Buy new:
List Price: $16.00 Details
Save: $8.02 (50%)
$3.99 delivery October 25 - 29. Details
Or fastest delivery October 21 - 26. Details
Only 5 left in stock - order soon.
As an alternative, the Kindle eBook is available now and can be read on any device with the free Kindle app. Want to listen? Try Audible.
$$7.98 () Includes selected options. Includes initial monthly payment and selected options. Details
Initial payment breakdown
Shipping cost, delivery date, and order total (including tax) shown at checkout.
Your transaction is secure
We work hard to protect your security and privacy. Our payment security system encrypts your information during transmission. We don’t share your credit card details with third-party sellers, and we don’t sell your information to others. Learn more
Ships from
Sold by
Ships from
Return policy: Extended holiday return window till Jan 31, 2022
For the 2021 holiday season, returnable items purchased between October 1 and December 31 can be returned until January 31, 2022. You may receive a partial or no refund on used, damaged or materially different returns.
1-Click ordering is not available for this item.
Other Sellers on Amazon
FREE Shipping
Get free shipping
Free shipping within the U.S. when you order $25.00 of eligible items shipped by Amazon.
Or get faster shipping on this item starting at $5.99 . (Prices may vary for AK and HI.)
Learn more about free shipping
on orders over $25.00 shipped by Amazon.
Sold by: Booksoul
Sold by: Booksoul
(9 ratings)
100% positive
Only 1 left in stock - order soon.
Shipping rates and Return policy
+ $3.99 shipping
Sold by: philbence
Sold by: philbence
(2061 ratings)
96% positive over last 12 months
Only 1 left in stock - order soon.
Shipping rates and Return policy
+ $12.15 shipping
Sold by: Cost-Cutters-R-US
Sold by: Cost-Cutters-R-US
(828 ratings)
86% positive over last 12 months
In stock.
Usually ships within 3 to 4 days.
Shipping rates and Return policy
Loading your book clubs
There was a problem loading your book clubs. Please try again.
Not in a club? Learn more
Amazon book clubs early access

Join or create book clubs

Choose books together

Track your books
Bring your club to Amazon Book Clubs, start a new book club and invite your friends to join, or find a club that’s right for you for free.

Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Learn more

Read instantly on your browser with Kindle Cloud Reader.

Using your mobile phone camera - scan the code below and download the Kindle app.

QR code to download the Kindle App

Enter your mobile phone or email address

Processing your request...

By pressing "Send link," you agree to Amazon's Conditions of Use.

You consent to receive an automated text message from or on behalf of Amazon about the Kindle App at your mobile number above. Consent is not a condition of any purchase. Message & data rates may apply.

Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

Follow the Author

Something went wrong. Please try your request again later.

White Girls Paperback – August 5, 2014

4.2 out of 5 stars 154 ratings

New from Used from
Paperback, August 5, 2014
$7.96 $3.01
Great on Kindle
Great Experience. Great Value.
iphone with kindle app
Putting our best book forward
Each Great on Kindle book offers a great reading experience, at a better value than print to keep your wallet happy.

Explore your book, then jump right back to where you left off with Page Flip.

View high quality images that let you zoom in to take a closer look.

Enjoy features only possible in digital – start reading right away, carry your library with you, adjust the font, create shareable notes and highlights, and more.

Discover additional details about the events, people, and places in your book, with Wikipedia integration.

Get the free Kindle app: Link to the kindle app page Link to the kindle app page
Enjoy a great reading experience when you buy the Kindle edition of this book. Learn more about Great on Kindle, available in select categories.

Enhance your purchase

"Have You Seen Luis Velez?" by Catherine Ryan Hyde
New York Times bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde brings heartwarming authenticity to the story of two strangers who find that kindness is a powerful antidote to fear.| Learn more

Frequently bought together

  • White Girls
  • +
  • Pulphead
  • +
  • Feel Free: Essays
Total price:
To see our price, add these items to your cart.
Some of these items ship sooner than the others.
Choose items to buy together.

Editorial Reviews


One of the A.V. Club's Favorite Books of the Year.

Named one of Kirkus' Best Books of 2013

“I read Als not only because he is utterly extraordinary, which he is, but for the reason one is often drawn to the best writers—because one has a sense that one's life might depend on them. White Girls is a book, a dream, an enemy, a friend, and, yes, the read of the year.”
—Junot Díaz

"Hilton Als’s White Girls gave me a gift very few books do: of hearing a voice that’s new, that comes as if from a different room. A nonsensical thing to say in one sense: he’s been writing brilliantly and visibly for almost 20 years. But there’s something about the work in this book. It's a leap forward not merely for Als as a writer but for the peculiar American genre of culture-crit-as-autobiography. Its bravery lies in a set refusal to allow itself all sorts of illusions—about race, about sex, about American art—and the subtlety of its thinking is wedded maypole-fashion to a real confessional lyricism. In the way Anthony Heilbut's recent Fan Who Knew Too Much taught me that I and everyone else I knew had a lot of black gay man in us, Als taught me that I have a lot of white girl in me, too, and so does he. And so do you, is where it gets interesting. If you think that sounds like another blurb-job or post-postmodern twaddle, I defy you to read this book and come away with a mind unchanged." —John Jeremiah Sullivan, author of Pulphead

