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Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress: Tales of Growing up Groovy and Clueless

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,017 Ratings  ·  696 Reviews
From the author of "Kiss My Tiara" comes a funny and poignant collection of true stories about women coming of age that for once isn't about finding a date.
Paperback, 368 pages
Published January 1st 2005 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

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Jul 04, 2008 Amyss rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: people who write "LOL"a lot
Her parents were hippies but all she wanted to do was wear a tutu- and she did- to school!! See? It's funny because she is so QUIRKY! So many zany things happen to her, so she has to write about each terribly hilarious embarrassing episode of her white, overprotected, privileged life! But never fear, there is heart and love in the gooey middle! She realizes this when she tests her meddle in a foreign country (Switzerland! oh the culture shock!! The sockets look WEIRD!)that allows her to continue ...more
Aug 23, 2007 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For those who've yet to read it, the book can be divided into roughly three [unequal] parts: childhood, high school/college and Susan-as-an-adult. The first part was the best for me - perfect mix of funny and sad, just like a good sweet-and-sour sauce should be. The second section is shorter than the others, which is a good thing.
High school pretty much consists of a looooooooong riff on virginity, with a drawn-out celebrity stalking adventure thrown in. Her college years are covered by one ane
Jul 13, 2015 Lormac rated it liked it
Susan Gilman's book is memoir which takes the form of essays - each a funny or poignant story of a part of her life. Her first chapter is a recounting of her summer at a "leftist" commune in the Catskills when she was five years old and asked to play a part in a psychedelic movie being filmed by one of the campers. The final chapter is set in Geneva where she finds herself living - a New Yorker abroad - in her thirties.

If I had read this book when I was in my twenties, I would have given it 5 st
Febz Beloy
Jun 14, 2009 Febz Beloy rated it really liked it
it’s a fun, wildly imbecilic memoir of a Manhattanite who thought of the world as her playground. I instantly felt this connection with her.

I was the child who bragged and lied in Show and Tell to distinguish myself from the hordes of crying and pee-crazy 5-year-olds in Kindergarten. I admit I lied not to be difficult but to be special. I conjured and fantasized on what I wanted to be when I grow up. I wanted to be a doctor, a ballerina, a social worker, a fireman and a nun. All the while feigni
AJ LeBlanc
Mar 20, 2013 AJ LeBlanc rated it it was amazing
Gilman's writing style is amazing. Several times I had to put the book down because I was laughing so hard. She has a great take of growing up as a full on feminist, but at the same time becoming giddy with delight when Mick Jagger points out that she's got huge boobs. This is a woman who's been everywhere and done everything, and it's a brilliant read. The book starts off with her at four years old, the daughter of hippies, prancing around in a tutu and figuring out how to rule the world. Her f ...more
Mar 24, 2013 Gretchen rated it liked it
I was literally laughing out loud during the first chapters of this book. The author's commentary on her unique childhood experiences was hilarious and irreverent. I was really looking forward to the rest of the book. I had high hopes for it, but started feeling disappointed the more I read. Instead of becoming more self-aware and grown up, the author seemed to just revel in being a clueless, shallow person who seemed obsessed with the size of her breasts and having sex with every male who walks ...more
Stephanie Biese
May 26, 2016 Stephanie Biese rated it liked it
She gets 4.5 stars for saying pretty much everything this privileged, white feminist thinks and feels. I kept thinking...she gets me!! I'm her!!! It's super white privilegy, but so am I.

