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Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen: A Novel
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Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen: A Novel

3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  539 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Alix Kates Shulman's Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen created aprofound impact on the cultural landscape when it was originally published in 1972. A sardonic portrayal of one white, middle-class, Midwestern girl's coming-of-age, the novel takes a wry and prescient look at a range of experiences treated at the time as taboo but which were ultimately accepted as matters of major...more
Paperback, 296 pages
Published March 6th 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1972)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,124)
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Jessica
Apr 21, 2007 Jessica rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: men who are fascinated by how (albeit fictional) women think; feminist-minded girls or women
When I read this book in high school, I just was too inexperienced to understand it. I didn't really understand what date rape was, or what it's like to meld your identity in that of your guy's, or to feel like no matter how smart you are, what matters more is that you're pretty. I might have liked the book as a piece of fiction then, but I didn't *understand* it. I heard that the book reached it's 30th anniversary, I decided to read it again. Now, I read it with different eyes and appreciated i...more
Wild Women Reviews
All I have to say about this book is...the more things change, the more things stay the same. This feminist novel from the early 70s chronicles tells the tale of an intelligent ex-prom queen. Many of the themes that she faced in the 1950s and 60s are still being faced by many women today: 1) sexual harassment in the workplace; 2) being taken advantage of by young and older men; 3) out of wedlock pregnancy; 4) abortion; 5) societal expectations on women to marry and have children, and so on. It's...more
Kaye
This was an interesting novel that addressed the helpless feelings of women during the 1950's-1960's, when all one could hope for is to become a wife of someone successful. Our heroine is a product of her time, and while she is intelligent, her real sense of value comes from her looks. It is grieviously important to her to know that men find her attractive. She finds that slipping into the ascribed roles of wife, and later mother don't make her any more secure. The anxiety then surrounds a kind...more
Michele
I added this to my to-read shelf because it is overwhelmingly lauded as a brilliant feminist novel. And at times I did strongly relate--I can see how in the 70s some of the topics could have been seen as eye-opening. However, the protagonist is unbearably insipid, the story contradictory in far too many places, and ultimately I just didn't care enough to want to finish.
HeavyReader
Jun 22, 2007 HeavyReader rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one, really
Shelves: fiction
To me, this book is the story of a young woman ruining her life. I wasn't excited about the writing style or the story.

Warning: Sexual assault in this book may trigger some folks.
Jonna Doughty
Okay, I didn't actually read this: I quit after three chapters. While the writing was quite nice, I found myself so depressed that I simply could not continue.
Steph
While I loved this author's autobiographical memoir, Drinking the Rain, this book was tediously insipid. I couldn't finish it.
Elizabeth
Depressing. In fact, I think my book-related crabbiness sparked at least one argument with Sam.
Maile
First book of 2013, and this wasn't what I was expecting. In a good way.

I downloaded this for my ereader months ago, then promptly forgot about it. It was only the other night, when I couldn't sleep, that I reached for my iPad and saw this title staring back at me.

I often go into books blind, and this was no exception. I was drawn in by the title alone. The first chapter did not impress me. I enjoyed the writing style, sure, but I wasn't captivated by the story of Sasha. A woman of twenty four t...more
Therese
Why have I never heard of this book? It's brilliant. I'll be thinking of pieces of it for years.

Sasha is a vain short-sighted slut. She's also a brilliant, solitary philosopher who understands exactly who she is. She is abused by men in a horrible pre-sexual revolution world (was it really that bad? Unbearable if true), and always begs for more. She's selfish to an epic degree, while all the while being very thoughtful and generous in her sociopathy. She grows into a mother who will sacrifice he...more
Carolyn Bunkley
Not what I expected, but in a good way. This is a good story of a young woman coming of age at the end of the era when a woman's sole purpose was to get married and have children, when beauty was prized over brains.
Sasha struggles first to fit in, then to become her own person on her own terms. Her methods may be questionable, but that's because she bases her sole worth on her beauty and desirability. When she discovers philosophy and begins to question the boundaries on her restrictive world,...more
Pamela Esther Nask
Yes...it's all about her.

I got through this book realizing that it had absolutely no impact on me whatsoever. Filled with so much dialogue....."am I pretty enough"......?......how will I know I am really pretty"?????
Can a person be this self centered and boring.....and can a book be interesting and maybe even funny about a woman so consumed about her looks throughout her life?....no
Victoria Grusing
It was one of those books I read before Goodreads that I picked up to read without remembering. It took a few pages to remember to check in my old lists to verify I had read it before. This is not a sign it was a great book for me. The writing is good, just not the kind of story that means much to me.
Marie
This is a tough one. I, being completely dense sometimes, had no idea how old this book was, so to start, I was not completely impressed - I assumed it was someone writing this book as of recent, about their past and I did not find anything more wonderful about this story than others. Theeennn I realized the author wrote this book back when it was not so cool to state these facts, or to be honest about ones life - that made the read much cooler, but I still don't find this book life changing for...more
Laura


Un libro decisamente femminista per una ragazza femminista.
Sasha è l'incarnazione di tutte le donne con il desiderio di essere bellissime e desiderate ma anche intelligenti, istruite e che vogliono distinguersi con comportamenti anticonformisti. Forse è per questo che ci si riconosce così in lei amandola e trovandola antipatica allo stesso tempo.

