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Daughters of the Revolution
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Daughters of the Revolution

2.57 of 5 stars 2.57  ·  rating details  ·  338 ratings  ·  95 reviews
From the O. Henry Award–winning author of the story collection The Bostons—a New York Times Notable Book, Los Angeles Times Book of the Year and winner of the PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers—an exquisite first novel set at a disintegrating New England prep school.

It’s 1968. The prestigious but cash-strapped Goode School in the town of Cape Wilde is run by its agi
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Hardcover, 192 pages
Published June 7th 2011 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,175)
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Janice
The description was not entirely accurate--I was expecting a tale of the headmaster and the first girl to attend the school instead of disjointed tales about characters with ties to the school. I never really felt like we got to know any of the characters--there was a detachment, a coldness about the story-telling that kept one from engaging with the characters--maybe a deliberate New England stiffness to the whole thing?
I would have actually loved a story that matched the description on the b
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Rachelheavers
Blech.

Is there some MFA professor out there that is telling students not to worry about character development and plot, just focus on overly detailed sexual exploits? Because a whole school of contemporary authors, this one included, seems to think that one can effectivly replace the other. Not true.

I've said this before, but I will say it again. No one cares about your thinly veiled autobiographical references to your rich prep school or Seven Sisters College experiences. Please stop using the
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Laurie
I read this book in one day, partly because it was short (173 pages) and partly because I had nothing else to do while sitting on a bus in two hours of traffic. The beginning of this book confused me because I had read the inside jacket cover and nowhere in that little synopsis were the characters in the first chapter mentioned. I had no idea what was going on. And then we time traveled in the next chapter, and then we switched years again, and then we switched perspective, and then ... yeah. Th ...more
Trudi
An odd book. While I recognize the quality of the writing, I didn't really much like the story - kind of unusual as it's subject matter (the 60s, the feminist movement, integration, etc) is of interest to me. But I didn't make a connection with any of the characters. It's about a private boys school which is, inadvertently, opened to girls when a clerical error is made. So it concerns Carole Faust, the black girl who is the first female student at the Goode School, Goddard (God) Byrd, the headma ...more
Laurel-Rain
In the beginning of this historical tale that spans the years between the 1960s to the Millennium and beyond, we meet a man with the unlikely name of Heck Hellman. A kayaking adventure and a tragic drowning set the scene for the unfolding legacy and drama of this character's progeny EV Hellman and her mother Mei-Mei.