However, I docked her a star and a half for un-inclusive language (use of the R word and comparing people in a negative light to a "special ed class"). That shit ruins it.
Maro Alphabet
Oct 21, 2007 Maro Alphabet rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone!!!
yet another memoir of sorts... but this one is inspirational and simply hysterical.
we follow a young woman realizing her identity and also coming to terms with her slightly off kilter family and her specific expectations from the world.
i have given this book to.. my mother, my sister, my friend danielle and a coworker mike... they have all loved it and even become inspired by it.
if you're in the mood to laugh out loud, here's a book that will have you cryin'!! david sedaris meets augusten borro
Kris Holland
Apr 18, 2012 Kris Holland rated it did not like it
Slightly boring memoir. I got the impression the author thought she led a crazy, rebellious life, but she came off too often sounding overprivileged & whiny. I enjoyed her book Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven, but I couldn't be done with this one fast enough.
Kathy (Bermudaonion)
Mar 31, 2009 Kathy (Bermudaonion) rated it really liked it
Susan Jane Gilman was raised in Upper West Manhattan in the 1970’s, before it became gentrified. Her family was pretty laid back and “groovy” - her grandmother claimed to be a Communist and her mother signed the whole family up for Transcendental Meditation. Throughout it all, Susie retained an active imagination and developed a sense of humor. Her family motto was, “Reality is for people with no imagination.” Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress: Tales of Growing Up Groovy and Clueless by Susan Ja ...more
Jan 13, 2011 Niki rated it it was amazing
THIS BOOK IS AWESOME!!!!! Originally suggested to me as an interpretation piece for debate, my friend's mother warned me that I may take a liking to the protagonist....understatement of the week. Gilman's recreation of her childhood and adult experiences are hilarious and easily related to, and the descriptions leave nothing to the imagination. Her gritty description of the punk streets of NYC as a teenager are everything that VH1 describes and complaints about being a feminist bride who is plan ...more
Jul 04, 2012 Judy rated it liked it
I have to admit that I like the first half of this book much more than the last half. In fact, I have to plead guilty of sort of skimming the final 30 pages. But the first half made me laugh out loud several times. Growing up on Manhattan's Upper West Side, Gilman had many experiences in her early years that are universal. I mean who didn't lie during show-and-tell? Who didn't feel constant peer pressure, have an awkward adolescence, and be plagued by school yard bullies? But, Susan Jane Gilman ...more
May 22, 2014 Katie rated it it was amazing
This might be my most frequently recommended book and also my most re-read. Susan Jane Gilman’s life isn’t terribly extraordinary (well, aside from having hippie parents who took her to a socialist retreat at age 4), but she writes essays about things like her first job and being picked on at school in the most hilarious and compelling way. The book follows her from her earliest memories to adulthood, so we learn about the lies she told to her kindergarten class, her massive crush on Mick Jagger ...more
Sep 30, 2012 Sally rated it really liked it
Enjoyed reading this book, was introduced to me by the authors father. Any questions that I needed to ask he answered. My main question was " did you truly sit at the park bench while your daughter was being hit for a swing"? His answer was yes...and it was the hardest thing to do. He wanted his daughter to defend herself for 1 mouthing off and 2 parents won't always be around to defend kids.

I don't know if I can agree in the way the lesson was taught but I did tell him that I enjoyed the book.
Aug 11, 2015 Terry rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
This book has been on my radar for approximately a gajillion years; reading Gilman's Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven made me finally pick it up. I have been reading children's/YA literature for a while, and was refreshing to read something by someone who's my age, who became an adult roughly around the same time I did--so I actually got all of her references. Ha. I also enjoy her breezy, self-deprecating, yet still often beautifully crafted style.

Anyway--this was a four-star rev
May 10, 2014 Marsha rated it really liked it
Growing up Jewish and yet conflicted (do they really have to give up all those lovely Christmas presents?) made for a very interesting childhood. Resenting her mother for putting her in a dopey amateur movie about hippies and yet not taking her to Woodstock, Ms. Gilman was well on her way to being a woman with plenty to write about and she clearly wasn’t going to let a few embarrassing moments stand in her way.

This memoir alternates tones of wryness, bitterness, confusion and self-deprecating hu
May 11, 2015 Regan rated it liked it
Well, I did make it all the way through the book. I don't think I would go so far as to call her the "female David Sedaris" like some newspaper did. There were some VERY fun essays. There were also some very NOT fun essays, not meaning they were hard (Sedaris and Burroughs both do hard AND fun at the same time, which is impressive), just meaning they weren't so enjoyable to read.

