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Blueprints for Building Better Girls: Fiction Hardcover – September 6, 2011
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“A hilarious, poignant achievement. . . . Schappell has an exceptional gift for bringing a vibrant, irresistible group of characters to life, making Blueprints a positively addictive read.” —Meredith Maran, People (4 stars)
“The women in Elissa Schappell's new story collection ought to come with a warning label. Danger: Contents under pressure. Emotionally sensitive compounds may be present. Toxic sentiments could be released if disturbed or shaken. . . . Keep hands out of reach at all times, because also: These women bite. . . . Schappell’s stories acutely evoke the disorientation induced in women by our culture’s barrage of mixed messages . . . . [Schappell] is a diva of the encapsulating phrase, capable of conveying a Pandora’s box of feeling in a single line.” —Jennifer B. McDonald, The New York Times Book Review
“Darkly funny. . . As distinctive and tart as the cherry on its cover, the stories have a comedic touch and ironic edge, softened by moments of memorable tenderness.” —Elizabeth Taylor, "Editor's Choice", Chicago Tribune
“Electrifyingly alive, funny, and thrillingly honest. You know these women, right down to the way they like their coffee. Schappell is an effortless stylist." —Caroline Leavitt, The Boston Globe
“Memorable . . . seductive . . . Schappell’s commanding, honest prose taps into a deeper sense of story that promises to resonate with many readers.” —S. Kirk Walsh, San Francisco Chronicle
“Schappell’s stories read like snapshots—capturing precise moments from a woman’s life from a distinct perspective. Considered together, Blueprints for Building Better Girls is a treasured photo album.” —Bookpage
“Despite the talent for arch comedy that Schappell and her characters share, the tragic dimension of each story sears the heart." —Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“Schappell…creates wise, sexy, funny, and fathoms-deep tales of dire miscommunication.” —Booklist
“This is brave stuff. I learned things reading this book. Hilarious and heartbreaking at the very same time, these mothers, daughters, wives are all struggling to be honest with themselves—and we get the gift of Schappell being honest with us. These characters are poignant, searing, memorable.” —Elizabeth Strout, author of Olive Kitteridge
"Like many American women, Elissa Schappell’s characters live in that zone where toughness and vulnerability overlap. In this remarkable, deeply engaging collection of stories, Schappell introduces us to a wide variety of female characters, from reckless teenagers to rueful middle-aged moms, and asks us to ponder the mystery of how those girls became these women.” —Tom Perrotta, author of Little Children
About the Author
Elissa Schappell is the author of Blueprints for Building Better Girls and Use Me. She is a contributing editor and the Hot Type book columnist at Vanity Fair, a former senior editor of The Paris Review, and cofounder and now editor-at-large of Tin House magazine. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.
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This book of short intertwined short stories is about all female coming of age as well as early motherhood. The title is sarcastic and cynical. I doubt if the mothers of any of the girls mentioned in this collection of stories were raised by mothers who had Blueprints for Building Better Girls. If anything, quite the opposite. There is a lot of irony here and also a lot of sadness, which is the way of life for modern females trying to live through college and betrayals, young motherhood, and beginning a career. Great book of short stories all about young women if you like that sort of thing. I highly recommend it.
Blueprints for Building Better Girls is the book I have been looking to read all summer. Not light and breezy, but real and touching. And very engaging. The stories share the details about women and their relationships with men, with their mothers, with their friends... The author may not tell you how the story ends, but sometimes that is best.
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to live the abstract forcing justification to live the lie.