- Hardcover: 432 pages
- Publisher: Doubleday; 1st edition (April 1, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385484003
- ISBN-13: 978-0385484008
- Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,000,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Bitch Hardcover – April 1, 1998
Elizabeth Wurtzel, an ex-rock critic for The New Yorker, won controversial fame with her bestselling 1994 memoir Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America, which described how Prozac saved the precocious Harvard grad from suicide. Her second book, Bitch is a celebration of the defiant, rock & roll spirit of self-destructive women through the ages: Delilah, Amy Fisher, Princess Di, and hundreds more (including the awesomely reckless Wurtzel). There is no comprehensible central line of argument, perhaps because the author did her exhaustive research and writing on a speedy Kerouacesque drug binge that, by her own admission, sent her to rehab upon the book's conclusion. But Wurtzel has the remains of a fine mind: her insights are often sharp, sometimes bitchy, and always shameless as she zooms in a very few pages from The Oresteia to O.J. to her first crush on a fictional character (Heathcliff) to Jim Thompson's The Killer Inside Me, Richard Pryor, Chrissie Hynde, Leaving Las Vegas, Gone with the Wind, Sylvia Plath's "Daddy," Schindler's List, Oliver!, Carousel, and Andrea Dworkin. Most pop culture pundits incline to grandiose blather, but Wurtzel is punchy, and her quotes are more often apt than pretentious. Bitch is like a Mr. Toad's Wild Ride in a library, with frequent rampages through the film and music archives. Like rock music, Wurtzel's prose style lives for the moment. She glories in breaking rules to bits, is never giddier than when she's saying something shocking, and apparently has no moral code except self-expression--with the attitude volume knob cranked up to 11. --Tim Appelo
From Library Journal
There is little praise for women in Wurtzel's hyperbolic rant about "bad girls" and their relationship to Western society. Indeed, hip turns of phrase frequently replace logic in this often smug and overwritten screed. In her defense, Wurtzel (Prozac Nation, LJ 8/94) has taken on a huge project, and every now and again she introduces a startling insight about how women manipulate situations to control their lives. Her look at the biblical tale of Samson and Delilah is particularly instructive in elucidating the history of our reaction to the alluringly repulsive femme fatale. Likewise, her presentation of both mythic and real women who flaunt their "pussy power" makes for provocative reading. Nonetheless, nearly a quarter of the book focuses on Nicole Brown Simpson (who few would call a "difficult woman") and is shockingly mean-spirited. While she lambastes the Simpson jury as "just plain stupid," we never learn how she knows what the jury did not: that O.J. killed Nicole. Since she was not in the courtroom, her cavalier dismissal of the verdict rankles and casts doubt on her other arguments. Worse, she seems to believe that violence is endemic to being "crazy in love," and her writing romanticizes the black eye and slapped cheek as proof of passionate involvement. In addition, Wurtzel completely ignores lesbians?an odd omission since the expression of Sapphic love represents a blatant rejection of "good girl" norms?and dismisses the happily single, writing that "it would be easier to eliminate racism or end poverty or cure illiteracy or dethrone Fidel Castro than it would to make girls stop wanting to be brides." Recommended only as catalyst for debate.
-?Eleanor J. Bader, New School for Social Research, New York
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Read between the lines and Wurtzel's idea of feminism is a hot chick who dresses like a prostitute, mistreats others, throws tantrums like a child and otherwise embodies the darkest misogynist fantasies of men. Even Wurtzel acknowledges that this attracts men at their worst, leading to loveless, mutually destructive relationships - but it makes you cool, tragic and popular!! Be warned that her advice isn't for everyone, however: Nicole Simpson rates higher on Wurtzel's "Flattering Projection of Myself" scale than Gertrude Stein or Eleanor Roosevelt, for instance, because she was inherently superior. I mean, duh! Nicole was *way* hotter than Stein!! I think we all agree that the ability to inspire a man to camouflage his lap topology with a strategically-placed briefcase is the sole measure of a woman's worth, right? File me under Feminism!
Wurtzel borrowed her book's title from an essay by Ron Rosenbaum. The cover photo was her publisher's idea, and she just went along with it. She uses the word "youthquaker" an average of four times per chapter. But perhaps the best summary of this book comes from an excerpt from her interview on National Public Radio shortly after publication:
Random Caller: Hello. I just want to say that I find it deeply offensive that your publisher and this radio network are presenting you as the voice of feminism, apparently on the merits of your appearance and connections.Read more ›
*that the book did not follow any sort of train of thought. Even though it was broken up into five or six essays, she would go from one person to the next so quickly, you don't even know she was talking about a different person. I skipped most of the stuff on Delilah, the character showed up on occasion throughout 2-3 of the essays, and sometimes stayed for pages. I wasn't interested in it, and the author probably should have just written a whole essay on her. Apparently, this book was written on some kind of speed, which makes sense, but couldn't it have been cut down a little? Or, at least, molded into something readable? Maybe its supposed to fit with the running theme: "Bad girls: young, beautiful, and on drugs." Which leads me to the next thought...
*What is her obsession with beauty? It seems like every woman she mentions is somehow tragically beautiful.. and these are the women who are bi#$%#s, the "difficult" women... how she says: "I am still pretty. I still have time to work out my marital status." <---What is that about? As if the only people who are married are good looking? Since when is marriage about "looks" anyway? or she also says.."even worse, it seems inevitable that there will come a time when I won't look good, when men will stop flirting with me, when this freedom sh#$ will start to feel more like free-falling. Will I know? Will I become pathetic?" No, you will just have to win people over by personality for a change! I just don't understand the superficial attitude for someone who is supposed to be a feminist. I have known women who are not great beauties, but everywhere they go, men fall in love with them. Once again, love is not about outside beauty.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Elizabeth Wurtzel is an excellent author. She takes proper ownership of the word Bitch, which is so often used to describe an assertive female. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Anissa Daniel
1.75 self centered and I only to be destructive and attract destructive men and that is what life is about Stars
(0. Read more
I am sad to say I did not enjoy this book at all. It was nothing like Prozac Nation. This book is like a college essay about women in books or history or the media at that time... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Pinky
Came completely falling apart. Pages ripped torn binding missing an entire cheaper and pages torn and shoved in the book.Published on March 5, 2014 by Britni Ayn
The second book by the incredibly talented and intriguing Elizabeth Wurtzel is about the most difficult women of the past and present, and how they were treated. Read morePublished on September 22, 2013 by Janet Morris
...to quote from a familiar bumper-sticker. Elizabeth Wurtzel wrote this staccato tour-de-force of American popular culture, with a feminist slant, as the last millennium was... Read morePublished on April 5, 2013 by John P. Jones III
I wanted to like this, and I had high hopes for it after Prozac Nation (which I'm pretty sure a number of depressed teenage girls have adopted as their holy book). Read morePublished on February 15, 2013 by Sara287