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The Diary of a Teenage Girl

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  1,098 ratings  ·  117 reviews
"I don't remember being born. I was a very ugly child. My appearance has not improved so I guess it was a lucky break when he was attracted by my youthfulness."So begins the wrenching diary of Minnie Goetze, a fifteen-year-old girl longing for love and acceptance and struggling with her own precocious sexuality. Minnie hates school and she wants to be an artist, or maybe a ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 14th 2002 by Frog Books (first published January 31st 2000)
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333rd out of 2,049 books — 4,587 voters
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10th out of 94 books — 22 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,631)
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This is so different from your average growing-up story, so startling, so true - and also so painful to watch bad choices on top of bad choices driven by the need to be loved - that I'm giving it five stars even though I couldn't read every word of it. It was like watching a slow motion train wreck; sometimes I had to turn my head. The graphics are simply amazing in their skill and their honesty. It takes place in San Francisco in the 1970's and it's dead-on - I was there. I feel like I've spent ...more
Feb 11, 2008 Stephanie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: tormented teens
Recommended to Stephanie by: Beth
I finally got to read this book, thanks to Beth's generous loan. I'm so glad I read this. Phoebe Gloeckner's tale of a 15 year old girl growing up in San Francisco brought back a lot of memories of my own teen years, good and bad. I especially enjoy how the author doesn't moralize about the protagonist's situation. It's simply presented in stark terms, just as the character would have experienced life.

In many ways, Minnie doesn't have the capacity to say, "Whoa! This situation is really fucked
Katy Johnson
May 10, 2007 Katy Johnson rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who are open minded and not prone to outrage
Highly disturbing, shocking, and unapologetic. The climax to an adolescent literature class I took, this graphic novel made me sick to my stomach at times for its honesty, and while it is nowhere near the story of my adolescence, it is the story of many girls'. Our professor left us with the question, "Would you let your child read this book?" and I was surprised with myself that I couldn't find an answer.
Quitting after 120 pages, maybe halfway through. Just an unfun, tedious, sometimes revolting read.

Minnie is an unhappy teenager (well that's original) growing up in 70s San Francisco. She has tons of creepy sex with her mother's boyfriend, and a rich senior from school, and a psychotic psych-ward denizen. And the rich senior's best friend, I think. I kind of lost track. She fills her diary with angsty, melodramatic ruminations on boys and sex and loneliness and more sex and sad poems and sad dra
This is not the type of book I usually read.

A book about an angsty teenager that basically is a picture book? That's usually not something I would go for. But for some reason I did read it. And I really enjoyed it. It's one of the few graphic novels I've ever read and liked having pictures in the book more than I thought I would.

Minnie is a 15 year old growing up in San Francisco in the '70s. I want to mention before I even talk about the substance of the story, that I grew up in San Francisco.
Nov 10, 2008 Ciara rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: honestly--teenage girls
so, i guess this is the autobiographical account of the author's troubled teendom in the 70s, the child of a divorced mom who seems to be dating a series of pretty questionable dudes. there's plenty of sex, drugs, & rock & roll, pretty much all of which skeeved me out to the max. not to wreck it, but the protag at some point bones her mom's boyfriend. does it gets any grosser than that? i mean, it's consensual & all (as consensual as it can be between a teenage girl & her mom's 7 ...more
I highly recommend reading this difficult story toward the end goal of eliminating child abuse and neglect, not to mention other evils in our modern American culture. (I.e. illegal drugs) Evil things can happen to our kids as they grow into adults. We should be supportive and involved in their lives. We should provide as safe an environment as we can, and tell our kids and adolescents we love them. We should make time to listen to them as they struggle. Indeed it can be a tough thing to grow up. ...more
Bonnie G.
I am not sure I like this book. Have you seen the movie Towelhead? It has to do w/a Middle Eastern girl coming of age in suburbs of TX during the messy transition from the 80s to the 90s, finding sexual awakening w/another teenager, but also getting fondled and molested by a blonde-haired, blue eyed pedophile neighbor who also is involved w/the military? Anyway, the unease with the sexual desires of adolescent girls stems from this book-w/an affair w/a much older male (pretty much teen molestati ...more
3:17 PM The Diary of a Teenage Girl by Phoebe Gloeckner is really good
The voice of Minnie Goetz at age 15 is so precise, so immediate, that I believe Gloeckner had to have used her own exact diary entries

