A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That: A Novel
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A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That: A Novel

3.34 of 5 stars 3.34  ·  rating details  ·  394 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Rachel Spark is an irreverent, sexually eager, financially unstable thirty-year-old college instructor who moves back home when her mother is diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. As she tries to ease her mother, a perpetually cheerful woman, toward the inevitable, Rachel turns from one man to the next -- sometimes comically, sometimes catastrophically -- as if her own su...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 6th 2005 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2004)
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Abe Brennan
In A Girl Becomes A Comma Like That, Lisa Glatt cobbles together an engaging and poignant novel from several short stories and some interstitial passages. Ms. Glatt structures her novel around four female characters, with two, the main character, Rachel Spark, and the equally weighty Georgia Carter, getting the most ink. The Spark character’s story unfolds from a first person point of view, while the rest of the girls’s proceed from third person. With a clever manipulation of time sequences, bou...more
It's funny; a lot of the lower-star reviewers say this book wasn't their "cup of tea." I guess, then, that this kind of book is my cup of tea. Because A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That is about women and girls, many want to classify it as "chick lit." Not that "chick lit" is an insult (it's a genre in its own right), but this doesn't qualify. The writing is insightful and literary, if at times overwrought. Also, I'm not sure these interconnected short stories quite pull together to make a cohesiv...more
I wanted to like this book more than I did. It's definitely a step above most "chick lit" in its subject matter, with the main characters confronting cancer, mortality, mother-daughter relationships, sexuality, marital troubles, etc. But I didn't ever feel close to the characters, and the author's style of switching between narrator and time periods just seemed to create more distance the story. And I didn't see the point of several of the narrators, which made me just wonder why the author incl...more
this was a good, if somewhat depressing read. the main character’s life is what, several years ago, i thought my life would be like in my 30s. i’m glad it’s not headed in that direction anymore. and, her bff had hives! see, everything comes back to me.
but really, it was a good book.
The comma refers to curve of the girl's hair on a pillow (per the cover) as well as to the idea that she becomes a pause, an empty silence--either between other girls in a guy's life or in her own life. I forget. But despite the promising concept, the book didn't work for me.
Eh. Just ok...the one character I remember was fixated on sex and really destructive behavior, and her mother had cancer, and she was just kinda fucked up. I guess it was just depressing.
Jan 02, 2008 Julie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those seeking an antidote to vapid chick lit
Beautiful, brutal stories about the dark side love and relationships.
For some reason, I always thought this was a memoir. It was not. Instead, it was almost a short story collection about several women, with a loose thread connecting them.

I found the character of Rachel Sparks - promiscuous professor who lives with her mother. Her mom is dying of breast cancer, which is something else Rachel is trying to deal with. I found her to be annoying, immature, and too in-your-face. Yes, you're promiscuous and make horrible decisions. No, I don't want to read about is ad...more
Riding Down a One-Way Street
While taking in this story of a promiscuous, young woman coping with her mother's cancer, I often wondered why I continued reading. The woman, Rachel, doesn't strike me as physically attractive, she's snobby, depressed, totally irreverent towards just about everyone and everything, and the blunt sexual descriptions of acts performed by not only her but also by the story's secondary characters (who all, by the way, seemed like the same character with different names a...more
“A girl becomes a comma like that, with wrong boy after wrong boy; she becomes a pause, something quick before the real thing.”

