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Sleepwalking

3.45  ·  Rating Details ·  392 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
The debut novel from New York Times–bestselling author Meg Wolitzer, a story of three college students’ shared fascination with poetry and death, and how one of them must face difficult truths in order to leave her obsession behind.

Published when she was only twenty-three and written while she was a student at Brown, Sleepwalking marks the beginning of Meg Wolitzer’s accl
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Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 1st 1984 by Avon Flare (first published 1982)
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(showing 1-30)
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Sheila
I'm giving this book 5 stars, but that doesn't mean it's an amazing book. In fact, it's overwrought and dated. However, I love this book--mostly because I read it over and over again when I was 13 or so. It's one of those books that really spoke to me at that age, and so it gets 5 stars for nostalgia.

I thought being a "death girl" (sort of a pre-Goth; this book was published in 1982) and staying up all night in college, reading poetry around a candle, would be so cool. Claire, the protagonist, s
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Julie Ehlers
Oct 12, 2014 Julie Ehlers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
As Meg Wolitzer explains in an interesting new preface to this 2014 edition, Sleepwalking is her first novel, written while she was still an undergraduate at Brown. I have to admit that when I first started reading, the novelty of this was foremost in my mind, and I kept trying to decide if the book was genuinely good, or just good for someone who'd written it as an undergraduate. Ultimately the book became so interesting as to distract me from such thoughts entirely. The blurb for this novel is ...more
Beatrice
Apr 15, 2015 Beatrice rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Meg Wolitzer writes darkly and with precision, communicating themes subtly yet powerfully. The three characters followed in Sleepwalking are similar and distinct -- their stories are told almost interchangeably, but with intricate detail. I thoroughly enjoyed the attention paid to language in this novel, as well as the intuitive manner through which its characters came to life in my mind. I'd recommend this read particularly for those who enjoyed Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng.
Claire Hardwick
May 12, 2015 Claire Hardwick rated it liked it
3.5/5
I don't really know how to feel about this book. The topic intrigued me at first and the fact that meg wolitzer wrote it while she was a student at brown, but I think that really shows in her writing. A lot of the dialogue was very wooden and some of the plot points were very unrealistic, but I also feel like the character development is saying something very important and relevant. It'll be interesting to read her newer works and see how her writing style has changed and developed.
Hannah
Jun 23, 2014 Hannah rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lily
Aug 30, 2015 Lily rated it it was ok
I much preferred The Uncoupling, but this was Meg Wolitzer's first book. She wrote it when she was 23!

Claire, Naomi, and Laura are "the Death Girls" during their freshman year at Swarthmore. They each have a fascination, bordering on single-white-female, with a different suicidal poet--Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and the Wolitzer-created Lucy Ascher. Claire eventually decides to seek out the Aschers' actual home and pretends to be a cleaning lady so she can live with them and stay in Lucy Ascher
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Doris
Aug 06, 2014 Doris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read for fun.