3:18 PM and if we can assume a lot of the narrative is autobiographical, then that means Gloeckner had a pretty fucked up childhood + teenage years, but as an adult, she seems to be in a better place now. Married with a couple kids, an Associate Professor at Univ. of Michigan

3:20 PM I heard abo
I thoroughly enjoyed Diary of a Teenage Girl. It has been what I was searching out for some time. I have an intense interest in the human condition but many of the recent novels I have picked up were too severe for my current state of mind. I have picked up and put down authors ranging from Lucy Greeley to Chuck Palahniuk, but Gloeckner really captured my attention with her raw account of what it was like to be a 15 year old girl with an alcoholic mother in CA during the end of the sexual revolu ...more
This was more of a memoir than a graphic novel. I found her bleak confused story to be very depressing. A book about teen life that's not really for teen readers.

Also, I've never seen so many ugly illustrations of testicles in my life. I feel like I need some bright shiny gay porn to get those images out of my head.
May 03, 2010 MariNaomi rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to MariNaomi by: Melaina Eller
Shelves: graphic
Wow. This book was so many things, disturbing being the most prominent. Less obviously, the narrator is sweet, sociopathic, romantic, completely self-consumed, bitter, hopeful... Gloeckner's writing unapologetically captures the aching dramaticism of adolescence, as well as the potential downward spiral of drug overuse, and then tops it off with the resilience of youth. My crazy teens weren't nearly this interesting or dysfunctional, but I could identify with bits here and there, particularly th ...more
Wow. This book is pretty intense. Kind of like a more artsy and less secretly-produced-by-the-catholic-church Go Ask Alice only replete with really cool illustrations and full-scale narrative lapses into comic panels. The whole book is written as though it was the diary of a troubled, drug-addled, sexually promiscuous teenage girl, only the situation is complex - she is full of teen angst, but she is also talented, bright and sympathetic. She has a secret relationship with her mother's boyfriend ...more
I was really excited about the comics dispersed throughout the book, but I really really could not get behind the writing style. So I'm putting it down & don't want to return to it. It didn't feel like a diary at all and just seemed completely unrealistic. Plus I just wasn't interested in the narrator. I much prefer Girl by Blake Nelson when it comes to a diary-type novel.
This is a book that is very easy to get caught up in. The illustrations are really great. I love 1970's San Francisco. I feel like I know this person when I'm reading this book. It can be disturbing, but it feels very real. I want to hug Minnie and be her friend, and tell her she's so talented and beautiful.
Courageous and ground-breaking, this part-memoir part-graphic novel explores a childhood colored by neglect, incest (her stepfather), and drugs. A must-read for survivors of childhood abuse.
heartbreaking/making, brilliant. all men should be made to read this book & all ladies should read because you want to. and you'll love it.
i. merey
A blend of unconventional and classic:
Both in the storytelling and the themes of the story.
Broke my heart.
Loved it.
This book, while disturbing, was hard to put down. As I'm sure others have written, the maturity of a grown woman writing this diary as an adolescent and writing the adults brings a heavy perspective to the events of the novel. I grew up reading graphic novels and miss them, and this was such a great combination of novel and comics. Once you read the credits in the end, the inevitable question of how autobiographical the story really is becomes escapable, especially given much of the eerily desc ...more
Jenny Devildoll
Having read Gloeckner's previous collection "A Child's Life" which tells of the Minnie character's life as a little girl, it is easy to see where the stage has been set for things which transpire when Minnie is a teenager. The stepfather Pascal, a central, looming figure in the earlier book, is now divorced from Minnie's mother and reduced to writing meandering and vaguely desperate letters to Minnie in a bid to retain some sort of "fatherly" influence in her life, but his wreckage is apparent. ...more
When I first ordered this book, I thought it was a graphic novel, and then I received it to discover that it's part diary with illustrations and short graphic novel stories interspersed throughout. At first, I thought, what the heck is this? Pick a genre and stick to it! But then I read it, and I was actually pleasantly surprised at how the genre mixing complimented and informed one another. In the diary, you get what you would expect from a teenage girl's perspective: her worries, fears, obsess ...more
Taken from
Gloeckner's latest, a combination of comics and prose, follows the sexual misadventures and coming-of-age of Minnie Goetze, a troubled teenager very much reminiscent of Gloeckner, as she stumbles toward adulthood in 1970s San Francisco. Minnie's diary details the loss of her virginity to Monroe, her mother's less than devoted boyfriend. She falls in love with him, though he continues to sleep with Minnie's self-absorbed, drunken mother. A hellish adolescence follows: Minnie
Holy shit, what a book! Not a young adult novel in the traditional sense but a really complex, densely textured coming of age novel that explores some seriously complicated dynamics between kids and adults. Also a really sympathetic look at promiscuity and the ways in which it might begin as kind of a pathology in very young girls but it is by no means any kind of life sentence. I've always been frustrated by the ways in which girls' books are already at a disadvantage because the male gaze is t ...more
I have to say maybe I'm too old to "get" this book.
About a teenage girl and her issues with sex and drugs and life in general....

