Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence” as Want to Read:
The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  750 Ratings  ·  166 Reviews
Bestselling author of Odd Girl Out, Rachel Simmons exposes the myth of the Good Girl, freeing girls from its impossible standards and encouraging them to embrace their real selves

In The Curse of the Good Girl, bestselling author Rachel Simmons argues that in lionizing the Good Girl we are teaching girls to embrace a version of selfhood that sharply curtails their power and
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 25th 2009 by Penguin Press HC, The (first published July 23rd 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Curse of the Good Girl, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Curse of the Good Girl

Teaching Kids to Think by Darlene SweetlandThe Ultimate Guide to Green Parenting by Zion LightsParenting Beyond Pink & Blue by Christia Spears BrownParenting Beyond Belief by Dale McGowanPlayful Parenting by Lawrence J. Cohen
Parenting with Reason
59th out of 65 books — 32 voters
Teaching Kids to Think by Darlene SweetlandWhat's Behind Your Belly Button? A Psychological Perspective ... by Martha Char LoveThe Blessing of a Skinned Knee by Wendy MogelJust Because It Isn't Wrong Doesn't Make It Right by Barbara ColorosoThird Culture Kids by David C. Pollock
Parenting Books
42nd out of 80 books — 47 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Apr 24, 2012 Alison rated it it was amazing
Wow. I never write reviews but really felt to need to for this one so forgive me if it is a bit choppy.

This is such a great book for anyone with a daughter or works with adolescent girls. This book talks about the pressure young girls (and women) face to be a "good girl", one who is always nice and selfless, and how being that "good girl" actually leads to a loss of self and empowerment.

The author first makes her case against the Good Girl. Discussing how in her attempt to always be nice, girl
Nov 01, 2015 Laura rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This is tough. It's easy to say -- "I'm okay with people not liking me." Or "Oh, bec. I'm not a good girl, that's why people don't like me." I know, bec. for the most part I don't care what people think of me. And yet I find myself doing some of these things. Reading this book, I suddenly observed "good girl" interactions everywhere. On one occasion, I was distracted and slow to answer a question from another female. The other woman got upset and left the room. I had just met her and started thi ...more
Mar 07, 2010 Lara rated it really liked it
Original review here:

Shortly before the big move, TLC Book Tours contacted me about reviewing The Curse of the Good Girl by Rachel Simmons on my blog. My first inclination was to say, "No, thank you. Too much on my plate right now." But then I read the book's description and, as a mother of girls, I thought I shouldn't pass up the opportunity.

When Joel and I first turned the key in our new home, the book was already waiting for me to begin reading.

As I st
Oct 19, 2009 Rachel rated it really liked it
When I first started reading this, I couldn't relate at all. Who are these girls and why are they acting this way??

Then I realized that while I don't have "the curse of the good girl", it totally explains why I have had problems working in all female environments and relating to most women; they have the "curse".

I especially enjoyed the chapter about education. When I was a teacher I was on both ends of the issues related to the curse-parents who would complain that their child didn't think I
Mar 27, 2016 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
I've been procrastinating writing this review because I want to do the book justice-- really condense the gems of insight and convey the lights that Simmons turned on in my brain, but I realize I can't actually overstate how important this book is. So please, if you are a woman, if you are raising women, if you care about anyone who is a woman, please read this book.

It's funny how certain books and ideas and images converge. I read this while reading Mothering and Daughtering by Reynolds and Th
Roslyn Ross
Oct 11, 2013 Roslyn Ross rated it it was ok
The first part of this book is almost interesting--why do girls communicate the way they do? Especially in high school? What are those weird passive-aggressive girl fights about? Why is it so hard for teenage girls to communicate with each other in a healthy way? This book offers a tiny insight (hence the 2 stars) to why: girls are obsessed with being "good". But it doesn't get into it nearly enough.

