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Silver Girl

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  257 ratings  ·  45 reviews
It's the early 1980s. Ronald Reagan's economy will trickle down any day now, and Chicago's Tylenol Killer has struck: an unknown person is stuffing cyanide into capsules, then returning them to drugstore shelves.

Against the backdrop of this rampant anxiety, one young woman, desperate to escape the unspoken secrets of her Midwestern family, bluffs her way into the fancy "sc
Paperback, 272 pages
Published February 27th 2018 by Unnamed Press
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3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  257 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Leslie Pietrzyk
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
It doesn't seem very midwestern to give one's own book 5 stars...but, jeez, I worked so hard to write the book I most wanted to read. Thank you for giving it a chance.
joyce g
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Author Leslie Pietrzyk brings a voice to a series of deeply moving characters.
Acacia Ives
Emma Cline the girls meets the bell jar
Mary Lins
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: complete
I cannot remember how, "Silver Girl", by Leslie Pietrzyk, got on my radar, but I'm glad it did! Set in the early 1980s it took me right back to my own time as a young woman, "...before answering machines, before voice mail, email, texts, and Skype. Letters and phone calls were all we had. This was a time when not answering a ringing phone was an act of subversion." Ah yes!

"Silver Girl" is about female friendships, sisters, betrayals, loyalties, secrets, and lies. This beautifully written and per
Caroline Bock
A bold novel.
Silver Girl by Leslie Pietrzyk
This novel is about a girl (never named) from a working class family in Iowa City and her years at a big Chicago university filled with the connected and the well-to-do, and how she navigates this uneasy journey in the early 1980s with the Tylenol scare in the background, with drinking and sex, and most interesting to me, class divides been the very wealthy and the just getting by.

I loved this unnamed narrator at the center of SILVER GIRL. I loved how the story moves from Chicago
Dec 09, 2018 rated it liked it
A 3-star novel with 4-star writing, a 1-star plot, and a 5-star portrait of a complicated friendship between two college girls who have everything and nothing in common.
Joe M
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Joe by: The Millions
So the 1980's are now considered "Historical Fiction?" Jesus. With that cold reminder of my age settling in, Silver Girl is actually a fantastically dark coming-of-age tale makes the most of it's "period" setting without falling to the typical 80's traps and cliches. Yes, theres plenty of Tab, some spot-on music references, and pervading sense of Reaganomics, but it's more of a subtle backdrop to Leslie Pietrzyk's finely-drawn characters, following a college friendship that blooms and unravels o ...more
When a young girl leaves her rural Iowa home for a bustling college campus in Evanston, Illinois, she meets a far wealthier and more popular roommate who she is quick to share everything with - that is, except the truth of her deeply troubling past.

Beneath its leisurely paced, yet complex writing, lurks a devastating story that will tear readers’ hearts in two.

(The author also expertly captures the seasons of Chicago.)
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I can no longer hear Bridge Over Troubled Water without thinking of the unnamed narrator of Silver Girl and of the author, whose time has come to shine with the release of this heralded novel. Silver Girl is both a reader's book, in that it's a gripping story, and a writer's book, in that it has much to teach about structure and tone and unreliable narrators. Yes, you can write a book with a female main character who's not entirely sympathetic and the reader will follow her anyway as long as you ...more
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very good, excellent characters and story. Will look for her other books
Rujing Wang
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katie Carson
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was given an ARC of Silver Girl through a partnership with Rockstar Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Silver Girl transports us back to the 1980s in a flurry of Tab and typewriters, where a nameless narrator has escaped her past by moving away to college. There she meets, Jess--beautiful, brave Jess from a wealthy Chicago family who flies through life with reckless abandon. As their college years progress, the narrator and Jess become closer at the same time that the chasm of secret
Michelle Brafman
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'd give this novel 10 stars if I could. In her typical stunning prose, and with tremendous heart, verity, and fearlessness, Leslie Pietrzyk tells the story of a turbulent relationship between two Northwestern University students. This is one of the best books I've read about female friendship. And what a page turner! I highly recommend this novel for book groups. No doubt, bibliophiles will hotly debate the narrator's choices and morality and then for days later, reflect on the most intense fri ...more
Diane Tarantini
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Silver Girl by Leslie Pietrzyk is a dark and beautifully written tale about two college girls in the 80s—one wealthy, one not. The narrator of the story is the less fortunate girl.

