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

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,181 Ratings  ·  276 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

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Apr 03, 2016 Carmen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No One



This book is a mildly fictionalized version of Gloeckner's real life. I'm just going to spell out what happens here, because trying to pair what happens with my emotion might lead to vomiting and bloodshed. This is how it goes:

- Monroe (
Jan 08, 2009 Joe rated it it was amazing
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 really liked it
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 liked it  ·  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.
May 29, 2014 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
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.
Sep 14, 2015 Laureen rated it did not like it
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
Apr 08, 2015 flannery rated it it was amazing
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
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
Mar 21, 2015 David rated it it was amazing
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
Jill Collins
Aug 15, 2015 Jill Collins rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
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
Nov 10, 2008 Ciara rated it it was ok
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
May 31, 2012 Vicky rated it it was amazing
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 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
Feb 27, 2015 Zedsdead rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
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
Feb 18, 2016 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels, i-own
The Diary of a Teenage Girl was perfect. It had the perfect amount of graphic novel parts and the perfect amount of diary entries with just words. There were beautiful sketches throughout. And although it may not be a perfect representation of exactly all teenage girls during that time, but it's who Minnie Goetz was is in this book. I wanted to pick up this book every second because I truly cared what happened to Minnie. It really interests me how parts of the book are real diary entries from Ph ...more
Art is not supposed to make you comfortable, which is what I kept telling myself while reading this book. It was excruciating to read at times, but as an artistic achievement it is really impressive, and I appreciate the truth that the writer is trying to get at. It is a 4 or 5 star read in terms of quality but my level of discomfort and distress made it hard for me to rate it that way. To say that Minnie's experience is anything less than completely screwed up is wrong. She is taken advantage o ...more
Christina Mitchell
Nov 16, 2015 Christina Mitchell rated it liked it
I need to choose my words carefully for this review. I need to choose my words carefully because I do not really know what to think of this book, whether to like it or hate it. I bought the book following Phoebe Gloeckner's interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air. Please know, I do not wish to give spoilers, but I think at least one spoiler might occur. I will try to choose my words carefully.

In the Fresh Air interview, Gross broached the subject of the affair between Gloeckner and Gloeckner's m
Apr 23, 2008 Alison rated it really liked it
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.
Kate Alleman
Aug 26, 2015 Kate Alleman rated it really liked it
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
Jan 24, 2016 Jessica rated it liked it

This was hard to read, because it was so cuttingly teenage.

I'd forgotten how strong things felt then, how new everything was, how difficult it was to experience things for the first time. This is what it was like. Minnie's emotions, her experiences, the way she feels and copes - this is what it was like.
I think the author puts it best in her preface to the Revised Edition:

The question I've most often been asked about this book is, "Is it true? Is it about your own experience?" I am conf
Jan 19, 2016 Alison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Equally disturbing and compelling. When I first started it, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to go on: it really does read like the diary of a teenage girl. (Some of the statements in the entries seem vapid or wildly non sequitur. Like, immediately after telling a disturbing fact about what just happened to her or what she willingly participated in, she'll say, "I really like candy.")
But then, suddenly, I found myself completely drawn in. By the end, I felt so angry at the adults who should
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
Vulgar and shocking!

Mixed feelings for this one and it's been on my TBR list for quite some time. I didn't know what I was in for and the prologue warns you well enough but I didn't expect any of it to unfold the way it did, it's almost like a horror story.

People are saying not to read this if you're under 18 and yet the book is targeted for 15-year-olds so I'm glad I waited til this age to read it because it's not like I'm shy of the graphic material but here, the bar was raised! A little too
Taryn Pierson
As the last days of 2015 drained away, so did my attention span. I wanted to read, but I couldn’t engage, especially in the last few days before Christmas, when I was anxiously anticipating the receipt of a few specific books as gifts and the ones already on my shelf or freely available at the library had lost their shine. The books in my hand weren’t as appealing as those in the bush (or, in this case, under the tree).

Enter this graphic novel, just in time to salvage my end-of-year pre-holiday
Iowa City Public Library
From Frances:

I will grant that I am a little tardy to the party on this book as it originally came out back in 2002, but it was recently adapted into a film directed by Marielle Heller starring Bel Powley in the titular role, but also Kristin Wiig and Alexander Skarsgard. Besides being excited for the movie because it was playing at Iowa City’s own FilmScene, the director of the movie AND the author of the book were interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air. Being the library worker such that I am I figure
Bonnie G.
Jul 27, 2009 Bonnie G. rated it really liked it
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
Sep 25, 2015 Ellie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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 really liked it
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
Aug 20, 2015 Nicole rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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.
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