Where do girls get the idea of what a "good girl" is? It's not just TV and their mom. I actually
Mar 20, 2010 Betty rated it liked it
Shelves: life-coach
I more or less scanned the book to mine for useful bits. It's more applicable to the teenager set but did get some good ideas to think about, especially when modeling your own behavior for your daughter. How a mom uses/expresses her own feelings and communicates in her relationships become part of the "emotional management" repertoire for your daughter. And how parents manage and affirm their daughter's emotions can help build self-worth and confidence. As you develop your self as a person it's ...more
Lacey N.
Oct 16, 2009 Lacey N. rated it liked it
Even though I'm not a mother, I was a adolescent girl at one point in my life and I am, of course, a daughter. I am also a former public school teacher and I instantly recognized many of the girls in Rachel Simmons' THE CURSE OF THE GOOD GIRL: RAISING AUTHENTIC GIRLS WITH COURAGE AND CONFIDENCE. The often contradictory quest to be the ultimate "good girl"--soemone who is universally liked, always amiable and willing to play by the rules -- is supressing girls' abilities to develop themselves as ...more
Apr 29, 2012 Gwen rated it liked it
Recommended to Gwen by: Goodreads
Shelves: feminism
As a 20-something childfree woman, I am clearly not the target demographic for this book--but now I completely recognize the vestiges of my "Good Girl" adolescence. A good chunk of this book reiterates things I've read elsewhere (especially in Frankel's "Good Girls Don't Get the Corner Office), but the action items give me concrete steps forward to fully break out of this persona.

1) Dealing with conflict/confrontational situations (188-189):
-Affirm the relationship
-Use an "I statement"
-Say your
Aug 28, 2009 Carolynn is currently reading it
So far, it is a very interesting book. I got the copy to review, but I specifically asked for this one because I am uniquely qualified to review it at this point in my life being a mom to an almost 14 year old daughter. Some of the concepts and hypothesis laid out in the first couple of chapters are very interesting, and ring very true. Too true.
Kate Schwarz
Sep 24, 2014 Kate Schwarz rated it it was amazing
For those recovering good girls (turned moms, or just adults) or those parents or coaches of good girls, this is well worth the read.

Simmons is a no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is author who knows what she's talking about. She outlines and explains the good girl culture for those of us several decades from the know. She tells us what she sees at her Girls Leadership Institute and the theory behind it. In the last section of the book, she gives practical advice on changing the norms within our fam
May 02, 2012 Laura rated it liked it
I thought this book had a lot of good information in the beginning and in the end, but got a little repetitive and boring for me in the middle. I did like the issues she brought up about how girls "work" in relationships and inappropriately treat all relationships as friendships, how they talk, and their self-talk. It was an interesting read to me as both a mother of two girls and also as a woman myself. I really liked her section at the end about how mothers are grown up versions of "good girls ...more
Nancy Mehegan
Aug 22, 2009 Nancy Mehegan rated it it was amazing
The Curse of the Good Girl"" by Rachel Simmons

Do Naughty Girls Go Far?

I wish I had this book when I as 14 years old! High School seemed a blur of emotions and a feeling of overwhelm.

Good Girl Myth

Simmons exposes the “myth of the Good Girl”—a paradigm characterized by being unerringly nice, polite, modest, and selfless—arguing that we are teaching our girls in ways that limit their power and potential.

Girls Give Away Their Power

Society provides confusing messages to girls. As young children gir
May 23, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it
I don't necessarily like the title of this book or her overarching conclusions - including conclusions on the societal pressure to be a "good girl." The first 3rd of the book is fairly long and pretty wordy.

I also usually avoid books like this, because they are oftentimes annoying and depressing, but I did not find that to be true of this book. What this book did do was offer practical ideas and questions to ask oneself and one's daughter for better communication. It also goes over the importan
Jan 04, 2010 Shannon rated it really liked it
I loved Simmons' other novel, and this one was also quite good. Referencing Aaron Beck and Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, two researchers whose work was crucial for my thesis concerning depressive symptoms in early adolescent girls, gives her bonus points. I think the following line from her book sums it up nicely: When kindness comes at the expense of truth, it is not a kindness worth having, and when generosity leads to silence or abuse, it is not a generosity worth giving.