“Hilton Als takes the reader on a wild ride through the complex, often rough, terrain of art, music, sexuality, race. What he writes—especially about Michael Jackson, Eminem, Louise Brooks, Richard Pryor, Gone With the Wind—is riveting.”—Elaine Pagels

"A comprehensive and utterly lovely collection of one of the best writers around." —Boston Globe

"Only Als (theater critic, The New Yorker; The Women) could write about ringworm—“my cruddy friend,” “a dark flower,” “an erotic ‘pain’ I could not wait to get my hands on”—and make it sound good. His first book since 1998 contains 13 pieces, most of them previously published, in which he meanders through fiction, criticism, and memoir along the axes of race, gender, and sexuality. He touches on aspects of his own life and on various cultural figures: Truman Capote, Flannery O’Connor, Malcolm X, Eminem, Michael Jackson, André Leon Talley, Louise Brooks, and Richard Pryor, among others—all examined as “white girls” or in relation to them. (Als asks in “Tristes Tropiques,” “How could one be a white girl and hate it?”) On writing about pictures of lynching victims, he admits, “I have become a cliché” by answering white America’s request to “Tell me about yourself, meaning, Tell me how you’ve suffered. Isn’t that what you people do? Suffer nobly, even poetically sometimes? Doesn’t suffering define you?” VERDICT Suffering does not define Als; his art—loping, loopy, yet astonishingly precise language—does. This is a book that readers will want to spend the rest of their lives with: a searching, insistent, and thoroughly wise collection." —Molly McArdle, Library Journal (Starred Review)

"With roots in Barbados and Brooklyn and a deep immersion in the endless identity issues attendant upon being a gay man of color, bold, versatile critic and New Yorker staff writer Als continues the inquiry he launched in his first book, The Women, (1996). Here’s a clue to the layered and spiked complexities of this essay collection: one of the 'white girls' Als portrays is Truman Capote, another is Michael Jackson as well as Flannery O’Connor and silent film star Louise Brooks. Jennifer Lee, Richard Pryor’s widow, appears in Als’ bristling portrait of the brilliant performer. He also portrays with fresh insight Marshall Mathers III, that is, Eminem. Als is pyrotechnic, lifting off the page in a blast of stinging light and concussive booms that somehow coalesce into profound cultural and psychological illuminations. More covertly scorching is the long, wrenching essay 'Tristes Tropiques,' an exploration of love and friendship, fear and fascination during the AIDS epidemic. Whether his subject is his mother, himself, or seminal artists, Als is a fine, piercing observer and interpreter, a writer of lashing exactitude and veracity." —Donna Seaman, Booklist

“It’s hard to know what to say about White Girls, by Hilton Als. These essays defy categorization. They are unwieldy, and meandering and as self-indulgent as they are intriguing. In the first, “Tristes Tropiques,” Als ruminates on his significant relationships with men, and their relationships with men, and the performance of friendship and interracial and intraracial dynamics. Of his friendship with SL, he says, “In short, we were not your standard Negro story, or usual Negro story. We did not feel isolated because we were colored. We did not want to join the larger world through violence or manipulation. We were not interested in the sentimental tale that’s attached itself to the Negro male body by now: the embodiment of isolation. We had each other, another kind of story worth telling.” That might describe this entire collection—not your standard Negro story. Als not only looks inward. His essays discuss Truman Capote, Flannery O’Connor, Michael Jackson and much more. As a whole, the book is an interrogation of blackness and white womanhood. The prose is both intelligent and inscrutable. The essay “Gone With the Wind” is a masterpiece. This was a book I hated as much as I loved it for the incisive cultural criticism that has made me question nearly everything.” —Roxane Gay, The Nation

"Cultural critic Hilton Als might have written the essay collection of the year with this month’s White Girls (McSweeney’s), if indeed it were merely a book of essays. Instead, each piece explores so many genres—melding fiction with fact, the deeply personal to the staid journalistic profile—that Als isn’t so much playing multiples chords at once as multiple pianos. The book opens with a piece called “Tristes Tropiques”—the title suggesting a moody emotional travelogue—that follows the writer through his own love and losses and sets up the many ruptures and reconfigurations of identity to the point that even the titular taxonomy of “white girls” eventually comes to describe a black, male lover or Truman Capote or so many cinematic, streetwise women searching for their place. Eminem, Flannery O’Connor, Richard Pryor, lynching photographs, André Leon Talley—each serves as a separate starting point on an authorial trek to undo the conventional read for a much more complicated set of possibilities. Als has created a work of art." —Christopher Bollen, Interview Magazine

