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

3.37  ·  Rating Details  ·  457 Ratings  ·  55 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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(showing 1-30 of 845)
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Dec 06, 2015 Carmen marked it as to-read
I find this cover very creepy. I guess it's not supposed to be creepy. But it's freaking me out a little.
Abe Brennan
May 17, 2007 Abe Brennan rated it really liked it
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
Feb 15, 2012 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
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
Jan 25, 2009 Stefanie rated it liked it
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
Mar 05, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2007
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.
Jun 04, 2008 Kelcey rated it it was ok
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.
Aug 23, 2007 Dana rated it it was ok
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.
Aug 14, 2010 Amy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-reads
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.
Jan 02, 2008 Julie rated it really liked it
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
Jun 27, 2007 Michele rated it really liked it
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
Jan 05, 2008 Venessa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“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
Gail Guglielmino
Apr 05, 2015 Gail Guglielmino rated it liked it
This book had moments when it was special. The developing grief over a mother dying of cancer was poignant and painful. It felt authentic. But I had a bit of difficulty with the separate stories of the characters becoming intwined and the emphasis on meaningless, and often anonymous sex as a coping mechanism seemed too stark. I enjoyed the book but felt it had the potential to be much more than it eventually was.
Feb 26, 2016 Emily marked it as to-read
from holly lu: has anyone read the novel, "a girl becomes a comma like that" by lisa glatt? her voice is utterly unique--i can't think of anyone to whom to compare her sharp, penetrating, quirky style. even tho' it's depressing as hell in perspective (women's r/ship w/our bodies, our friends, our mothers), i was sorry to finish it.
Jul 04, 2014 Anna rated it did not like it
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!
Oct 29, 2011 Erin rated it liked it
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
Jan 27, 2011 Christy rated it really liked it
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
Oct 18, 2015 Sheri rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
I really enjoyed this book. I was planning on taking it to read on my vacation, but I ended up starting before I left. Then I couldn't put it down. The characters in it are flawed, but real people. That was part of why I liked this book so much. In certain situations, I could relate to them. I liked this book better than the author's book of short stories, The Apple's Bruise.
Feb 19, 2015 Linda rated it liked it
Any description of this as Chick Lit is erroneous. Although I enjoy an occasional Chick Lit, this was so much more - well written, complicated characters & poignant stories.
Jan 24, 2016 Liz rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Quite honestly, I don't remember this book, and I only read it a couple of years ago.
Renda Dodge
Jan 11, 2010 Renda Dodge rated it it was ok
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
Aug 01, 2016 Sinclair rated it liked it
Lovely writing, engaging style, complex women's lives.
Long time on my TBR pile, I finally picked this one up. Rather strange mother - daughter story... not really a keeper for me.
Bj Hickman
May 28, 2008 Bj Hickman rated it liked it
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
May 05, 2010 Kariena rated it liked it
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.
Dec 28, 2009 G rated it did not like it
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.
Jan 13, 2014 Samantha rated it it was ok
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.
Nov 07, 2015 Mindy rated it liked it
A lot was left unfinished for me...
Jul 02, 2007 William rated it it was ok
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.

M. Rose
Sep 07, 2010 M. Rose rated it liked it
Shelves: womans-fiction
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.
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Lisa Glatt is the author of the novels The Nakeds and A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That, as well as the short story collection The Apple's Bruise. 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 Civitella Ranie ...more
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“I like the word 'fuck'. The word means what it means, but it also means whatever you need it to mean.” 15 likes
“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
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