I didn’t want to put this book down, which is always a good sign. Truthful and gut-wrenching, love is the predominant theme of Glatt’s first novel. The main mother daughter relationship is poignant without being cloying. Lust rears its head in all of its many forms, and all of its many consequences. Structurally, I love when POV switches back and forth, and Glatt’s struc...more
UGH.. This book had potential!!! The way the author writes was terrible.. she ruined the book..
I don't really know what to say about it - don't waste your time - it was almost as if the writer wanted to write a longer book but got scared so then wrote a shorter book that had so many questions and no answers and no ending..
I would not pick up another book from this writer again!
This book is about three women Rachel, Ella and Georgia. The book is intriguing and very easy to read, with the main story line being about a woman who's Mother is dying of metastatic breast cancer. In that regard it hit very close to home for me. At times it's very detailed about all the women's sexual encounters, to the point of being somewhat shocking for what I normally read (so, warning to the faint of heart). Rachel is the main character & her story is more complete then the others but...more
This novel is almost more of a short story cycle, with a fine narrative thread. The stories are told from the perspectives of several women, all dealing with sexuality and relationships in their own ways. I appreciated most that the book took a very non-judgmental approach in its portrayal of promiscuous women, while also acknowledging the cultural baggage around being a promiscuous woman. I found that very refreshing, since it's more common to see promiscuity used as a shortcut to showing that...more
Renda Dodge
I'm going to have to put this book aside as I'm having a hard time getting through it. I'm frustrated by the author's weirdly intimate details of sex acts, and then further explanation of things that have no tie back to the story (I don't really need an entire paragraph on the character cutting her leg in the shower). The character is flat, we don't really learn much about her, it's like we were popped into her life without any real explanation of who she is or why she is doing the things she is...more
Bj Hickman
This was my new book club's second read. Again, we didn't like the lead character, but I personally thought this book was very well written. The author is an instructor at Cal State Long Beach University, and she lives in Long Beach. The book was set in Long Beach and Seal Beach, so if you're from Orange County, it's wonderfully familiar. Made me feel like I was following her around town, rather than reading about her. You can go to the blog on my website (shown on my profile) for one part of th...more
I'd never her of this "novel" or the author, picked it off the shelf in the library because I found the title quite intriguing. I'm not sure what makes this a novel instead of three separate short stories. The chapters skip back and forth between the stories, but aside from the fact that the lead female characters know each other casually (not as friends), there is no connection between the stories and certainly not a single plot line that unites them. But they are pretty good stories.
It started out somewhat interesting woman has a terminally ill mother and attempts to find solace in throw away relationships. The novel is well written but that is about it. After the first 150 pages none of the characters progressed. If you are trapped on a non-stop flight and are unable to fall asleep or your I-pod battery is dead I would suggest reading the in flight magazine or making up biographies for the passengers seated near by before taking the time to read this novel.
This book was okay. It was interesting, not your typical book about girls, but not overall intriguing. There isn't really a climax to this story. You're simply introduced to three girls and shown a sneak peek into their lives and then the book is over. I like that it showed girls in a way that society doesn't usually look at girls, but that was really the only redeeming quality of this book. Not sure I would read it again, but I don't regret reading it once.
A story of several women at various stages of adulthood, including a college-aged writer and women’s clinic worker, a professor of poetry, the professor’s mother (dealing with recurring cancer), and others. Most of the characters fixate on relationships, sex, identity, death, sex as a response to death, and intimacy. A quick read and nicely written novel, comparable to Layover, a book I think surpasses this one in moments light and dark.

At first I wasn't sure about this book. It switches narrative, from first to third and back to first again. However, the further I got into it, the more I enjoyed it. The shifting from first to third allowed the reader to keep in touch with the main story arc even when secondary ones were added in. This novel is a fast easy read, but might be better on second read through when you've situated all the characters and events in your mind.
This didn't do much for me. It reminded me of The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing, which I tried at lest twice to like and just ended up hating it more. I think it's the format--a book composed of short stories that intertwine. Most of the sections focused on Rachel, a college professor in her thirties that I pretty much hated. I did enjoy the parts about Emma and Georgia, but not enough to make me really like this book. Not for me.
While Rachel's mother is dying of cancer, Rachel is coping by sleeping with everyone she meets. I couldn't really get very interested in her character, but I did enjoy the sections of the book about the lives of some of the other characters. Lisa Glatt can definitely write, but this novel just didn't do much for me -- and at the end, I wanted to hear more about the other characters, especially Georgia.
Becca Loo
i love her, i feel like i know her, like she is who i'll be in ten years. it's full of her escapades with various men, her encounters with her students, and her struggle with her mom's battle with breast cancer. her short stories were just a tip of the iceberg and this is the dark water underneath. most of all i love her vulnerability.
it could've been really good. the author just dropped parts of her plot line, limiting the chance of it being a great book. i wanted her to follow through with two of her female characters and she just ended the novel. it was a quick, easy read. don't read it if you are dealing with someone who has cancer...
Glatt is an amazing writer, and this book is delicious. The subject matter can be depressing, so don't pick it up for a light read. But if you appreciate writing that makes you stop and re-read just because the words are so striking, this is a good one for you.
This book was brutally honest about coping mechanisms used by some when losing a parent. It is sexually graphic and not for everyone, however, I loved it. The writing style was unique, clean and engaging.
Jan 27, 2011 Erin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Erin by: self
Lisa Glatt got a lot right with this novel. I felt a deep understanding and empathy with all characters - no happy endings, but there was resolution and hope without guarantee. I like that.
Since I only gave this one three stars, I must not have thought much about it. I can't really even remember the plot much, but it's probably safe to say it's in the "teen literature" category.
read this funny and sad book six years ago and I still pull quotes from it. It's dead on w/ dating and women's feelings.
Patrick Tobin
I'm a huge fan of her work. The writing is surgically precise, and yet it's a warm, gracious and funny book.
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Lisa Glatt is the author of the novel A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That and the short story collection The Apple's Bruise, both published by Simon & Schuster. Her poetry collections include Shelter and Monsters & Other Lovers. Lisa's work has appeared in such magazines as Zoetrope, Mississippi Review, Columbia, Indiana Review, Pearl, and The Sun. She was recently awarded a fellowship to the...more
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“A girl becomes a comma like that, with wrong boy after wrong boy; she becomes a pause, something quick before the real thing.” 13 likes
“I like the word 'fuck'. The word means what it means, but it also means whatever you need it to mean.” 7 likes
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