Though I pitied her, Silver Girl’s narrator wasn’t easy to love, or even like. Because I didn’t always trust her. Actually, I never trusted her. But I admired her, specifically her single-minded resolve to escape small town America, a deeply flawed family, and the fate of being ordinary, or worse, poor for life—often g
Allie Coleman
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful writing and painful insights keep the pages turning in Silver Girl. I gained a bit more understanding about my college-age self and the people I wrongly and too quickly judged. Great read for book clubs.
Dana Cann
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Best book I’ve read this year. A complicated, compelling protagonist, who’s portrayed sympathetically and realistically without a false note. Just excellent.
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I particularly liked the way the chapters were non-linear, so the story unfolds rather than unravels.
Raima Larter
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I rarely give 5-star reviews but here is one that I really want to give 6 stars to. This book is SO good, on so many levels. The story is set in the 80s against the backdrop of the Tylenol murders, which younger people may not remember, but it does not feel at all dated. The narrator, a young woman in college, is not exactly the main character, since the story is also about her friend, Jess and Jess's disturbed and dysfunctional family. The narrator's own family, back in Iowa, is always in the b ...more
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
i accidentally ran into Leslie Pietryzk at Politics and Prose. (DC) She was sweet, pretty, intelligent and engaging speaker. I put it on my Montgomery County library list. Came available to me in a few weeks. Please don't let the syrupy title/cover art mislead you. Yes it is a "coming of age," or "going to college unprepared" genre novel, but it will (could?) rock your world.

Ms. Pietrzyk is a writer who has amazing talents. You think you have it after a few chapters, -- but you. probably, do no
Sep 01, 2018 rated it liked it
The glimpses of insight into the main character didn't feel like enough; her friendship with Jess felt sad and self-destructive (which maybe is the point?); there was no resolution, no absolution. Still, the depictions of relationships between women, Midwestern winters, angsty college days, and broken families were very well-written.
Laura Zam
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I had a hard time putting down this deeply insightful, haunting, heart-filled book. The nonlinear structure was daring -- and thrilling. I loved how the book was authentically itself. The characters were portrayed with incredibly fine detail. The prose was original and gorgeous. I was awed on every page. Highly recommended.
Sep 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
I was cruising along with this novel for a little while and then got fed up with cryptic (and then not so cryptic) allusions to childhood abuse, and boring repetition. Pretty much every character was an awful person. I kind of wanted to know how it ended/what happened, but it seemed like it was going to be more of the same and I didn't want to waste my time for another 50+ pages!
Apr 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
80 pages in. I'm gonna be nice and just say this isn't for me. (coughbadwritingcough)
Jan Stinchcomb
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
A story of college friendship set in the eighties becomes a painful examination of class difference, abusive families and gender politics. If Americans are currently crying out for more narratives from the forgotten people of the Midwest, then they should look to Pietrzyk.
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book won't be for everyone -- there's not really a linear plot -- but I thought it was an excellent examination of a friendship/relationship. The author really gets the time right (early 80s Tylenol murders time period) and unfolds the narrator's story as she relates to herself and others, especially her friend, Jess.
Rita Ciresi
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In stunningly descriptive prose, Leslie Pietrzyk exposes the hearts and minds of two young women whose dysfunctional families continue to haunt them after they escape to college. This character-driven novel is told in a non-linear fashion, and each section further complicates the relationship between the narrator and Jess and lays bare the complexities of female friendship. This is a finely crafted and absorbing piece of literary fiction.
A book where "nothing much happens" but when you read between the lines, there is an overflowing of meaning and substance. It's the kind of book you have to read at least twice to fully comprehend what exactly it's trying to show you.

I've never related to a protagonist more in my life, so I will always remember this story.. It's haunting how real it is.
Alice Stephens
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful, stunning book that explores the toxic relationship between the unnamed narrator from a working class Iowa family with dark secrets and her wealthy, spoiled college roommate. In an inventive twist, the plot is non-linear, so the reader has to do a little work, but the gorgeous prose makes for easy ready, and the insights into class divisions, female relationships, and family dynamics are very rewarding.
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a finely tuned, gritty novel. A set of separate stories, really, that cohere into a portrait of the complexities of female friendship – and of family – that cuts right to the bone. Silver Girl shines with the sheer honesty of the writing and dialogue that is always on target. This book made my heart ache in the way only the finest fiction can. I found the chapters/stories “What Do You Want for Christmas, Little Girl?” and “The Bedroom” particularly stunning.
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Czasami przychodzi taki moment, że chcąc napisać recenzję, zupełnie nie wiem jak zacząć. Zwykle olśnienie przychodzi po kilku minutach. Teraz jednak od dwóch godzin siedzę przed ekran laptopa i zastanawiam się od czego zacząć. I nadal nie wiem.

Kiedy książka się rozpoczyna, trwa rok 1982, a zatrucia spowodowane Tylenolem, pochłaniają tysiące ofiar w Chicago. W takich właśnie okolicznościach spotykają się Jess i nasza narratorka, nienazwana dziewczyna. Postaci dziewczyn zbudowane są na zupełnych p
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I am the author of Pears on a Willow Tree and A Year and a Day (novels). My collection of linked stories about the death of my first husband, This Angel on My Chest, won the 2015 Drue Heinz Literature Prize and was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. A new novel, Silver Girl, is forthcoming from Unnamed Press in 2018, (YAY!!!!) Short fiction & essays have appeared/are forthcoming ...more
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