The backdrop of this tale is a school in Cape Wilde, headed by Goddard Byrd (known as God) that plunges us into another kind of legacy: the private educational system in New England,
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Martine Taylor
Based on the book blurb, I was expecting a book focused on a black teenage girl's experience as the first girl in an all-boy prep school. Instead, this book is more a series of short-stories focusing on key people from that event, across 20 years. The characters are interesting - not entirely likable or predictable - and the author seems to enjoy poking fun at her characters. The most interesting character surprisingly ends up being "God", the "venerable head" of the all-boys school, who remains ...more
Cher
The interconnected stories of “Daughters of the Revolution” read as a collection of stories rather than a fully-fleshed novel. The writing is clever but I found it disappointing that the author, Carolyn Cooke, failed to explore the ultimately unsympathetic characters leaving me without a reason to invest in this book. This novel got great reviews, but I just couldn’t connect with it. The passage about the surgically attached forehead nipple continues to irk me.
Adam
What this book did for me, personally, was contextualize the term revolution with feelings and emotions that largely deal with voids of all kinds. It occurred to me, most poignantly through our unseemly-yet-not-indefatigable lead, that our relationship with a void is primarily how we do deal with revolutions. Throughout the book, I began seeing how different characters may see loss in ways that I had not truly (or fully) considered. When the characters confront revolution through interactions wi ...more
Robin
The themes were interesting, but the characters were not. None of them were developed in enough depth to be compelling. Overall, it felt like a flat, feminist version of a John Irving novel.
Emily
Excellent tight prose and compelling characterization.
Tim
Carolyn Cooke's DAUGHTERS OF THE REVOLUTION is a revelation. Set in a New England private school for boys, the novel portrays women who are strong, lusty, intelligent, insightful, and loving. Cooke presents the novel from a variety of narrative perspectives, and the narrators are pitch perfect - Heck Hellman, the drowned medical student; Mei Mei, his wife; EV, his daughter; Carole Faust, the first female (mistakenly and improbably) admitted to Goode School, run by the imperious Goddard Byrd ("Go ...more
Judith
I can't really explain why this book grabbed me and held my attention so strongly, but I picked it up one night and couldn't go to sleep till I finished it. It's really a small story set against the backdrop of the sexual revolution, integration, and the struggle for gender equality. The action takes place over a 40 year period in the Northeast, mostly Boston, between the 60's and present time. Its focus is a boys' prep school which is fighting to hold its long standing tradition of excluding fe ...more
Carolyn
Eh... Historically accurate. At times it read semi text book like. The characters were rather bland. Several sex scenes uncalled for and useless. It started out dull and I was hoping it'd get better. Still first novels are difficult. I do have great faith in this author because she has done her research. I just believe the characters should be fleshed out a bit more so I can care and empathize for and with them.
Danna
I started Daughters of the Revolution and was immediately intrigued. However, I was disappointed to find that each chapter read more like a short story, and less like a novel. While the stories are interconnected, the feel for me as a reader was that they were disjointed. It was difficult to follow the transitions, the narrators, and the characters. I wanted to know more about each, but then a few short pages later, he or she was gone - not to reappear for 50 or 60 pages. There are a few histori ...more
Lauren Becker
Daughters of the Revolution is a wonderful novel filled with gorgeous, funny stories that weave together and apart through the sexual and cultural revolutions of the late 60s/early 70s. Not to be mistaken for a collection of short stories, Cooke maintains central characters in a boys' school transitioning to co-education and in EV, daughter of an early and unapologetic sexual revolutionary.

Cooke's writing is effortless, masterful, and stunning. Even supporting characters are nurtured with descr
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Lindsey
This would be a good book for a book club. I would enjoy discussing the book's perspective on feminism, class, power and patriarchy, which I appreciate as being powerful and well-done. Reading it by myself I wasn't able to grasp the full depth of it. There is a lot of symbolism that I did not fully grasp, such as the odd names of all the characters and what that meant.

The characters largely depressed me, except for Carole, who I found fascinating and of a unique perspective. I was annoyed at tim
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Jeanne
Sep 11, 2011 Jeanne rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jeanne by: EW
Let me begin by stating that this novel is not what the review described it as, nor is it what the blurb on the dust jacket portrayed it to be.

First, and foremost, this is more of a collection of interconnected stories than a novel.

Our stories begin with the tragic drowning of Heck Hellman--husband, father, medical student, and graduate of Goode School in the town of Cape Wilde.

What follows are the stories of Heck's daughter, EV, and wife, Mei-Mei, Goddard Byrd, the head of Goode School, and Car
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Ashley
Gave up on page 132. The book started out promising. Not my favorite, but it at least held my attention. As the story lines moved along their interest dwindled and I was unable to keep up with the intellectual rhetoric. I understand the plot centers around the 1960's feminist movement. However, the method which the author takes in attempting to recreate this enviornment I do not think best highlights the struggles occuring at this time period. There is too much going on, too many characters, too ...more
Janet
The inside cover states that this is a story about the first female, who happens to be black, at a boys prep school in the Northeast. The novel tells her story but many others and is written more as a series of short stories about characters lives and their connections over several years.

