Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Book Review -- Girl Land by Caitlin Flanagan

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books; 1 edition (January 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316065986
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316065986
  • Buy now at Amazon for only $16.61.


Caitlin Flanagan's essays about marriage, sex, and families have sparked national debates. Now she turns her attention to girls: the biological and cultural milestones for girls today, and how they shape a girl's sense of herself.

The transition from girl to woman is an experience that has changed radically over the generations: everything from how a girl learns about her period to how she expects to be treated by boys and men. Girls today observe these passages very differently, and yet the landmarks themselves have remained remarkably constant-proof, Flanagan believes, of their significance. In a world where protections of girls' privacy and personal freedom seem to disappear every day, the ultimate challenge modern parents face is finding a way to defend both.

Caitlin Flanagan's GIRL LAND is perfect for moms revisiting their childhoods and moms whose daughters have or will experience the same life stages, recounted in Flanagan’s frank, provocative, and undeniably womanist voice.

My Thoughts:
I first became familiar with the author, after reading online forums about how she likes to stir up controversy with her usual one-sided views on topics.  I had to see for myself how she was as an author, as I know that many people's comments can be twisted.  But, after reading half of the book, I had to put it down, as it was hard to digest Caitlin's one-sides views on how most girls are promiscuous. She liked to put all girls into one category, like her thoughts on the prom, and how girls dress in flashy/risque clothes, and then bring a change of clothes for afterwards, inferring that they would have sex with their date.  Not all girls go to prom, and I remember when I went, I went with a bunch of girlfriends, and no one left and lost their virginity that night.  

I guess you have to keep an open mind when reading this book, but with two young girls at home, I was turned off by what I was reading.  Have you read this book, or other books by Caitlin Flanagan?  If so, what did you think?  Of the reviews I have read online for this book, it is split down the middle, with fans and those like me, who didn't enjoy it.

About the Author: 


Caitlin Flanagan is a former high school teacher who became a writer; she has been on staff at The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and the Wall Street Journal. A winner of the National Magazine Award, she has also written for Time, O, The Oprah Magazine, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times. Her work has been widely anthologized in, among other publications, The Best American Essays and The Best American Magazine Writingseries. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two sons.

Disclosure:  I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.

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