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Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress: Tales of Growing up Groovy and Clueless

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  7,795 ratings  ·  720 reviews
From the author of Kiss My Tiara comes a funny and poignant collection of true stories about women coming of age that for once isn't about finding a date. ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published January 1st 2005 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 2003)
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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Jul 04, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: people who write "LOL"a lot
Her parents were hippies but all she wanted to do was wear a tutu- and she did- to school!! See? It's funny because she is so QUIRKY! So many zany things happen to her, so she has to write about each terribly hilarious embarrassing episode of her white, overprotected, privileged life! But never fear, there is heart and love in the gooey middle! She realizes this when she tests her meddle in a foreign country (Switzerland! oh the culture shock!! The sockets look WEIRD!)that allows her to continue ...more
Aug 23, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For those who've yet to read it, the book can be divided into roughly three [unequal] parts: childhood, high school/college and Susan-as-an-adult. The first part was the best for me - perfect mix of funny and sad, just like a good sweet-and-sour sauce should be. The second section is shorter than the others, which is a good thing.
High school pretty much consists of a looooooooong riff on virginity, with a drawn-out celebrity stalking adventure thrown in. Her college years are covered by one ane
Apr 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Susan Gilman's book is memoir which takes the form of essays - each a funny or poignant story of a part of her life. Her first chapter is a recounting of her summer at a "leftist" commune in the Catskills when she was five years old and asked to play a part in a psychedelic movie being filmed by one of the campers. The final chapter is set in Geneva where she finds herself living - a New Yorker abroad - in her thirties.

If I had read this book when I was in my twenties, I would have given it 5 st
I enjoyed this memoir. Susan Gilman is very similar to other snarky female writers like Notaro and Lancaster. This book, a series of essays examining various events, is divided into three parts - young / elementary school age; teenage; and young adult. I think the first section was the most humorous. The teen years are angsty enough and reading about them is mostly painful, even when it’s marginally better. (Hey, she met Mick at a party and got to talk to him? - how many teenagers can claim that ...more
Febz Beloy
Jun 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
it’s a fun, wildly imbecilic memoir of a Manhattanite who thought of the world as her playground. I instantly felt this connection with her.

I was the child who bragged and lied in Show and Tell to distinguish myself from the hordes of crying and pee-crazy 5-year-olds in Kindergarten. I admit I lied not to be difficult but to be special. I conjured and fantasized on what I wanted to be when I grow up. I wanted to be a doctor, a ballerina, a social worker, a fireman and a nun. All the while feigni
Nov 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I just finished reading it.

And it. Was. AMAZING.

It wasn’t even on my original list of books I wanted to read. I found it on the same shelf as Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert (still not sure why I was so eager to read that one, considering my current aversion to all things relationship-oriented, let alone marriage) and added it to the huge tower in my arms on a whim.

But it truly is amazing how some of the best books you’ll ever read are the ones you find by chance. This book is snarky, soulful, in
Jul 04, 2012 rated it liked it
I have to admit that I like the first half of this book much more than the last half. In fact, I have to plead guilty of sort of skimming the final 30 pages. But the first half made me laugh out loud several times. Growing up on Manhattan's Upper West Side, Gilman had many experiences in her early years that are universal. I mean who didn't lie during show-and-tell? Who didn't feel constant peer pressure, have an awkward adolescence, and be plagued by school yard bullies? But, Susan Jane Gilman ...more
Mar 10, 2013 rated it liked it
I was literally laughing out loud during the first chapters of this book. The author's commentary on her unique childhood experiences was hilarious and irreverent. I was really looking forward to the rest of the book. I had high hopes for it, but started feeling disappointed the more I read. Instead of becoming more self-aware and grown up, the author seemed to just revel in being a clueless, shallow person who seemed obsessed with the size of her breasts and having sex with every male who walks ...more
Oct 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone!!!
yet another memoir of sorts... but this one is inspirational and simply hysterical.
we follow a young woman realizing her identity and also coming to terms with her slightly off kilter family and her specific expectations from the world.
i have given this book to.. my mother, my sister, my friend danielle and a coworker mike... they have all loved it and even become inspired by it.
if you're in the mood to laugh out loud, here's a book that will have you cryin'!! david sedaris meets augusten borro
Steph (loves water)
I read this because Ms. Gilman and I are the same age, and we had a few things in common growing up, but were light years apart in our upbringing. Batgirl, Tony DeFranco, Mick Jagger. Mostly I found her a little annoying and over the top, but at the end I recognized that she was brutally honest in her account. I don't know if I could be that honest in my own memoir. ...more
Kris Holland
Aug 22, 2011 rated it did not like it
Slightly boring memoir. I got the impression the author thought she led a crazy, rebellious life, but she came off too often sounding overprivileged & whiny. I enjoyed her book Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven, but I couldn't be done with this one fast enough. ...more
AJ LeBlanc
Dec 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Gilman's writing style is amazing. Several times I had to put the book down because I was laughing so hard. She has a great take of growing up as a full on feminist, but at the same time becoming giddy with delight when Mick Jagger points out that she's got huge boobs. This is a woman who's been everywhere and done everything, and it's a brilliant read. The book starts off with her at four years old, the daughter of hippies, prancing around in a tutu and figuring out how to rule the world. Her f ...more
Kathy (Bermudaonion)
Feb 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Susan Jane Gilman was raised in Upper West Manhattan in the 1970’s, before it became gentrified. Her family was pretty laid back and “groovy” - her grandmother claimed to be a Communist and her mother signed the whole family up for Transcendental Meditation. Throughout it all, Susie retained an active imagination and developed a sense of humor. Her family motto was, “Reality is for people with no imagination.” Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress: Tales of Growing Up Groovy and Clueless by Susan Ja ...more
Jul 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE ON EARTH
I can't even begin to describe how much I loved this book. It was a completely satisfying sequel to her first, Kiss My Tiara, and I related to it in a million fabulous ways. I even found an email address for the Author online and had a breif, and extremely fulfilling correspondence with her! A LOVELY woman, and a wonderfully emotive author. Not only does she provide descriptions of her surroundings that are so good you feel as though you REALL GET IT, but you truly feel as though you understand ...more
Jun 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Before Chelsea Handler appealed to the higher power of vodka, Susan Gilman penned her memoir about dancing naked with hippies at dawn, playing horny teenage host to Mick Jagger at a friend's dinner party, dreaming of joining the workforce as the world's first feminist belly dancer, outwitting strict politicians and, in general, growing up "groovy and clueless" before finally coming upon a personal epiphany in the dressing room at David's Bridal. A hilarious, colorfully-worded romp through life t ...more
Stephanie Biese
May 10, 2016 rated it liked it
She gets 4.5 stars for saying pretty much everything this privileged, white feminist thinks and feels. I kept thinking...she gets me!! I'm her!!! It's super white privilegy, but so am I.

