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The New Girls Paperback – Bargain Price, May 10, 1996
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“It’s funny without sacrificing intelligence, intelligent without being pretentious. It’s all-around good reading.” (Boston Globe )
“Gutcheon has an impeccable fix on time, place, and native customs — and…pathos of a vanished youth.” (Kirkus Reviews )
“This is the story of those crucial relationships and of a harrowing loss of innocence.” (Library Journal )
“The author moves in and knows the world about which she writes. Good entertaining reading.” (Pensacola News )
About the Author
Beth Gutcheon is the critically acclaimed author of eight previous novels: The New Girls, Still Missing, Domestic Pleasures, Saying Grace, Five Fortunes, More Than You Know, Leeway Cottage, and Good-bye and Amen. She is the writer of several film scripts, including the Academy Award nominee The Children of Theatre Street. She lives in New York City.
Top Customer Reviews
The book opens with four of the five girls back at their boarding school for a reunion. IN the opening chapter, it is revealed that one of the five has committed suicide. For the rest of the novel, you search for clues on why it happened--what drove her to it? YOu also search for clues on what will become of these young women. Unfortunately, the drama doesn't really pay off--you see the girls as adults again the in the final chapter, but it doesn't tell you much about either of these questions.
Having followed these girls throughout the book, it would be more interesting to see what became of them than to detail each and every last exploit of their boarding school years. Perhaps the book should have been longer and done that.
This is a good book, but unlike "Saying Grace," "Five Fortunes," and "Still Missing," it isn't a great one.
Some storylines are quite lovely; I am particularly fond of one involving one of the girls, Jenny, who has a brief affair with her teacher. In describing Jenny's feelings, and the teacher's subsequent restraint, the passages are wistful, painful, and wildly romantic. I also enjoyed the descriptions of beach vacations, social dances, and stealing into the woods for cigarettes that are woven through the book. On those occasions, it's a lovely portrayal into the upper-class life of boarding school girls during the sixties. However, if you're looking for a book describing the interplay of the lives of these girls with the outside world at the time (such as the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War) you won't get much of it here.
The story focuses on 5 'New Girls' as they're called, who all went to the very prestigious Mrs. Pratt's School for Girls (a prep school) in the early 60's. The first chapter starts with their 15 year reunion, where we learn one of the girls has killed herself...the rest of the book tells us about each one's experience during their three years as a Pratt Girl, and their path to finding friendships with one another.
I thought the storyline jumped around a little too much. I felt like each girl was a bit incomplete, and wanted more information at a time, instead of the scattered pieces we're given. And there were so many secondary characters that I couldn't keep up. I'd come to a name and have to stop and think about whether or not I was already introduced to this person, or if it's another new character. In my opinion, it probably would have been easier to follow if their had been one less main character, 4 'New Girls' as a opposed to 5. Also, we never find out why the one girl ended up killing herself years later. That was quite a disappointment.
Overall, it was a decent book. I don't think it's for everyone, there's really no climatic point in the story. It's pretty much just an account of the day-to-day life of prep school girls, and their wealthy upbringings. Though it wasn't my favorite, I'll definitely read more from this author, I've read her later stuff and it's much improved.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was ok but I still wouldn't recommend it to anyone. I had read Gutcheon's Leeway Cottage and thoroughly enjoyed it but have not found that enjoyment in most of her other... Read morePublished on May 28, 2014 by Chris M.
The book was a replacement for one I had lost. I just wish the book had arrived earlier than it did.Published on February 19, 2008 by Lisa A. Smerek
Beth Gutcheon knows how to write and she also knows the world of an all-girls private school, where this novel is set. Read morePublished on March 9, 2007 by A. You
This novel reminded me of what it was like to go off to a new school. Muffin wanted so much from herself. She wanted to be the popular, beautiful girl. Read morePublished on September 15, 2005 by Stacy O'Neil
Every spare minute I've had in the past month, I've spent with my nose glued to this coming of age tale. Read morePublished on August 30, 2003 by gingeranne
After being intensely moved by this author's novel More Than You Know, I was gleeful. Aha, a new writer to enjoy! Read morePublished on December 24, 2002 by P. Larkin Hutton
Based on the reviews I read I decided to buy this book, it was a waste of money. This book has five main characters and it's hard to tell what's going on with whom based on how... Read morePublished on October 28, 2001 by Kara Grant
No, no...worse than terrible, it was lazy. This "coming-of-age" novel amounted to little more than a few stick figures plodding (clunky Abercrombies on, of course)... Read morePublished on July 23, 2001
I thought that this novel would consist of more than the day-to-day rituals of an all girls' exclusive school. Read morePublished on April 11, 2001 by L. Allison