The curse is very real and f
Oct 19, 2009 Joan rated it it was amazing
I went into this book thinking I used to be a good girl, but I realized, I wasn't really a good girl in my late teens and early twenties, I was just very immature and didn't really grow up until late. I think I've matured very much in the last three years and what this book taught me about being a self-described good girl and how to change that, also taught me about how to be a "real" mother to a daughter if I ever have kids. I think I'm more assertive now though, though I think I did and still ...more
Jake Cohen
Jun 17, 2015 Jake Cohen rated it it was ok
This book was ok. It has some good insights, but is pretty light on clinical studies or evidence, instead relying heavily on anecdotes from the author's own interviews of girls and parents from her Girl Leadership Institute.

One of the other issues I have with the book is that in the first portion, she identifies certain behaviors that are harmful to a girl's ability to be her authentic self. For example, focusing overmuch on the style of how someone says something versus what is being said, or t
Lisa Butterworth
Mar 20, 2012 Lisa Butterworth rated it really liked it
It's really nice to have a lot of the problematic "good girl" behaviors laid bare. I'm so caught up in my culture, it's easy not to notice that I'm being passive aggressive or teaching my girls not to share their negative emotions. I appreciated this book bringing these sorts of things into sharp focus. My one critique of the book is that it felt a little repetitive at times, and I tended to skim some of the examples.
Mar 26, 2014 Courtney rated it really liked it
"Good" girls are at risk. That is to say, girls who are under the curse are growing up emotionally stunted and are then trying to function as adults in a world that expects them to be emotionally mature. This book does a great job of uncovering the many lies that girls believe and how it affects the way they behave. It considers the ways that parents, teachers, and coaches create or perpetuate this concept of the "good" girl. While it is clearly targeted at the adults in the lives of adolescent ...more
Jan 26, 2014 Shazzt added it
I spotted this in the library and thought it looked interesting. Despite being a girl, I have always struggled to understand "girl drama" (neither me nor my friends were into that) so I was interested to read what the author had to say on that subject. I was also attracted by the "good girl" tag. I have always been a "girly swot" and I know that it hasn't always been a positive thing in my life.

It was an interesting read for the most part and included some strategies that parents and other sign
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
Oct 18, 2012 Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!} rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents or future parents of girls
I enjoyed this book, and it raised some really good points.

Though it's not really relevant to my life, since I am not a teenager, nor am I a parent, so I am planning on donating this to the local library, unless someone wants to exchange this book for another book with me?
Oct 04, 2009 Patty rated it did not like it
I really tried but wasn't able to finish this book. It seemed too canned. I felt that I was reading something for a second time. I would have prefered more factual studies and evidence. It just seemed that the author was cashing in on the feminist movement. Sorry.
Jul 30, 2014 Melanie rated it liked it
Shelves: partially-read
This book is interesting. For example, the author hypothesizes that women/girls are catty because they are taught that they can't be confrontational and be "good girls", so they gossip and talk bad behind each others' backs, ultimately because they are self-conscious but don't want to do anything that would make them not be liked. The author says girls are dramatic because they don't feel they can act however they feel. Instead they have to be nice, so, if they don't feel nice, they don't unders ...more
Jul 06, 2011 Leigh rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-books
Geez, this is me. Maybe I can prevent my daughter from some of my bad tendencies.
Apr 06, 2016 Paul rated it really liked it
If you're a parent, guardian, teacher, instructor, or coach of girls, you should read this book. The author has several incredibly valuable insights, most specifically, that girls view everything through a lens of relationships and self-worth.

