Sunday, September 26, 2010

Anthropology of an America Girl by Hilary Thayer Hamann

I heard about this book on NPR. This book first came out in 2003 when Hilary Thayer Hamann self-published it.  Then, recently, it really took off and hit the mainstream press. It is 620 some odd pages and covers some years in the life of Eveline Auerbach, a girl that lives in East Hampton, NY and New York City in the late 70's and early 80's. She is raised by her divorcee, professor mother and sometimes, her father takes part in her upbringing - he lives in New York city after all. During her junior year in high school, she meets and falls in love with Jack. Jack is a rebel in every sense of the word, and is, in particular rebelling against his father, a wealthy man who seems to ruin everything that he touches. When that relationship ends, Evie meets and falls in love with Harrison Rourke during her senior year in high school. Harrison is a substitute drama teacher at her high school who also boxes professionally and has ties to the New Jersey mafia. After spending a magical summer together, Evie and Harrison split up and Evie enrolls at NYU for college.  She also ends up moving in with Mark, a rich stockbroker type who is als very, very slimey and reptilian and just rubs everyone the wrong way. Mark hates Harrison with a passion that is almost unseen in other people.  Evie lives with Mark for three long, unhappy years.

This book was pretty good - I can see why it became popular so quickly. It tells a really good story of a girl whose voice is absolutely authentic and true.  Her opinions regarding relationships - romantic and otherwise - all seem so true. She's also very charming and beguiling, particularly at the beginning of the novel.  We've all been in high school and had relationshps while we're there, so this part is interesting and easily related to. The second part moves a bit more slowly and perhaps tries the patience more so than the first part of the novel. It annoys the reader that she doesn't get herself out of what is obviously a bad situation that is continuously getting worse. 

While this isn't going to be on any prize winning lists, it is an entertaining read that is addictive and distracting. Worth the read for sure.

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