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Rhoda: A Life in Stories

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  663 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Over the past ten years, Gilchrist fans have enjoyed glimpses of headstrong, redheaded Rhoda in five previous collections. Here, for the first time, are the collected Rhoda stories - including two new ones - offering a full-blown portrait of a woman worth waiting for: one of contemporary literature's most enchanting characters, in all her wicked glory.

With a high libido an

Paperback, 419 pages
Published November 1st 1995 by Back Bay Books
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4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  663 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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May 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
I love Ellen Gilchrist. Her characters are all sexy, funny, and generally unrealistic in a number of ways, but so fun to read about. I adore Rhoda; she is witty, promiscuous, and downright hilarious. Nothing too deep her, but a lot of fun to read.
Jun 25, 2008 added it
Recommends it for: dont bother
Recommended to Nicole by: i would be upset if someone did that to me
I dont even want to give this book a star. If half a star was a option I would select that. I was ready to meet a exciting redhead southern firecracker bad girl with personality and sass and someone you want to be. Disappointing is not the correct word. First I didnt like that this is pieces of the "Rhoda" character from youth to old age so the story doesnt flow. Then the actual character is someone I simply do not care for, at all. I remember repeatly saying I dont like this woman, I still dont ...more
May 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An all-time favorite character.
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: keeper
It was a good book, short stories, my favorite. I was about to donate until I came to "The Uninsured" at the end of the book. These letters were way before Obamacare and health care reformation(1993). I'm not keeping the entire book, but I am taking these pages out for some noble purpose, not sure what yet. She kind of said FU to the insurance companies until Medicare kicks in. Kind of brave until you realize, she has some money and is very healthy. Of course, her pre-existing condition of psych ...more
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wish Rhoda would reappear in the 2000s; I’d love to catch up with her.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Jul 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I zipped through Rhoda yesterday and
today and ended up liking Rhoda even
more than Dreamy Dreams. Linked stories,
with the same main character, almost a novel
but not quite, is a fun idea. Even the little
discrepancies between the stories
(Just how old was Rhoda when she first got
married, anyway? She is said to be twenty
and nineteen and seventeen in various stories)
add a feeling of authenticity to the book
(Do you always remember just how old you
were when you got married? I somet
Kristy Engel
Feb 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
How in God's name do so many people find Rhoda to be such a wonderful character?! How have so many people rated this book so high? I hated Rhoda. I kept trying to like her, but with each story I just hated her more and more. I wanted to slap her...or for SOMEONE to slap her. I didn't like the writing style either. It was choppy and not just because of the format of the book. This was given to me by a friend who loved it and I had high expectations, but it sure was a hard one to get to the end of ...more
May 13, 2010 rated it did not like it
This was a letdown for me. The first story was one of the best things I have read ever. Rhoda is a totally hilarious, spunky, and unapologetic 8 year old with a serious ax to grind. I had such high hopes. But this collection of short stories goes quickly downhill from there. As an adult Rhoda is whiny, irritating, and crass, with believable but thoroughly unentertaining arrested development issues. With all of the ridiculous talk about her sex life (and accompanying crass vocabulary) I would exp ...more
Apr 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Ellen Gilchrist has skillfully interwoven stories that chronicle the life of Rhoda Manning from early adolescence to late middle age. Rhoda is the very definition of a narcissistic personality thrroughout her self-absorbed life, leaving in her wake bewilderment and harm to her husbands and children in her quest for immediate gratification. This book is very well written with a main character who is memorable for her lack of any redeeming qualities.
Apr 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: women-characters
I love Rhoda Manning! Her life is full of surprises and excitement. Her sense of humor hits me on many levels. This book of short stories about Rhoda's life is one I will keep on my bookshelf to pull out whenever I want to experience the inexplicable life of Rhoda. Thank you to Ellen Gilchrist for telling Rhoda's life.
Christopher Dionesotes
Sep 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
This novel is a marvelous character study done short stories. Rhoda was truly a cantankerous, almost hateful little girl. She grew into adolescence as someone who needed to be the center of things. Everything was all about her. In her adulthood, Rhoda became a tamed, yet accomplished, woman who managed to tie together all the past-life episodes into one person. Rhoda is a very fun read.