This was a really well-written book--I can't believe the author wrote it in college! I really had a hard time putting it down because it was so thoughtful and clever. If I had any nitpicky criticisms, it would be that the characterization of the main characters was not as complex as it could have been. I liked that the central point of view frequently changed, such that we could see a character through his/her own eyes as well as those of another character, but sometimes this approa
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Lisa Mcbroom
Written when Wolitzer was a student at Browne, this book really speaks to me in that period of ages 17-20. Like the "Death Girls" in recent years I have been called an "Art School of Doom Girl and I wear that moniker proudly. Life isn't about puppydogs and lollipops. Three girls emulate poets that have died by their own hand. Naomi (Sylvia Plath), Laura ( Anne Sexton) and Claire( the fictional Lucy Asher). Spiriling down the road to depression and breaking up with her boyfriend Julian, Claire le ...more
kayley j fouts
Jan 16, 2015 kayley j fouts rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
I felt personally connected to this story right away; at times I, too, consider myself a death girl, fawning over Plath and Sexton and contemplating death and the meaning of existence. I loved the world that Wolitzer created, one where college students prize academia and intelligence over all, one where complete strangers can completely reshape your life, one where death affects all and demands to be explored. To top off this great reading experience, I am insanely jealous that Wolitzer wrote it ...more
Anjali Williams
A good first novel, although it can't compare (and would be unfair to compare it) to The Interestings. It was a satisfying read with character growth and realistically flawed (and shifting) relationships. My main quibble had to do with believability. Just for a start: even if they were obsessed, would these "death girls" really hold nightly all-nighter poetry readings together, and if so, could they actually function and attend college classes? Lots of leaps of faith, but it still worked.
M.L. Rio
Jun 11, 2015 M.L. Rio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sleepwalking was not what I expected, but nevertheless impossible to put down. Wolitzer does a remarkable job showing the different forms and functions of grief, and how profoundly the loss of loved ones (literally or metaphorically) can change a person's outlook and approach to life. But she avoids the trap of being sentimental--Sleepwalking tells it like it is, and is all the more poignant for its refusal to slip into melodrama.
Ruth Conrad
Mar 22, 2008 Ruth Conrad rated it really liked it
I had read all of Meg Wolitzer's novels except for this one, her very first novel which she wrote just out of college in 1982. I found it interesting but not as complex as her later novels. The novel centers on three "death girls" and their preoccupation with deceased authors such as Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath.
Cherie
Jun 17, 2014 Cherie rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A Great book. Three young college women are obsessed w poets who commited suicide - "the death girls." When one of them falls in love, and then falls apart, she tries to find herself and get back together in a rather strange way. A book about love, self-exploration, self, writing, poetry, and how writing has the power to control our lives.
Lisa Eirene
Apr 02, 2015 Lisa Eirene rated it liked it
I'm conflicted about this book. This author was recommended to me and while I enjoyed the writing style and the voice, the story was kind of all over the place. I enjoyed the parts of the book where Claire joined the Ascher family and found that emotional and touching, but the first half seemed kind of pointless to me.
William Granger
Jan 07, 2015 William Granger rated it liked it
I stuck with it and I am glad I did. This is the second book that I've read of Wolitzer's (I read The Interestings first, and I will try more of her novels in time.
Tracy
Jul 09, 2014 Tracy rated it it was ok
Halfway through I thought this story is just not working for me and there are so many others to read. Time to cut bait.
Mackenzie Filson
Jan 30, 2016 Mackenzie Filson rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
2.5 stars. Super overwrought and reads like a book of long winded metaphors, but homegirl wrote this in college so I've got to give her props.
Adrien
Feb 21, 2015 Adrien rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-on-nook, 2015, t
I wanted to like this more than I did, but it just felt off to me. Some of the writing was lovely, but just wasnt for me.
Lolly K Dandeneau
Sep 11, 2012 Lolly K Dandeneau rated it it was ok
eh... I just couldn't get into it. It wasn't terrible, just really dragged me along and the three girls relationship just seemed juvenile for college aged young women.
Sue Kozlowski
Claire and the Death Girls. Are obsessed with Lucy Ascher the poet. Go and live with Luc's parents.
Sheetal
Oct 24, 2014 Sheetal rated it it was amazing
Smart writing, engaging voice. Wolitzer is fast becoming one of my favorites.
Sabine
Jul 14, 2014 Sabine rated it really liked it
A calm, quiet book, but very deep. Wolitzer's skill with language and her understanding of the (sad) human condition, especially when it comes to females, is amazing.
Jessica Bass
I literally didn't put this book down until I was finished reading.
Breann
Jul 21, 2015 Breann rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Great writing, not so great plot.
Erin
Mar 19, 2015 Erin rated it liked it
A very intriguing look at a college girl obsessed with a dead poet. Well written and engrossing. I hadn't heard of this author prior to this novel, but I will be checking out some more of her work.
Lydia Wang
Aug 04, 2014 Lydia Wang rated it it was amazing
Absolute love. Would recommend to fans of The Virgin Suicides or The Bell Jar.
Kate Elliott
Feb 05, 2017 Kate Elliott rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
Thoughtful and nuanced. A very good read for anyone who has grappled with loss, being on the Plath train, and gradual learned to step back into the world. One of the most mature treatments I've read about the English undergrad experience.
Martine Taylor
I was drawn to this book because of the description of a trio of college girls obsessed with poetry and darkness. I love books with an academic setting and I had a huge teenage love for Sylvia Plath's poetry. I liked the author's book 'the interestings'. I think much of my reaction is frustration that the story I thought I was going to be reading was skimmed over and Instead this book spends most of the time exploring the lives of two sets of bereaved parents. This was an odd book. Characters we ...more
Anto
Feb 17, 2016 Anto rated it liked it
3,5 stars
Colleen
Jun 09, 2016 Colleen rated it liked it
3.5 stars
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Meg Wolitzer is the author of The Ten-Year Nap and seven previous novels, including The Position and The Wife. Her short fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize.

Author photo copyright Deborah Copaken.
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