Ma questo è soprattutto un libro che fa riflettere: quanto è cambiato l'atteggiamento degli uomini e della società nei confronti delle donne negli ultim...more
Kate
I first heard about this book as some kind of feminist manifesto. What it is, is a story of a girl's experiences through life and how it disappoints her. It was fairly depressing. I'm not sure how relevant it is now--I think women feel more confident to speak their minds about how they are treated, but often mothers do push their daughters to be in relationships with the "right" sort of man and girls are still pressured to have sex in the backseats of cars. So maybe it is relevant.
Dennis
Mar 24, 2008 Dennis rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dennis by: Max
I was presented to this book when feminist fiction really began taking off in the mainstream but didn't get around to it immediately. Like a lot of the books of the time, it dwelled on the victimization of women more than on the more positive relationships between the sexes - or maybe I was too sensitive at the time - but it read well and I enjoyed it, maybe because the main character took some responsibilty for her actions instead of being a victim.
Johanna
Honestly, I read this book for the first time when I was 15 and it freaked me out. I loved it, but it just depressed me. And made me happy I wasn't all that beautiful. I read it again recently, and even though I'm in a different place in my life, I was still deeply moved by Sasha's struggle to have an identity and a sense of self moving through eras that don't necessarily....support that. It's beautiful. It's heartbreaking. It makes you think.
Melanie
I was tempted, at first, to stop reading this book because it was so preachy, self-righteous, anti-male, and pretentious. BUT, it did lessen up with that stuff and midway through, I started to really like it- although I never completely understood sasha's choices, I did like her story, and also, was interested in the way that this book highlighted the subtle and obvious sexisms of society that existed in post ww2 usa (and still exist today?)
Stephanie
Jul 05, 2008 Stephanie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Stephanie by: Aunt Jan
Didn't know heading into it that it was a "classic" of the women's lib movement. A few treats in her writing style and ideas. Interesting how easily we create "rules" for ourselves based on what we see, read, experience, and observe. I think anyone can relate to Sasha's story and the mirging realities of the life we are living, the life we think we are living, and the life we always thought we'd live.
Monica
I picked this up because it was by Alix Kates Shulman and I hadn't read it yet. Didn't really like it that much, though. Maybe I just prefer Shulman's memoirs to her fiction, since I wasn't that into her newest, Menage, either. On the other hand, maybe this book is just dated for me. Had I read it back in the '80s, or in 1972, when it was published, it may have made a bigger impact.
Erin
This book was funny, smart, and entertaining. Though it was written in the late 60s/early 70s, it isn't the kind of book that is only good if it's timely. It gets at the vanity of being a woman in modern society, while also wanting to be recognized for one's brains, and the traps women escape or walk into and compromises and joys women make or take everyday.
Ryan Mishap
Feminist consciousness raising novel. I usually like it when people do political message fiction--most professional critics and reviewers don't as if having an ethic or belief sullies art but not having anything you believe in is good--but they have to be written well and have believable characters in addition to the message.
Karen
I went through a phase during which I was obsessed with first-wave feminist coming-of-age stories. I was in high school, and I read them in a state of complete fascination and horror. This one features a home abortion scene that is completely out of hand; it's a lot like the one in the original Alfie, actually.
Ffiamma
la scoperta del corpo, della sessualità, le ribellioni a una società rigida e conformista di una "ex prom queen"- che cerca in tutti i modi di evadere dalla routine di una vita prestabilita e angosciante. molto datato e quasi irrisolto (irriverente il paragone con "lamento di portnoy"- azzardato nella postfazione)
Tasheena Christensen
This was kind of an uneventful memoir, there were a few things that were somewhat interesting, but for the most part it felt like she was just whining a lot. I was bored through most of it. She kept being this uber slut and then wanted to blame everyone else for it - ugh, she was annoying.
Meagan
I picked up this book after reading about the positive way it treated female orgasm, something quite remarkable for it's time. I found it interesting to read a story which both showed how far we've come in terms of women's options and how little has changed. It was certainly worth reading.
booksandcarbs
This book made me wish I still had a "History of Feminist Thought" seminar to attend -- would like to discuss with others. My review is probably more like 3.5 stars, but I'm rounding up because I know parts of this book will stick with me even though I did not love, love it.
Laura
Jan 23, 2008 Laura rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: college-age women
Shelves: fiction
I don't remember the details of this book, but I remember it seemed very true to my own experiences when I read it as a college freshman. I remember feeling that the protagonist and I were much the same person. I should go back and read it for insight into my 19 year old soul
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Raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Alix attended public schools and planned to be a lawyer like her dad. But in college at Case Western Reserve University she was smitten by philosophy and upon graduation moved to New York City to study philosophy at Columbia grad school. After some years as an encyclopedia editor, she enrolled at New York University, where she took a degree in mathematics, and later, whi...more
More about Alix Kates Shulman...
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