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Typical Girls: New Stories by Smart Women Paperback – June 12, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

By and large the contributors to this anthology are hipsters first, writers second. The writer bios include such details as "played a lead role as a dominatrix" and "had a story optioned for the screen by Madonna." Could an "unhip" girl have made it into Typical Girls? Probably not, and since most good writers are dorky hermits, this collection definitely reads like amateur night. A story called "Saved," cowritten by Poppy Z. Brite and Christa Faust, contains this howler of a line: "Billy felt an orgasm stalking him." There are lots of warmed-over '80s sex shockers--Mary Gaitskill without the poetic undertow. Nevertheless there are some good moments: Throwing Muses singer Kristen Hersh offers something between a journal entry and a manifesto with "The Snowballing of Alt.Rock." It's a nice, chatty piece you wouldn't find in either a music magazine or a literary journal. The standout is Guinevere Turner's "Cookie and Me." Turner cowrote the film Go Fish, and she's a true writer's writer, with a warm, ironic, and hopeful vision. "Cookie and Me" is the story of a drunken cab ride where the narrator tries to pick up on the driver, only to find later that the whole thing was filmed, MTV Real World-style, and is being shown over and over on television. The story keeps reflecting back on itself, the girl in the cab becomes the girl on television, someone entirely alien. Turner knows what she's doing and where she is going. Among all the cool kids, she's the one the dorks can trust. --Emily White

From Publishers Weekly

English pop-culture commentator Corrigans anthology compiles the work of women writers, artists and musicians hailing from both sides of the Atlantic, who have their fingers on the pulse of late-90s feminist consciousness. Quirky, confident and convincing, these varied entries reflect the younger generation of feminisms riot-grrl brand of triumphant irreverence and sardonic transgressiveness, still insistent on self-determined destinies. Tales set in the U.K. often catch the reader off guard with sudden changes in culturally specific vernacular, and contrast with those by American novelists, who include Jennifer Belle (Going Down), Poppy Z. Brite (Courtney Love: The Real Story) and Guinevere Turner (Go Fish). While the subjects range from conventional tales of overweight school girls (The Incredible Hulk) and a scorned lover (Book of Nick) to the psychedelic (Tuberama), there is a strong common thread of self-aware bravado in selections from both countries. The most arresting piece, Saved, coauthored by Brite and Christa Faust, is a grisly fictional account of brutality that mirrors the daily news, without the comforting distance: Two bodies came into the city morgue... Both were unidentified, the faces gone to pulp and bone meal. Another story juxtaposes sex scenes between a man and his faithful girlfriend, with her repeated trips to the VD clinic. After encountering the range of humiliation, horror, humor and tenderness represented here, readers may well ask the same question as the mortified main character in Turners hilarious Cookie and Me, who is exposed on television in the act of seducing a cab driver: I dont know what I was supposed to learn from this experience, except maybe that anything can happen and nothing is sacred....
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (June 12, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312206798
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312206796
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,800,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
Corrigan has chosen a great selection of funky, post-punk rock writing. I especially loved the alt rock metaphor from Kristen Hersch and Emily Perkins woeful tale of weight problems and friendlessness. A ripping good read - perfect for a bus journey to a new city.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Burton on December 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
This obviously isn't your typical book of short stories by hip women. Typical Girls has short stories written by Guinevere Turner (actress in Go Fish), Poppy Z. Brite (the goth girl's Anne Rice), and Kristin Hirsh (former Throwing Muses singer). So get ready for stories with a rock-n-roll feminist touch.(...)
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
Susan Corrigan (ed.), Typical Girls: New Stories by Smart Women (St. Martin's, 1997)
Here we have all the hard evidence we need that no matter how smart people may be, that doesn't mean they can write good stories.
I picked this one up because it contained a story by Poppy Z. Brite. (It's "Saved," her collaboration with Christa Faust, which you can also find in the infinitely superior collection Are You Loathsome Tonight?.) That one is, of course, excellent. A few of the others in here are also worth your time. The rest of them are either harping on the same subjects you expect or simply quite badly written. In other words, every story here is loaded with potential, and most of them don't realize it. The collection's better authors are too stuck in their one-trick pony mode to turn out a decent story, the bad authors have fantastic ideas and don't have the wherewithal to realize them. (One almost thinks this should have been a book of collaborations a la Brite and Faust; when retread ideas meet bad writing, though, as in the case of Amy Lame's story, one wonders why it wasn't left on the cutting room floor.)
Pick it up for the Brite story if you're unfamiliar with her stuff and want to see if she's the kind of author you enjoy. Too much of the rest, though, isn't worth your time. **
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
I got to the second story in this anthology and stopped short (therefore should probably not be writing a review). The story "Saved" is probably one of the most unecessary pieces of writing I have ever read. How does a gun toting killer (male) brutally killing a transvestite in a hotel room relate in any way to the feminist zeitgeist??? It made me sick. The story "Story of Nick" is alright, better, but feels equally as meaningless. I don't know. I guess I recommend that one simply read the morning paper for such depressing accounts of modern female life. Only 50 cents.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
well...i loved all the stories in this book, bar "tuberama"...but it left me with the question "why are all these brilliant writers letting themselves be put into the feminist pigeon hole? so ignore the introduction if you will, it'll only put you in a bad mood...the stories are great, it is irrelevant that the ed. puts the feminist hard word on in the beginning. ignore it...
stand out stories: 'saved' by Poppy Z. Brite & Christa Faust, 'having myself a time' by josie kimber amog the rest. good showcase of talented writers, who just happen to be very very smart women
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