I gave the book only three stars because I didn't love it, and although I could not really relate to any of the characters, they are staying with me and I find myself thinking about them now that I have finished
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Circe
As other reviewers mentioned, the description of this book is quite misleading. It doesn't just follow Carole (who is the first girl at an all boys private school) it also follows the lives of a few other people who are associated with the school. Unfortunately, although the characters were interesting and complex I think the author was a bit too ambitious for the ~300 pages of the book. The plot is hard to follow at times when the chapters jump decades at a time and I found it hard to fully und ...more
Sandra
Like Carolyn Cooke's first book, The Bostonians, each chapter was interealated. There were some basic characters and each was written about and how they played into each others lives. Each chapter focused on one of the characters and how one of the other affected their life. Then this was repeated with another in character in the next chapter. It was hard to put down as I felt a part of each of their lives. I felt like a fly on the wall able to see how characters lives unfolded.
Her style is ver
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Nadia
Somehow, this is not at all what I thought it would be. Very disjointed, for one thing. I'm still trying to find a thread that ties it all together. Perhaps it will be apparent once I've finished the whole thing - if I get that far.

.......Ok, I did finish it. While there was a surprise I didn't see coming at the end, I'm still a little disappointed. While the writing is excellent, the book is more a collection of short stories in which some of the characters happen to overlap than a body of fict
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Moira
Oh! This writer, Carolyn Cooke. I just, I don't know, I want to follow her around a boozy apartment party, handing her drinks and picking shed hairs off the back of her sweater. This book is exhilarating and embarrassing. I loved it. I demand she write more books immediately.

(NB: I laughed out loud, in public, when I glanced at the author photo inside the back book jacket flap. The contrast between these flinty New Englanders and their author is delightful.)
Jennifer
Author, Carolyn Cooke, has won for her first book of short stories, the New York Times Notable Book, Los Angeles Times Book of the Year and winner of the PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers.

This is the story of a boys prep school that has resisted accepting women until, by mistake, they enroll a black girl. It's 1968 and this book explores girls and women finding their way in an age when they finally have the freedom to choose their futures.
Djrmel
More a set of linked short stories than a novel, there's so little solid story telling in this book that it goes nowhere. The settings are handled well enough, with obvious references to actual historical events thrown in to establish the time period, but the characters read like plot devices more than people. They're there to demonstrate the societal changes that were occurring for women, not to be flesh and blood lives of their own.
Jennifer
I loved the nyc apartment building stuff! plus a few times I wanted to tweet some phrases, carolyn has an amazing ear for the ridiculous sound bite - I'm really glad I got this book at the berkeley public library, had seen it at the Center for Fiction but of course was broke and so just spent a dollar on Edmund White's literary journalistic classic, States of Desire, in order to one day pass it on to somebody. A meandering review, i know.
Patricia
A little all over the place but compelling all the same. I enjoyed the characters EV and her mom Mei Mei but everything was too disjointed! I guess the point you're supposed to carry with this is how the sexual revolution effected change gradually and affected people across the spectrum in different ways. Lots of strings left untied, but i guess that quirky mystery works in this novel. Powerful women always leave you scratching your head.
Amy
Yuk! I would have put this down and not finished it, but it was only 170 pages and I haven't been to the library this week. It usually like when the chapters are told by different characters and yet they all interwine, this book however, was loosely connected and honestly never made me care. The writing had the characters so inside their own heads sometimes, it didn't even make sense. don't bother w/these Daughters.
Courtney
This book confused me. The inner flap said it would be about an error that was made in a prestigious all-male prep school when a black girl is admitted. The girl barely had a plotline throughout the story. Instead, it focused on other characters, who were at least kind of related to the prep school. It read like vignettes instead of a cohesive novel. The writing was good but I didn't leave the novel with a strong impression.
Nihan
İsmi ve konusu ilgimi çekmişti ve sanırım beklentim yüksekti ama yanılmışım. Dibe batmış karakterlerin etrafında dönüyor kitap ve tutarlılık diye bir olay mevzu bahis değil asla. Kopuk kopuk ve gereksiz birçok ayrıntı var. Devrim güç gerektiren bir durumdur ama kitaptaki karakterler güç kelimesinin yakınından bile geçmiyor. Kirli hayatlar... Yeraltı edebiyatına pek olumlu bir bakış açısı kazandırmadı bu kitap bana.
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