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The Diary of a Teenage Girl: An Account in Words and Pictures

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  1,426 ratings  ·  176 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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Community Reviews

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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.
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 recognized a lot of things in myself in Minnie, the main protagonist of this complex novel/memoir/comic. I first discovered the concept of sex via the internet and looking back and the smut I wrote in my thirteen year-old-diary, I laugh at how stupid I was. Everything was passion and fire, sweat and kisses, loving and hard. Condoms, a true understanding of female sexual anatomy (the clitoris, the labia and all those fun bits), and most importantly the knowledge of what a sexual relationship be ...more
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
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
The foreword of this book noted that the author was asked if this was her story, since excerpts came from her diary. Her answer was, "It's about all girls. It's not my story. It's our story." Um, I beg to differ. This is NOT a universal story or how most teenagers grow up. It's certainly not my story - and of no teenager I know, thank God. Maybe I'm a prude (I don't think so) or maybe it's my Catholic upbringing, but I don't know a single teenager that ever talked or acted like Minnie. I was exp ...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
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
Sep 26, 2015 Tash marked it as to-read
I saw the movie recently, it got me thinking, so naturally I will read the book.
Jill Collins
I could never enjoy Lolita and I always thought it was because I was incapable of getting beyond the emotional impact of her abuse to see the greater conceptual value of the novel, but here I find a book I voraciously consume despite it being devastating as detailed account of sexual abuse and parental neglect. It occurred to me my problem with Lolita is not the abuse she suffers, but that her abuse seems to be used solely as a means to make her abuser an interesting character worthy of explorat ...more
Kate Alleman
Okay so I really was enjoying this story until the end. I liked the mixture of comics, still life's, and text to portray a diary format. I liked Minnie's character despite her awful, immature decision making. There was a caring undertone to her entries. Then I got to the part where she becomes a drug addict. It was honest, but hard to read.

I can see how many people might get mad or offended by the content of this story. Underage sex with her mother's lover, getting drunk and experimenting with
Phoebe Gloeckner's "The Diary of a Teenage Girl," while at times a difficult read because of its occasionally harrowing subject matter, is a masterpiece of a coming-of-age story. Using text and comic images (inspired by her early mentors, Robert Crumb and Aline Kominsky), Ms. Gloeckner weaves a tale of a strong-spirited young woman as she navigates the tricky terrain of an adolescence complicated by sexual and substance abuse. I loved the voice of Minnie, her semi-autobiographical protagonist, w ...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
This story is so hard to believe and makes you want to throw down the book in frustration, thinking to yourself "How could anyone write such a depressing story?"

And then you realize that the stories and the characters and the plot are all completely real and you find yourself wanting to cry.

The Diary of a Teenage Girl is a brutally honest collection of experiences. I know I found myself being grateful for all the people in my life who unconditionally love me because Minnie could not seem to fin
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
In the preface, the author says that this is not "about" teen sexuality or trauma, it's really just about life (and these are parts of Minnie's life). I wholeheartedly agree. All the characters are so fleshed out and so relatable, even when they're doing stupid or horrible things or when they are (superficially at least) nothing like you. Minnie's writing feels very real.

This book is perfect except for the title, which just feels trite and embarrassing.
You have to really be OK with teenage sexuality to enjoy this book. Of course if you are having sex under the age of 18 in most states you are considered legally to be a child. Meaning the character Minnie in this book is a child having sex. Also, with her mom's boyfriend who is old enough to be her dad.

I felt like from a story perspective it was well told. Phoebe (the author) is coy about how true this is from her own life, but details of the character parallel her childhood and the edition of
Heidi Kuchta
SPOILERS! This book was often really fun to read but was occasionally VERY DIFFICULT to read. It deals with traumatic themes like: 1. Being a teenage girl and sleeping with a much older man who is totally smug, self-satisfied, and evil. 2. Being a teenage girl and dealing with dating abuse from your peers. 3. Being a teenage girl and abusing drugs, almost for lack of anything better to do. The narrator has that pretty typically teenage attitude of: I am just floating down this river of life, una ...more
Josh Luft
The Diary of a Teenage Girl is a compelling, necessary work. It consists of diary entries, drawings and comics by Minnie Goetze, a lively, endearing, and sometimes-troubled 15-year-old living in 1976 San Francisco, who, like pretty much every teenager, is mentally and physically all about that sex. She is a fantastic protagonist who provides a crucial look inside a teenage female mind.

I saw the film adaptation before reading the book. It's an excellent adaptation that's fairly faithful to the so
Debbie Armbruster
I rarely go with two stars - mostly because I feel it's misleading. This was NOT a bad book. "It was ok" is basically how I have described it to friends, so I'll go with that.

Minne Goetz is a 15 year old girl, growing up in San Fransisco in the 1970's. She experiences her sexual awakening by hooking up with her mother's boyfriend. Ookie? Yeah, but not earth-shattering by today's standards. This "relationship" continues throughout the book, and Minnie experiences disappointment after disappointme
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 review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
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.
A harder edged, more explicit, updated 'The Catcher In The Rye' style novel of a tumultuous life of a 1070s San Fransisco teenager. It covers that terrain in more adult bildungsroman novels where leaving the world of childhood doesn't necessarily mean you face a gradual uphill climb through adolescence to adulthood. Minnie, the protagonist, is catapult into the adult world follow her sexual awakening at the hands of her mother's boyfriend. Minnie has neither the maturity, support or adult sensib ...more
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“You have to live simply to survive happily.” 2 likes
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