However, I docked her a star and a half for un-inclusive language (use of the R word and comparing people in a negative light to a "special ed class"). That shit ruins it.
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Susan Jane Gilman is a wonderful, hilarious writer. And I enjoyed each chapter of her life, told with such honesty and humor, I found myself sitting alone and breaking into a laugh numerous times as I read this book.

Look forward to reading more by this author!
Jul 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Tales of growing up groovy and clueless in the 70's. Susan is hilarious and insightful - kinda like David Sedaris if he were a Jewish straight woman! ...more
Annie Noblin
Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adored this book. I read it years ago, probably in 2004, when I should have been studying for a history final in college. It was totally worth the D I got on that test.
Paul Baker
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography-memoir
People react to the use of irony as humor very differently. Some people miss the point or are offended if they get it, while others like me roll on the floor laughing. If you are in any way a fan of snark, then Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress by Susan Jane Gilman should be treated as a rare gift.

"Self-deprecating" is hardly an apt description for Ms. Gilman's characterization of herself as "groovy and clueless." In fact, she runs the gamut from such horrendous disappointment in herself to exhi
Jan 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
THIS BOOK IS AWESOME!!!!! Originally suggested to me as an interpretation piece for debate, my friend's mother warned me that I may take a liking to the protagonist....understatement of the week. Gilman's recreation of her childhood and adult experiences are hilarious and easily related to, and the descriptions leave nothing to the imagination. Her gritty description of the punk streets of NYC as a teenager are everything that VH1 describes and complaints about being a feminist bride who is plan ...more
Sep 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed reading this book, was introduced to me by the authors father. Any questions that I needed to ask he answered. My main question was " did you truly sit at the park bench while your daughter was being hit for a swing"? His answer was yes...and it was the hardest thing to do. He wanted his daughter to defend herself for 1 mouthing off and 2 parents won't always be around to defend kids.

I don't know if I can agree in the way the lesson was taught but I did tell him that I enjoyed the book.
Aug 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: beach-read
I enjoyed this book, which was a loan from a friend, more than I thought I was going to. I expected the laughter as the author takes us on a trip through the hippie antics of her parents but there were unexpected moments of real poignancy...especially in describing the effects of a divorce on children, forever.
Aaron Bruenger
Mar 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This was one of those "She was on 'This American Life,' so she has to be good" choices. Turned out to be a good one. Like David Sedaris, Gilman does a great job of presenting her personal point of view in a sympathetic style that doesn't hide that it has been usually flawed. ...more
Dec 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
I love short stories- perfect for before bedtime reading. I can see a line of maturity in the author's writing and this book is mid-way- which means I can't wait for her next one. She is humerous, very witty and some of her images just plain haunt me. ...more
Jun 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the funniest memoirs I've ever read. I forgot the title (nice to find it here), and was bummed because I thought about buying my own copy of this. SO so funny. Recommend this to everybody. ...more
Apr 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this memoir of a girl growing up with hippie parents, struggling with her feminist ideals and how to incorporate them into her life.
May 21, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw it on my sister Nikki's list and liked the title. It was a fluffy, entertaining read.
Jun 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Jun 20, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: never-finished
A plodding series of monotone stories. Should be subtitled Tales of Growing up Stoned and Self-absorbed.
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Is this book good? 5 54 Jan 24, 2013 08:34AM  

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Susan Jane Gilman’s new novel, “Donna Has Left the Building” will be published in June 2019. She is also the bestselling author of three nonfiction books “Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress,” “Undress me in the Temple of Heaven,” and “Kiss My Tiara," as well as the novel, "The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street." She's provided commentary for National Public Radio. She has an MFA in Creative Writing ...more

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