whether her audience is getting the rush or not.

Girlfriend died laughing all the way through this book. I watched her giggle her head off for hours. Girlfriend is from a lower middle class background and really related to the class stuff in the book. The main character has an older sister, Kristy, who is relentlessly upbeat, pretty and determined to escape her crappy welfare-mother family. Girlfriend is Kristy, positive affirmations and all.

Me, I could relate to running crazy in suburbia while off my head on drugs - there is a scene where the protag and her friend are on crystal and break into a putt-putt golf course that I could swear Tea ripped right out of my own teen years.

Buy this book. Read it. Love it. You won't regret it.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Why, Michelle Tea, why?, January 7, 2007
This review is from: Rose of No Man's Land (Paperback)
This book made me want to stab my eyes out. I read Valencia a few weeks ago, and was hoping for more of the fabulously insightful and beautiful descriptions ("Iris went through girls like a slash and burn farmer." How cool can you get?) that made it a good book. The drama of all of the sex and drugs and love was certainly exciting, but left alone, it would have been somewhat pointless. This is precisely why I do not understand why Michelle Tea would abandon her poet's voice to become a fourteen-year-old girl.

As a piece of YA fiction, this book is perhaps somewhat better than the rest because it's different. It's not neat and tidy (because since when is reality?), and it doesn't perpetuate all the gender roles and heterosexist crap that so thickly pervade teen pop culture. It's nice to hear from someone other than a straight, feminine middle-class white girl for once.

PS: I don't even believe the person who wrote the official Booklist review even read the book (or Valencia, for that matter). Some of those statements about the plot are flat-out wrong. But now I'm just being picky.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I knew she could do it!, June 30, 2006
This review is from: Rose of No Man's Land (Hardcover)
The other Michelle Tea books I'd read were Passionate Mistakes and Valencia. Even though the writing was really good, the books weren't that enjoyable because they were just shapeless descriptions of the author's life. As I expected, when she finally wrote a fiction book it was amazing.

I liked the characters and plot (especially the bizarre ending), and the way Trisha's life completely changes in one day. But what really got me was the narration. For ex., the book starts with a truly awesome monologue wherein Trisha moves from grievance to grievance: her family's neglect, her mother's boyfriend's grossness, her mother's hypochondria. There are several places in the book, especially towards the beginning, when Trisha complains about things and you just sit there with a big grin on your face, wondering if she could possibly be any cooler. When the prose isn't critical, it's beautiful.

The only negative thing I can think of is that the grammar was pretty bad. This usually annoys me, but Michelle Tea's writing is so weird and wonderful I barely noticed.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A novel as beautiful, scary, and unpredictable as Rose herself, May 26, 2006
By 
Ellen Etc. "Garret Books" (Northern California, USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Rose of No Man's Land (Hardcover)
This novel happens over 24 hours, when 14-year-old Trisha meets the dangerous and unpredictable Rose, who is a year older. More serious & poetic than C.D. Payne's 'Youth in Revolt;' not as bleak as Lynda Barry's 'Cruddy,' 'Rose of No Man's Land' is another contemporary coming-of-age story, beautifully written with candy-wrapped gems of observation. For the cautious Trisha, it's like having Courtney Love as a best friend for one day. I wished I knew what happened over the next week, for example, but we won't hear what happens afterwards unless Tea writes a sequel. [But what's with the cover photograph? The willowy model has nothing at all to do with the story, which would have been better done by one of Francesca Lia Block's illustrators.]
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5.0 out of 5 stars required reading, April 3, 2013
Wow. She switched gears well. her writing drove me into hidden places- I forgot how it all felt! I love this book because I lived through this time in my life with the same brand of awkwardness, shaky triumph, angst, and sticky, deliciously wicked encounters of this very kind. Tea tells it like no other.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Biopsychology, Gender, and Problems, July 13, 2012
By 
Jasmine Jennifer McAlpine "Dirty Little Claws... (Delaware County, Pennsylvania, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rose of No Man's Land (Paperback)
This is a story about a young girl's life just after puberty in an otherwise deserted town. She ultimately lives through an evening with herself and her only friend, a somewhat lost but employed peer from the local mall. One bad event leads to another for this girl of sexual innocence and natural morality. After seeing the sites of a fallen world, she manages to become a clandestine hero to save other minors from the sure fate of slow imprisonment into the economics of adulthood. We finally see that her only power left is her very dangerous fire within. This book is an excellent commentary on young adult life in an America of broken institutions.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Introspective, July 19, 2009
This review is from: Rose of No Man's Land (Paperback)
What starts out as a coming-of-age young adult novel turns into a life-changing love story that leaves the reader with more questions than it answers. Michelle Tea writes an excellent book that uncovers a wide-range of female characters and psychologies that explore a world seemingly against them.

Tea also examines the effects of class differences, yet veils her more serious themes with an entertaining plot and fast-moving story. Just when the story seems to become predictable, a new twist takes the characters in new directions.

Rose of No Man's Land takes a simple casts of people and explores their unique perspectives, forming a novel that turns itself into an introspective, yet entertaining, reading experience.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Ravishing Onslaught of Words, April 12, 2009
A ravishing onslaught of words shot through with brilliance and a sensitive, careful crafting of a voice. The going gets a little patchy on occasion, and suddenly Michelle Tea, the author, supersedes the narrator she has created, and we are captive as she lectures on, for example, the evils of television, declaring clumsily that it has stolen her soul. Despite these lapses into unacknowledged authorial intrusions, the voice is still quite convincing and the story gripping from beginning to end. The social comment is also not necessarily unwelcome, just not always befitting of a sheltered ninth-grade girl from a small town. The book is also genuinely funny and crammed with scores of laugh-out-loud moments and ecstatic strings of words.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "After high school comes life. Don't ask me what I'm supposed to do with it.", April 29, 2007
This review is from: Rose of No Man's Land (Paperback)
Tea is spot-on at getting inside the head and life of fourteen-year-old Trisha, aimless, frustrated, and rather trashy resident of a decaying Massachusetts mill town. Her hypochondriac mother never leaves the sofa except to dig her welfare checks out of the mail, her relentlessly optimistic older sister is a graduated hairdresser whose goal is being selected by a reality TV show, and her view of the world is filtered through the local mall -- where, with the assistance of her sister's Olympics-level lies, she manages to get a job at the most popular teen clothing store. Until she's fired before lunch the first day. But all this is a character-establishing lead-in to Trisha's discovery of Rose, a scrawny, fearless, adventuresome girl with a lesbian mother and a cigarette voice. The relationship between the two -- established within hours of their introduction and apparently played out before the next morning -- will have evangelical parents screaming to their local library about the "homosexual agenda," but, hey: This is life. The author also has an ear for sardonic description (a vodka/energy drink combo?) and an eye for painting character portraits that come to life. Don't worry about the putative morality these girls don't much subscribe to -- just enjoy the book. It's a messy, questing coming-of-age you won't soon forget.
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Rose of No Man's Land
Rose of No Man's Land by Michelle Tea (Paperback - February 5, 2007)
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