"[E]verything Als is saying is a vivid, bright truth"—Lambda Literary

"Brilliant."––NY Journal of Books

"Brilliant lunacy."––Bookforum

"Als is one of the most consistently unpredictable and surprising essayists out there, an author who confounds our expectations virtually every time he writes." —Los Angeles Times

"Effortless, honest and fearless"––Rich Benjamin, The New York Times Book Review

"Hilton Als’s White Girls (McSweeney’s)—has reached out and grabbed me by my lapels." —Library Journal

"Als’ work is so much more than simply writing about being black or gay or smart. It’s about being human." —Kirkus (Starred Review)

"Mesmerizing." —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"Nothing short of masterful." —HTML Giant

"We all have a little white girl inside us, some of us more than others. That might sound like a joke, but New Yorker critic Hilton Als will make you believe it's true. He begins his captivating new book, White Girls, by examining the role white girls played in his life as a gay black man living in New York during the early years of AIDS. Then, in a series of essays, he claims that a diverse range of historical figures — Richard Pryor, Malcolm X, Michael Jackson, even actual white women like Flannery O'Connor — were shaped by their relationships or identification with white girls. There's no overarching manifesto: 'White girlness' isn't presented as good or bad; it means something different to each of his subjects. But his theories are so original they'll make you think differently about race and gender whether you're a white girl or not.

White Girls' arguments don't always work. For example, Als plays Freud with Malcolm X and Eminem, insisting that both men needed to reject their white mothers in order to 'marry' their careers. (Huh?) But his willingness to rankle conservatives and liberals alike is thrilling, and his sharper ideas will be debated for years. Take his analysis of Truman Capote's novel Other Voices, Other Rooms, whose cover shows the author posing like a pinup star. At the time, he notes, most female authors posed like men on their dust jackets, hoping to earn male peers' respect. 'Capote became a woman in 1947 just when 'real' women would not or could not,' Als writes. Debatable? Sure. Fascinating? Definitely. Or take the chapter where Als admits to falling for Vivien Leigh in Gone With the Wind. 'I would have made her forget that I was colored...because I knew I could make her love me,' he writes. 'But how do you get people to ignore their own history?' Of course, he knows how to get people to remember their history, and own up to their place within it: write a book about identity that challenges people as much as this one."––Entertainment Weekly

"This book will change you." —Chicago Tribune

"[Als] is a poet on the page, and his insistence on breaking the essay form defines his liberation as a writer." —The Rumpus

"[Hilton] Als interweaves personal revelation with cultural touchstones, sometimes hopping from topic to topic at a breakneck speed, other times examining concepts so strategically and methodically his words become scalpels, flaying open unacknowledged bias, privilege, and conflict where he sees it."
--The A.V. Club

"[Hilton Als] is above all a writer fascinated by people: their little habits and turns of phrase, their multi-layered sexualities, and their unfathomable relationships to each other or, in the case of his famous subjects, to the world." --UTNE

"Mr. Als is a national treasure." —the New York Observer

About the Author

Before working at The New Yorker, Hilton Als was a staff writer for The Village Voice and an editor-at-large at Vibe. He has also written articles for The Nation and collaborated on film scripts for Swoon and Looking for Langston. The winner of writing awards from the New York Association of Black Journalists and the Guggenheim Foundation, he lives in New York City.

Go ahead, give a gift card

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ McSweeney's Publishing; First Trade Paper edition (August 5, 2014)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 300 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 194045025X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1940450254
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.15 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.25 x 0.75 x 8.5 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 out of 5 stars 154 ratings

About the author

Follow authors to get new release updates, plus improved recommendations.

Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5
154 global ratings
How are ratings calculated?

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on January 20, 2021
Verified Purchase
2 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States on May 22, 2021
Verified Purchase
One person found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States on August 17, 2020
Verified Purchase
One person found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States on October 9, 2017
Verified Purchase
9 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States on February 16, 2014
Verified Purchase
30 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States on February 10, 2018
Verified Purchase
3 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States on January 29, 2014
Verified Purchase
15 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States on September 28, 2015
Verified Purchase
5 people found this helpful
Report abuse

Top reviews from other countries

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant collection
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 16, 2018
Verified Purchase
Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A poignant read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 20, 2020
Verified Purchase
5.0 out of 5 stars Un viaggio nel Black Live Matter e non solo
Reviewed in Italy on September 7, 2021
Verified Purchase
Franz K.
5.0 out of 5 stars Bestes Buch seit langem…
Reviewed in Germany on May 6, 2018
Verified Purchase
Amazon Kunde
5.0 out of 5 stars White Girls
Reviewed in Germany on April 3, 2020
Verified Purchase