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Out of the Girls' Room and Into the Night

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  547 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
In Thisbe Nissen's award-winning debut story collection, characters teeter on the verge -- of love, of life, and of oncoming cataclysms.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published October 17th 2000 by Anchor Books (first published 1999)
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(showing 1-30 of 992)
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G. Marie
Jul 23, 2014 G. Marie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt
Ironically, I've read that reading fiction makes people smarter and more sympathetic (even empathetic) because reading fiction allows us to somehow experience new things. To learn different ways of thinking, to see different ways of living, to feel different ways of loving, to consider different ways of being, etc. We grow by reading.

If that is true, and I think it is, then you grow a lot between the two covers of this book. You meet an older man who is nearing the scariest stages of dementia an
Sep 10, 2009 Kori rated it really liked it
An enjoyable read with some fine, fine writing. Has some political themes that are at times a little overbearing, and the structure of many of the stories - odd, fragmented plots that often leave more questions than answers - is still on my mind. Nonetheless, Nissen creates a cast of compelling, fascinating characters that kept me driving through each story. Gotta love books about hippies and Deadheads.
Wendy Yu
Sep 06, 2011 Wendy Yu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, a few are a little workshoppy, a few are a little "Hello, I am a mysterious 2-page short story that has no middle or end," but every story was interesting and touching in some way and struck a chord with the emotional and slightly angsty child/middle/high/college/adult in me.

Book dish: cookies.
Sep 22, 2009 lindsay rated it really liked it
If the sign of a good short story is that you're annoyed when you turn the page and find out it's over because you want to know what happens to the characters tomorrow, then this collection get full marks.
Oct 27, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it
Thisbe Nissen's short story collection captures snippets of love. Each story is wildly different in tone, age of the characters, geographical location, and chronological era. It amazes me that Nissen is able to write with such authenticity from such divergent points of view. Almost every story points out some aspect of the human experience that I had not heretofore considered, or had maybe thought unique to myself. Nissen explores all types of love, as well, not just romantic. There is the young ...more
May 05, 2011 Marie rated it really liked it
Nissen's collection consists of 16 coming-of-age stories that primarily deal with sexuality and sexual orientation and negative body image. My favorites in the collection are 3 1/2 x 5, Apple Pie, Accidental Love, Out of the Girl's Room and into the Night, and 819 Walnut. What I love most is that I was able to read the stories separately and appreciate them individually, but by the end I was also able to appreciate it as a whole.
Feb 22, 2015 Nicole rated it it was amazing
It's a rare collection of short stories that has this resounding of an impact. Disclaimers first, though: the first story was a huge turnoff to me and I almost didn't want to continue reading because of the stilted interactions and dialogue and caricatures of mysterious people. And there's certainly a limited scope in character types and subject matter and, as other people have said, several darlings to kill (e.g., for me, eating disorders made a bit too prominent of an appearance and just distr ...more
Jul 11, 2007 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: shortstories
Among other things, Nissen is a master of Point of View, trying out every possible window that can be set up between the reader and the main character -- and she exploits all the options to incredible effect.
Jul 14, 2010 Amy rated it really liked it
Thisbe Nissen is a wonderful writer - real, raw, funny, sad, and sexual - can't believe this was her first book...
Jan 05, 2008 Venessa rated it really liked it
The title is not the only amazing thing about these short stories, which examine love and all of it’s many forms.
Mar 16, 2013 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-me
these were mostly great! it was a slightly uneven collection--some of the stories felt a little overwritten and "young author following a writing prompt-ish", but the rest were amazingly heartfelt and funny. we went to the same place for undergrad and my favorite story very, very obviously took place there. in the best way possible.

pg. 171 most aptly describes life my senior year: we thought we were prepared for anything. we communicated. we processed. we had a job wheel, and quiet hours, and h
Kathleen Hagen
Out of the Girls’ Room and Into the Night: Winner of Univeristy of Iowa’s Short Fiction Award, by Thisbe Nissen, Narrated by Caroline Miller, Produced by University of Iowa Audio Press, downloaded from

This is a series of short stories about young women, mostly living in, but not originally from, New York. Some are still in highschool. They each have, in the course of a short story an experience or are part of an event that will change their lives. The last story, the title story, is
Aug 30, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it

