- Audio CD
- Publisher: Brilliance Audio; Unabridged edition (August 28, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1441812555
- ISBN-13: 978-1441812551
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.4 x 7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 77 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,524,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Local Girls Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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More than a collection of short stories, yet not quite a novel, Local Girls occupies an undefined territory between these two forms. The local girls in question are Gretel Samuelson, her best friend, Jill, her mother, Franny, and Franny's cousin Margot--four characters who weave in and out of each of the 15 related stories that chronicle the rocky years of Gretel's adolescence. That hers will be a tough row to hoe is immediately apparent in the first story, "Dear Diary," in which Alice Hoffman introduces the Samuelson family just as they are being swallowed up by the fissures that have cracked them apart. "Long before the plane touched down in Miami we could hear our parents arguing," Gretel tells us of a family vacation to Florida; "and at the hotel room they locked themselves in their room. If you ask me, working so hard at being married can backfire." It is the end of the marriage that has lasting ramifications, however, as we discover in later stories: Gretel's brilliant older brother, Jason, becomes a drug addict; their mother must battle cancer alone; and Gretel becomes involved in a destructive relationship with a drug dealer. All pretty depressing plot points, to be sure, yet Hoffman's luminous prose combined with Gretel's tart and funny perspective keeps the reader eagerly turning the pages until the very end.
In fact, Gretel and her family and friends are so compelling, so endearing, that the reader wishes Hoffman had chosen to give the Samuelsons a novel instead of this series of stories. In reading about Jason's descent from A student with an acceptance letter from Harvard to working in the produce section at the local supermarket and shooting heroin, for example, one can't help but feel that a lot of his motivations happen between stories; and Gretel's difficult relationship (or lack thereof) with her father and new stepmother functions mainly as a plot device, leaving the reader wanting so much more. And yet, if one is to judge the success of a book by the reader's reluctance to be done with it, then Local Girls is successful, for Hoffman has created a world so enticing that one is willing to overlook the minor flaws. At the end of the title story, as the now-grown Gretel and Jill discuss two teenage girls in the neighborhood who recently committed suicide, Jill remarks: "They should have just waited. That's all they had to do. They would have grown up and everything would have been all right." The same might be said of reading Local Girls. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Hoffman's chosen form of a novelistic group of short storiesAall of which share the same family charactersAlends itself nicely to the abridged audio format, in which the fragmentation seems a willful form of stylized narration. The audio's producers have augmented this effect: two narrators, the airy Merlington and the pragmatic Vigesaa, play off against each other in tone as they trade stories. In the opener, Gretel Samuelson tells of her family's troubles in confidential, diarylike schoolgirl terms. In later offerings, omniscient descriptions are given of mother Franny's fight against cancer and brother Jason's disintegration as a heroin addict. Though dysfunctional family fiction seems standard fare these days, Hoffman's highly individual knack for creating a sense of specific atmosphere is uncanny and unique, a quality that translates especially well in spoken form. Based on the 1999 Putnam hardcover.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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This collection of related stories with alternating narrators was wonderful and forced me to use my imagination to figure out what went on between the stories and think about the details that Hoffman had left out. I would have loved to have read more about this family, but perhaps the author intended to leave us wondering.
The strong women in this book overshadow the weak men in every way. Gretel's father, her brother, and Sonny offer no support to the women in the book. Gretel endures and triumphs, mostly on her own....a perfect example of that saying "what does not kill you will make you strong"..
Like all of Hoffman's books, this was an emotionally moving story but with a few touches (fewer than usual) of her magical realism. And, as usual, the language is PURE magic!