So begins the wrenching diary of Minnie Goetze, a fifteen-year-old girl longing for love and acceptance and struggling with her own precocious sexuality. Minnie hates school and she wants to be an artist, or maybe a speleologist, or a bartender. She sleeps with her mother's boyfriend, and yet is too shy to talk with boys at school. She forges her way through adolescenc
What to say, what to say? Well, it certainly wasn't what I was expecting. It was so raw and pure I found myself going back to my teenage years. Although I hadn't done most of the things Minnie did at a 15 year old, I understood her feelings of loneliness, not being understood, no adult supervision or the wrong kind, and pent up sexual desire. I hated the book at first because it brought me back to those "whiny" years where I didn't have an identity. Then I realized this book doesn't shy away fro ...more
Karen Klein
I enjoyed this book because I felt it was very real. I love how the author showed Minnie's internal struggle as she was trying to figure out her feelings and emotions throughout the book. Towards the end, I really did to start to like Minnie a lot and I love how the book ended. It was not a concrete ending, but enough to finish the book nicely.
My first exposure to Phoebe Gloeckner's work was about 12 years ago, when I was still a young teenage girl trying to figure out how to cope with my sexuality. Gloeckner's protagonists are exploited and abused, but they also have great verve and agency--a truthful but very confusing mix of attributes.

As an adult "The Diary of a Teenage Girl" appeals to me further. The combination of raw teenage diary entries combined with comics that are drawn from a retrospective adult perspective captured my c
Jenny Donahue
One of my favorite books. Raw portrait of an introspective and lost teenage girl experimenting with sex and drugs in 70's San Francisco. This is somewhat based on Gloeckner's life growing up in the city. As a Bay Area local I can recognize many of the streets and views in the book. The author is also an alumni of my school, SF State. Half of the book is told in comic form. The illustrations of the characters, remind of caricatures with their exaggerated, innocent features. Visually this novel is ...more
i have extremely mixed feelings on this book. while i absolutely admire the writer's style and intent (i.e. give voice to a young girl's coming of age experience) this book was not a pleasant read. the main character, minnie, is very likable but it was very hard for me to read about her illicit affair with her mother's boyfriend. as well as with her best friend. as well as with a stranger in a park. etc. i understand that not every young woman has identical experiences, and i am grateful for glo ...more
A pretty amazing document of words, delivered in a voice that feels more or less pitch-perfect-- flat, affectless except when it's not, profane and good, along with comix that supplement and sometimes but not always take up the story.... This is a really solid piece of work, one I used to hear about a lot when it came out but which I think has maybe been forgotten under the avalanche of other, "all-picture" versions like Ariel Shrag's and Alison Bechdel's.

My one concern is the ending, which I d
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