I was close to giving this one a 5. The writing is strong, the tones and voices and perspectives were generally ambitious and appropriate to the plots and themes, and and many of not most of the plots read as original and unexpected and mature. For instance, the story about the children at Tanner School and the one about the girls in the house in college were so good; the collective narration in the latter was ambitious and impressive, and the children in the former felt real and genuine and fu
Thisbe Nissen was invited as a speaker to my college this year, and I was given the assignment of reading at least one of her books. I was disappointed with this collection. The writing feels dead, the settings and the characters need more "fleshing out" (I barely ever knew what to visualize, because she doesn't describe enough), and I thought most of the characters were interchangeable because they had no distinctive personalities for the most part. I also found her constant use of metaphors ex ...more
Amber Anderson
Sep 28, 2008 Amber Anderson rated it did not like it
This is a complete waste of $$$$$$$$
This book is just not good. It was recommended to me because I bought a Judy Budnitz book (which was a gem, like all her others). But after reading about half of the stories I can tell you that this book is not worth a dime. It reminds me of critiquing someone's work in a creative writing class. I don't want to be mean and I want to tell you SOMETHING good about this collection but really...its adolescent and lacks style. You can tell that the author really tr
Carolyn O
Jul 24, 2013 Carolyn O rated it really liked it
It’s simply wonderful. Every story is engaging, every character wholly realized. One story might make me laugh, and another might make me feel like my stomach had fallen to my feet. These are tales of the perilous nights and days of youth, ranging from cold midwest college towns to the Nevada desert and Manhattan’s apartment landscapes. And I’d almost forgotten the pleasure of reading short stories; like biting into a perfectly ripe pear, with the accompanying satisfaction of finishing the whole ...more
Aug 31, 2014 Tsering rated it really liked it
Everyone will have a piece as take aways!
Short-stories are not my first hand reading option but this book has got some fine stories that I'd really enjoyed.
Dec 29, 2009 Natalie rated it really liked it
I agree with what a lot of the reviewers here have said. While I can recognize that the writing is good and that the structure is sound, the characters were often interchangable and the plot lines not all that compelling to me. Many of them felt quite dated--like they would have been really scandalous and exciting ten or fifteen years ago, but today, eh. I liked "819 Walnut" because of its collective narration. I also really enjoyed "The Animal's Best Interest". I also liked "The Mushroom Girl" ...more
I read the first three stories in this collection and none of them grabbed me. It feels like Nissen is trying too hard, especially to be edgy; the stories feel relatively contrived and pretty amateur--like something written by an undergrad studying creative writing. They're not bad, in terms of style or content, but they're not interesting or well-written enough for me to waste my time reading the rest of the collection. Too bad, because I really liked the titles of some of the stories, as well ...more
Andrea Paul Amboyer
May 22, 2007 Andrea Paul Amboyer rated it really liked it
In general, I really really like Thisbe Nissen. I think she puts a new spin on the traditional coming of age story. I've actually given her short stories to actresses in plays I've worked on as a reference for how I think about their characters. She writes about people that are a little bit on the fringes of society and she is able to impart grace and beauty to difficult subjects and life moments.
Feb 21, 2012 Elizabeth rated it liked it
While the book did exceed my expectations, it didn't leave me satisfied. There were definitely a couple of good stories, characters, quips, etc. but overall, there wasn't too much depth. A lot of the characters were the same, "struggling" with the same surface issues. It's not a book I would recommend to friends unless they were incredibly bored and this was one of a few bleak options.
Aug 03, 2010 Leesa rated it really liked it
my husband gave this to me for my 23rd birthday. now i'm 32. i read it back then and remember loving it, but have picked it up to read again. will surely report back after my reread. i just remember that the third story is called "when the rain washes you clean you'll know." and fleetwood mac lyrics are always gonna get my love. now and forever.
Aug 22, 2007 Allison rated it liked it
A collection of short stories dealing with love, abandonment, hope, and security. The author does a nice job of giving a hint of resolution for the stories without going overboard. I had wished some of the characters would have been more entertaining and quirky as was in the "The Animal's Best Interest" towards the end of the collection.
Jun 25, 2014 Hannah rated it really liked it
Much better than Osprey Island.
May 07, 2007 Susie rated it it was ok
Shelves: i-commented
i remember feeling deceived when reading this book years ago -- it read completely as young adult fiction for girls; why did i even pick it up? perhaps i was seduced by the cover's elegant design. i've read some of thisbe's more recent work and enjoyed her style, but not this collection.
Feb 04, 2009 Erica rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009
I probably would have loved this if I'd read it 15 years, not so much. Well crafted writing but the stories themselves felt really forced. I get the feminine angst angle but it I would have felt a lot "cooler" after having read this at 16 or 17 rather than in my 30's.
Mar 24, 2013 Rachel rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
I agree with some of the other reviewers that it seems like the same character written over and over. I really enjoyed the first story, but I got tired of so much of the same. The writing is very poetic and lyrical, but became too repetitive for me.
Nov 03, 2007 Anya rated it really liked it
A lovely collection of short stories ranging from the quirky to the very touching. There will be at least one story here to tug on your heart or make you smile. I wish Thisbe would write more short stories so that I can keep reading them.
Jun 15, 2010 Sharonlee rated it really liked it
I'm glad I finally got around to reading these stories. I really, really like this writer's "voice". There were a couple of times when I thought she needed to, y'know, kill her darlings, but overall this is a lovely collection.
Mar 06, 2008 Eliza rated it really liked it
I really appreciated how Nissen brought varied points of view to her short stories. The characters are not as simplistic as they seem...they feel very real. It was a great book for reading on the bus!
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Thisbe Nissen is the author of the story collection, Out of the Girls' Room and into the Night, and two novels, The Good People of New York and Osprey Island. She also co-authored-and-collaged The Ex-Boyfriend Cookbook with Erin Ergenbright. Thisbe's work is forthcoming, or has recently been published in Story Quarterly, The Virginia Quarterly, Glimmer Train, and The Cincinnati Review. She's taugh ...more
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