Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Girl Land” as Want to Read:
Girl Land
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Girl Land

2.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  376 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
The acclaimed and provocative book about what girls have lost and gained in the 21st century: "A compelling, convincing case for more parental involvement in girls' lives" (Kirkus Reviews). Caitlin Flanagan's essays have sparked national debate. Here she turns her attention to girls, and how the biological and cultural milestones shape their budding identities. Adolescence ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published February 12th 2013 by Reagan Arthur / Back Bay Books (first published January 1st 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Girl Land, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Girl Land

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,074)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

First of all, this book is a quick, engaging read. I finished it in a single afternoon. It is not academic in tone or content, and the intended audience appears to be parents of adolescent girls or soon-to-be adolescent girls (not quite what I was expecting). I found it incredibly difficult to relate to this book on all but a few points, as it is rife with stereotypes. I don't mean that the book merely describes stereotypes, I mean that
Dec 03, 2013 Alena marked it as i-gave-up  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I won this through First Reads. 30 pages in and I'm already annoyed with the author. Lots of hyperbole: "Every woman I know feels that..." Really? Every woman?
Lee Anne
May 11, 2012 Lee Anne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What I thought this book was going to be: a series of essays about the milestones of puberty (dating, getting your period, losing your virginity) and how the cultural view on them has changed through the years.

What this book actually is: a series of essays in which generalizations are presented as facts, boys are presented as all-id troglodytes out to rape your daughters, and those daughters are introspective, fragile flowers who must be protected from the wolves at the door waiting to ravish th
Feb 07, 2012 Cassandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A few years ago, I was about 24 at the time, I was walking on Lexington Avenue near 85th St, in the middle of the day. I over heard the teenage boy in front of me (couldn't have been more than 14) call the teenage girl next to him several names, including ho,bitch etc. What did she do? Shrug! I was stunned. Needless to say, I stopped the young "gentlemen" asked him to repeat himself and when he refused, told him he may never call women those names again ever! I then turned to the young "lady" an ...more
May 18, 2012 Ikoi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

Seriously, folks- finally, one of my least favorite writer's bullshit essays in one single volume! Her patriarchyftwsquee articles make my ovaries recoil in relentless horror.

If you liked this book, remove me from your friend list (here and on Facebook, Twitter, etc) ASAP. Thanks.

UPDATE: So, I actually tried to pick up this fuckwittery and attempted to read it. Mission abort due to danger of permanent brain damage due to headdesking. I do have a few sugges
Autumn Blues Reviews
Girl Land mostly encompasses Flanagan's spotlight view of affluent girls and women on the west coast and their twisted perceptions due to mainstream Hollywood.

I had mixed feelings about Girl Land and it was certainly not what I expected. Being the youngest daughter of seven children, three others of which were girls, I could relate to her during some instances in Girl Land. For example the catcalls from the boys and at first feelings of confusion then later when I got older sort of missing that
Ashley Moonshoes
I've never read anything by Caitlin Flanagan prior to receiving this book through First Reads and won't bother with her other books or articles in the future. Based on the intriguing cover and blurbs I was expecting a book with insightful and witty essays about girlhood, maybe some critical exploration of current culture and was more than disappointed.

Flanagan's description of girlhood is nostalgic in the worst way and broadly assumes that all girls are insecure and weak and that boys are just
Nov 09, 2014 Tanya rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am not sorry I read Girl Land, I'm furious. While a small part of my brain holds out that I should be impressed that Caitlin Flanagan could get such a book published, the rest of me remembers why I cancelled my subscription to The Atlantic several years ago when Flanagan and her ilk took over its sensibilities. Flanagan is a type I see more and more making policies and spouting advice -- affluent and raised during the turbulent era of the 1970s, scared perhaps by their own freedoms then, they ...more
I know that one of the complaints with this book is that the author is talking about the past. That is what makes this book interesting. It shows how far things have come since when the author was going through "girl land".

I think every woman who has a daughter that is about to turn into a teen needs to read this to refresh her memory of what her teenage years were like for her and how they were when she entered them. Then read the last chapter of this book to see how changed things are now.

I l
Alekz Hannah
Nov 16, 2014 Alekz Hannah rated it did not like it
This was crap.
This is a well written, excellently researched, engaging book on how the lives and expectations of adolescent and teenage girls has changed over the years. By examining major markers in a girls life that generally signal her ascent into womanhood and how those now occur solidly when society still thinks of her as a girl, Flanagan looks at how this can take a toll on girls.