I did have a few truly irked moments - like when Gilman talks about the huge monostrosity that is being a *GASP* SIZE
Steph (loves water)
I read this because Ms. Gilman and I are the same age, and we had a few things in common growing up, but were light years apart in our upbringing. Batgirl, Tony DeFranco, Mick Jagger. Mostly I found her a little annoying and over the top, but at the end I recognized that she was brutally honest in her account. I don't know if I could be that honest in my own memoir.
Feb 06, 2014 Emily rated it did not like it
I found Gilman's naivete, marshmallow softness, lack of self awareness, lack of self preservation, annoying and obnoxious, NOT endearing. She never seems to learn her lesson. She never seems to mature or truly expand her world view. She's gleefully ignorant of things and seems to toss it off with an "I'm just a girl!" insouciance that she should have outgrown somewhere around age 5. The older she gets and the more she refuses to learn from/about anything around her the more tiresome she becomes. ...more
Nov 20, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it
If you like snarky (love that word), sarcastic, witty, self-deprecating humor, then this book is for you. Susan Jane Gilman is a Jewish New Yorker with some pretty funny stories to share; some were laugh out loud funny. I began this book rather unamused but was quickly converted and enjoyed this easy read by this very talented writer.
Aug 18, 2012 Kayla rated it liked it
Shelves: beach-read
I enjoyed this book, which was a loan from a friend, more than I thought I was going to. I expected the laughter as the author takes us on a trip through the hippie antics of her parents but there were unexpected moments of real poignancy...especially in describing the effects of a divorce on children, forever.
Annie Noblin
Feb 23, 2015 Annie Noblin rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adored this book. I read it years ago, probably in 2004, when I should have been studying for a history final in college. It was totally worth the D I got on that test.
Jul 31, 2012 Chris rated it really liked it
A memoir of growing up in the sixties. Trying to make a first job work, drugs, teenage crushes,parties, music, it's all there. An entertaining read that I didn't want to end.
Jan 09, 2016 Hannah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, memoirs
Loved this book. Hilarious, insightful, entertaining.

Sample passage: "For all my schooling, I hadn't the foggiest idea how to say such basic, things as 'lightbulb,' 'extension cord,' and 'Can you please help me? My husband is stuck in the bathroom.'...Seized by a linguistic stage fright, the only thing I could manage to say was, 'la clef, il ne travaille pas,' which roughly translates into 'the key, it is not doing its work' creating the distinct impression of a key slacking off and lounging
Jun 22, 2012 E rated it did not like it
Shelves: never-finished
A plodding series of monotone stories. Should be subtitled Tales of Growing up Stoned and Self-absorbed.
May 21, 2011 Ruthie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw it on my sister Nikki's list and liked the title. It was a fluffy, entertaining read.
This was kind of a roller coaster read for me. Some sections, I found myself nodding and saying "YES!" and other sections I really couldn't relate to. Even the parts I couldn't relate to were pretty fun to read as I like learning about how other people live.

Like the author, I was not popular at all in school and there was that group of girls whose lives seemed to be devoted to making mine miserable. Her experience with the solo in the Christmas program particularly resonated with me, having had
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 29, 2013 Bookguide rated it really liked it
Susan Jane Gilman grew up with hippy parents in New York in the 1970s, and fully embraced Madonna's style in the 1980's - only missing the opportunity to call her chapter about her teenage years "Desperately Seeking Susan". The stories she tells about her childhood and young adulthood reveal her as stubborn, funny, melodramatic, naive, vulnerable and feisty. The contradictions in her character are what give her anecdotes their punch. Self-confidant enough as a starstruck teenager to hang around ...more
Jennifer S
Nov 16, 2009 Jennifer S rated it really liked it
I was hooked on this book from the first paragraph of this book, "When I was a little girl, I was so girlie and ambitious, I was practically a drag queen...I spent inordinate amounts of time waltzing around our living room with a doily on my head, imagining in great detail my promenade down the runway as the new Miss America, during which time I would also happen to receive a Nobel Prize for coloring." until the the very last page.

This memoir takes you through the life of Susan Jane Gilman (who
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Is this book good? 5 54 Jan 24, 2013 08:34AM  
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Susan Jane Gilman’s new novel, “The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street,” will be debuting in June 2014. She is also the bestselling author of three nonfiction books “Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress,” “Undress me in the Temple of Heaven,” and “Kiss My Tiara” and provides occasional commentary for National Public Radio. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan, and has wri ...more
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“One of the benefits of TM, Agatha had said, was that it enabled you to be "alone with your thoughts." But as I quickly discovered, a lot of my thoughts were not anything I wanted to be alone with.” 1 likes
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