Jan 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Stacy by: Jim Whitehead
Shelves: fiction
I have read almost all of Ellen Gilchrist's books and this one is my favorite. Starcarbon was the most powerful, but her Rhoda character is by far the best and this is a whole book of Rhoda. I met Ms. Gilchrist a few times in Fayetteville and she is so charming. I also love Drunk with Love and In the Land of Dreamy Dreams.
Jun 02, 2008 rated it liked it
A series of short stories about Rhoda-- a narcissistic, wild, complicated, feisty woman whom you can't help but like most of the time. Though by the last 100 pages or so I was ready to see how it would all end. I also found it a little disconcerting in the short story format--the flow of it all I guess you might say.
Jul 30, 2014 rated it liked it
I liked this book much more in the 2nd half than I did the first. While Rhoda is pretty crazy, I like the message that she finally gets to...which is to be happy with yourself.

3 stars because I wasn't in love with the format. While the stories were chronological, there were too many gaps and I'm left with all kinds of questions about the people in Rhoda's life.
Jan 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I love all of her books. She interweaves the characters in all her stories, at different ages, so you really get the long view. plus I read that she didn't start to write until age 40! If that's true, she's my hero.
Cheryl DeFranceschi
Feb 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Ellen Gilchrist is a joy to read. There were moments that I was so attuned to Rhoda's wavelength that I was utterly transported from my here and now. Such keenly felt character studies are rare, and this one was a true pleasure.
Sep 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
I can't say enough good things about Ellen Gilchrist. Her books are like candy to me....I have read all of them, most of them at least twice. Her characters are vain and self-absorbed, and I can't get enough of them!
Apr 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
I truly enjoyed Net of Jewels when I was in my early 20's and came across a cheap copy of this recently and had to reacquaint myself with the selfish, impetuous, but completely adorable Rhoda. A woman who truly lives not matter the cost to herself or anyone else.
Sep 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Ellen Gilchrist is the author that brought me back to reading for pleasure after college. Reading her short stories makes you feel smarter, funnier, and sexier, and Rhoda is her most alluring character.
Aug 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is one of my favorite of ALL TIME!!!!! She is the woman that I identify with in my mind. I do not have the ability to be her but at times, even through all the crap, i wish to be her. To live as she lived. God I love this book!!!!
Oct 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
"Rhoda didn't actually read books. She inhabited them. She moved into the page and across the barriers of space and time."

"He was counting the months he might live. He thought it would be twenty-four but it turned out to be a lifetime after all."
Kelly Cavanaugh
Jul 26, 2007 added it
Recommends it for: anyone
What can I say...if you haven't met Rhoda you must! Ellen Gilchrist is a genious. If you like getting lost in books then this is your gal.
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
This book ended up with a 3.5 it sort of dragged on for me ... dragging in the beginning and at the end.
Jan 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
One of the best story collections ever published. I love it.
Rhoda Gary
Jan 02, 2011 rated it did not like it
Bought it because my name is Rhoda and it is not a name I see very often. I don't think I even finished the book. But if I did, I don't remember. That's how uninterested in this book I was!!!
Apr 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
My whole family loves Rhoda (and Ellen Gilchrist)! That's why we're all going to the Book-It Repertory Theater to see a play based on her character. She's sassy.
Jenny D.
May 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
Rhoda is Gilchrist's most memorable and autobiographical character. This collection was a wonderful tribute.
Feb 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved the gutsy character and the flavor of the South in the living.
Jan 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE Rhoda!!!!!
Some of these stories are better than others, though she is an artful practioner of the "southern gothic" style and genre. Rhoda reminds me of friends of my mother's.
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Ellen Gilchrist (born February 20, 1935) is an American novelist, short story writer, and poet. She won a National Book Award for her 1984 collection of short stories, Victory Over Japan.

Source: Wikipedia.