The first half of the book is exceptionally good at detailing how girls think and inter-relate. The second half is where I think things fall down a little in that it's meant to be the "now that you know this, here's how you deal with it" half. But the pract
155.433 SIM
CD 155.433 SIM founder: Rachel Simmons

My Review: worth reading, probe internal emotion world of girls. Parents who want to guide their daughter to form a strong health mental health should read it.

Part I: A map of the good girl world
Part II: Breaking the curse

p41 The landscape of girls' assumption
assuming intention: I know why this happening
assuming the worst
assuming emotions: I know how she feels
she should know how I feel

Chap 3: Girls in confrontation
Shame; I did
Jan 23, 2013 Emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This review was much more self-reflective than most, so I decided to move most of it over to my blog...come check it out!

Since I recently started working with the young women in my church, I thought this book might help me know some of the pressures they're facing from society and give me some tools to combat them. What I didn't expect was that I would see so much of myself in Ms. Simmons's book.

I spent a good deal of my growing up years, well into college, inordinately concerned with how I was
Oct 05, 2009 Brittiany rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
I was really interested in reading this book when I saw it in the First Reads section. When I got to it, I was a bit disappointed. I don't think it helped I went from reading a bunch of suspense/action books to reading a book very much based on research, which is not my usual reading. I found it really hard to get into it, especially since some of the statements made were somewhat offensive. I could relate with the "good girl" in a lot of ways, but like I said, I also found some of her "findings ...more
Dec 20, 2011 Jessi rated it really liked it
I stopped listening to this part way through, but not because I didn't enjoy it. The second portion is tips on working with your daughter to overcome the curse of the good girl and I felt it repeated much of what I already learned and I don't have a daughter. Still, the book was excellent and address an idea that has been bothering me in the back of my mind and which I could rarely put words to. I think I have The Curse of the Good Girl. The Curse is essentially a tension between conflicting soc ...more
Feb 16, 2010 Sara rated it really liked it
Recommended to Sara by: msn
4.5 stars. I heard about this book on the news, where they made it sound like a study of why girls struggle with trying to be "good", stifling any "bad" emotions to achieve this perfect appearance. The first half of the book is exactly this, giving examples of how girls interact with each other, the pressure from society, peers, and family to be seen as "good", and why many girls do not reach their full potential because of this pressure weighing them down. The second half is full of ways to com ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers' Schemes
  • Mothering and Daughtering: Keeping Your Bond Strong Through the Teen Years
  • Little Girls Can Be Mean: Four Steps to Bully-proof Girls in the Early Grades
  • You'd Be So Pretty If . . .: Teaching Our Daughters to Love Their Bodies--Even When We Don't Love Our Own
  • Girls Will Be Girls: Raising Confident and Courageous Daughters
  • So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood, and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids
  • The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World Is Still the Least Valued
  • Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow into Troublesome Gaps — and What We Can Do About It
  • The Lolita Effect: The Media Sexualization of Young Girls and What We Can Do About It
  • Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body
  • Just Because It Isn't Wrong Doesn't Make It Right: Teaching Kids To Think And Act Ethically
  • The Myth of the Perfect Girl: Helping Our Daughters Find Authentic Success and Happiness in School and Life
  • Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief
  • The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women
  • Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween
  • Schoolgirls: Young Women, Self Esteem, and the Confidence Gap
  • Getting Played: African American Girls, Urban Inequality, and Gendered Violence
  • Women of Color and Feminism: Seal Studies

Share This Book

“Many of the most accomplished girls are disconnecting from the truest parts of themselves, sacrificing essential self-knowledge to the pressure of who they think they ought to be.” 10 likes
“Shame is a virus that creates paralysis in its hosts. When you're busy telling yourself what a bad person you are, you expend most of your energy obsessing over your self- not what you may have done wrong, not what you can do to fix it. For this reason, shame creates a moat around girls' potential. It limits their ability or willingness to face challenges. It makes them want to be alone, isolating them from friends, their most important buffer against stress. Shame is therefore a major threat to girls' resilience.” 8 likes
More quotes…