It's definitely a read for those who either have or work with girls regularly. For me it really reminded me how difficult bei
Janet Whalen-Jones
Expecting an historical comparison of various aspects of growing up female in different periods of time, I was disappointed to find a rambling personal memoir. One chapter, designated "Moral Outrages", instead of comparing a variety of parental panics over the decades concentrates on the media created pseudophenomenon of the "rainbow party" (Not LGBT politics)and the author's personal dismay about this topic. This could have been a fascinating social history. It wasn't. Flappers, Anne Frank, Jud ...more
Lauren Donoho
Unquestionably one of the most poorly-researched, poorly-argued, and deeply problematic books about girls that I've ever read - and seriously, there are a lot of sexist books about the mental development of young women, but Flanagan really hits it out of the park in the Sexism World Series here.

I can only link to this blog:, where the most offensive quotations are illustrated with cat photos. It fairly summarizes my feelings about this book.
I first heard about this book from my husband. As the parents of 3 soon to be 4 little girls anything about raising and parenting girls catches our attention. This book caught my husband's attention because the author was being interviewed on NPR. All of the callers were fairly hostile toward her ideas on safely helping teenage girls through to adulthood and the conclusions she ends the book with. Here are a few examples: Make her bedroom an Internet-free zone, Get her father involved in her dat ...more
Ferrall Kat
May 21, 2012 Ferrall Kat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Girl Land" was a thoroughly interesting read: I found Flanagan's opinions on modern girlhood, sex, mass media and female rites of passage to be very insightful and developed. Her narrative style struck the perfect balance between eloquence and fluency - the book's prose hung together in almost uncanny cohesion. Her talent for providing substance with flavor was both refreshing and intriguing, and I plan to read more of Flanagan's work in the future. Also, it was a really quick read, which is al ...more
Jun 28, 2012 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminism
I've been out of the reading loop for a while as social requirements and the presence of a male friend have kept me busy, so it's rather appropriate that this is my first toe-dip back into the world of bookish things. Flanagan presents here something of a survey of the ways in which the transition from girlhood to womanhood have changed over the course of the last century.

This should be interesting and, for the most part, I agree with her overall thesis that the transition if particularly diffi
How do I negative-star a review??
Awful from the word go - chapters of irrelevant Caitlin teen memories, blanket statements thrown out as accepted fact (yes, I'm sure all men with single moms grow up to be sexually predatory and every woman on earth counts adolescence as her most trying time), capped off with the absolute lack of interaction with any current inhabitants of Girl Land (I found no evidence that she spoke to ANY modern-day girls/young women in 'researching' this mess). Never mind tha
Apr 20, 2012 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: females and parents of females
Shelves: nonfiction
I've enjoyed Caitlin Flanagan in the Atlantic and looked forward to this book. She makes some interesting points about the transition of females from "girls" to "adolescents" brought about by both physical changes and cultural norms. Though about 10 years older than Flanagan, I identified with many of her observations. As a mom of two daughters, I constantly worried while reading whether I had given them all the information I should have while growing up. While the book skews toward white, upper ...more
Mar 12, 2012 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since I just had a baby girl I figured I'd get a jump on her teenage years early and read this. It's interesting and makes some clever/insightful points, but then gets weird at the end when the author (who doesn't actually have daughters, just sons) seems to advocate government censorship (?!) as the answer to the problem of girls growing up too fast with too many pressures. She also bases a lot of her observations on "research" from the diary she kept herself as a girl. I was hoping for this to ...more
Sep 12, 2012 Elizabeth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
ugh - I thought this would be an excellent book to read to gather insight into today's teenage girls. I couldn't even get through the first essay on dating. The author begins the essay about dating and how it is different now then it was in the past but then quickly moves onto marital sex and the lack of knowledge that men and women had years ago - huh? what? I thought we were exploring dating? I wanted to throw the book across the room - needless to say I have put the book down in disgust and d ...more
This book was worth a read, though it has some problems. There are some interesting insights and personal stories that will help me on the journey of raising two girls. But the message seems inconsistent and not very useful at times. It's hard for me to say what Flanagan's main point is. Be wary of popular culture & social norms, and try to protect your girls from them. But there's not much you can do, according to Flanagan, outside of keeping the internet out of your kid's room -good luck n ...more
Mmm. Not quite what I'd expected. Reminded me of Locker Room Diaries in terms of how light it was -- definitely wanted more depth. Almost every chapter comes back around to sex (as though that's the crux of girlhood, womanhood, femininity, etc.), and the author tends to speak in sweeping generalisations. Joan Jacobs Brumberg did it better.

But really I'm only bothering to review this because I wanted to note this typo: "In the 1930s the government had a particular incentive to get as many teenage
Laura Watson
Jun 05, 2015 Laura Watson rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: a professor
Caitlin Flanagan's Girl Land is meant to give a snapshot into what it's like to be on the cusp between girlhood and womanhood but somewhere along the line that idea gets buried. I'd heard about this book when I was in college and had been looking for a copy of it. What had I been told? That it was good and that the ideas presented would be great for me to look at considering my field (sociology with a sexuality focus). What I got when I picked up the book was something that kept me bored during ...more
Feb 11, 2012 Karl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Women are different from men. Don't let your teenage daughter surf porn in her room. There, that might save someone a few hours of reading. I was hoping for something a bit more insightful. But I'm not a woman, so I'm sure I'm missing the point. I guess I was expecting more of an examination of the pressures of growing up in todays world, and less of a historical romp of what Prom was like in the 20s.
Jul 21, 2014 Jeanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had high hopes for this book, but it really left me feeling irritated. I think what it came down to is that I felt no connection to Flanagan's descriptions of the journey from childhood to adulthood in this book, not in my own childhood and not as the parent of a daughter in the midwest. (Perhaps we are just lucky to avoid Pimps and Ho's parties for after prom in this area.) When she admits in the end that she has sons, no daughters, I guess that really solidified for me that this book lacked ...more
Mar 10, 2014 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Haters gonna hate.
There are a lot of negative even nasty reviews of this book, which is sad. Flanagan has some unusual and maybe not great ideas at the end about how to change some of the negative aspects of female adolescence/early adulthood. But that's the last 20 pages. The rest of the book, her identification of the issues and description of the problems/changes over the last hundred years is very well written and persuasive.
Men and women/boys and girls are different. That may be biological
Bonnie Morse
Kind of sickening. The style of writing reminds me of Christian devotionals, which is fitting as the author fetishizes female adolescence as if it were a religion. I feel really bad for her sons. And myself because I paid to read this book.
Jun 20, 2011 Danielle marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: society
Finally, a book I didn't hear about on NPR (though I hope to). The author's articles in The Atlantic magazine are outstanding, I can only imagine her book is terrific. Due out next year.
Feb 01, 2012 Kaitlyn marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I'm not going to lie, I want to read this just so that I can hate on it with a vengeance.
Jul 15, 2014 Laurie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ladies, remember what it was like being a teenager? Caitlin Flanagan explores the teenage girl from the early 1900s to today in her book Girl Land.

Girl Land is non-fiction, but there are parts that I wish were fiction. Like this troubling, yet true, passage in the book's first chapter on dating: "if someone is to be forced into sexual situations, or beaten up, or left with the consequences of pregnancy, if someone is to get the worst of a variety of terrible things that can happen in the privacy
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 69 70 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Free Books, .99 &...: Giveaway: Girl Land 1 12 Jan 20, 2012 09:48AM  
  • The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post-9/11 America
  • A Lethal Inheritance: A Mother Uncovers the Science behind Three Generations of Mental Illness
  • The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence
  • Intimate Wars: The Life and Times of the Woman Who Brought Abortion from the Back Alley to the Board Room
  • Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women
  • No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women
  • A Short History of Rudeness: Manners, Morals, and Misbehavior in Modern America
  • An Innocent Fashion
  • Seeing America
  • Female Perversions
  • Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow into Troublesome Gaps — and What We Can Do About It
  • A Dictionary of Made-Up Languages: From Adunaic to Elvish, Zaum to Klingon -- The Anwa (Real) Origins of Invented Lexicons
  • Deadman's Road
  • Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-de-Siècle Culture
  • College Girls: Bluestockings, Sex Kittens, and Co-eds, Then and Now
  • Deadly Persuasion: Why Women and Girls Must Fight the Addictive Power of Advertising
  • Changing My Mind
  • Meet Me in Venice: A Chinese Immigrant's Journey from the Far East to the Faraway West
Caitlin Flanagan is a four-time finalist for the National Magazine Award. Her essays have appeared in Best American Essays 2003, and Best American Magazine Writing 2002, 2003, and 2004. She has made numerous national media appearances. She has been the subject of profiles and critiques in the New York Observer, Ms., The New Republic and various other publications. She lives in Los Angeles with her ...more
More about Caitlin Flanagan...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“There is a paradox at the heart of contemporary Girl Land, and this paradox makes the emotional experience of female adolescence more intense and difficult than ever. On the one hand, never in history have girls had so many opportunities, or shared so fully in the kind of power that was only recently reserved for boys. Girls now outperform boys on the SAT; women outnumber men in college, and we are nearing a point at which women will outnumber men in the country’s law and medical schools.” 2 likes
More quotes…