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Lives of Girls and Women

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  8,155 Ratings  ·  590 Reviews
One of the most vivid portrayals of female adolescence in modern fiction, Lives of Girls and Women revealed Alice Munro to be a writer of exceptional skill and empathy. First published in 1971, Munro’s one and only novel traces one girl’s journey from childhood to womanhood. Narrated by Canadian actor Judy Mahbey, this audio edition, originally broadcast on CBC Radio, conv ...more
Audio CD, Abridged, 1 page
Published November 1st 2005 by Goose Lane Editions (first published 1971)
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Dolors
Oct 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Don't shrink, expand your horizons.
Recommended to Dolors by: Greg
Shelves: read-in-2015
Straddling two genres, "Lives of Girls and Women" features eight seemingly disjointed snapshots of daily life in Jubilee, a rural town in Ontario, seen through the eyes of Del Jordan, a feisty girl on the threshold of adolescence, that build on the common theme of women swimming against the backdraught of societal indoctrination towards rightful emancipation.

Munro's prose is spare but not scanty. She skips major episodes in Del's life in favor of extended descriptions of the details that really
...more
Candi
"What was a normal life? It was the life of the girls in the creamery office, it was showers, linen and pots and pans and silverware, that complicated feminine order; then, turning it over, it was the life of the Gay-la Dance Hall, driving drunk at night along the black roads, listening to men's jokes, putting up with and warily fighting with men and getting hold of them, getting hold – one side of that life could not exist without the other, and by undertaking and getting used to them both a gi ...more
Garima
Thousands of questions which rise at different stages of life need not find answers but they give birth to a colorful diorama which has its share of black and white shades too. I have little to say here but for the past few days I was thinking about this book and the lives it depicted. Lives of Girls, lives of Women, lives which are similar and different than ours. Alice Munro doesn’t glorify anything and at the same time she brings out the essence of reality in a glorious way. She writes with a ...more
Josu
Feb 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-1-marzo
Increíble novela sobre el papel de la mujer en una época complicada, sobre la sexualidad, los tabúes y el querer ir a contracorriente.

Lo más destacable de La vida de las mujeres es sin duda la magistral manera en la que Alice Munro expresa sus ideas. Toda la historia está increíblemente bien narrada, plasmando perfectamente situaciones que consiguen conectar con el lector, y sobre todo, convirtiendo la vida de la protagonista en algo íntimo a la par que público.

No esperaba que la historia ahonda
...more
Carmo
Jan 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nobel, canada, bib-p

3.5*


As dores de crescimento de uma rapariga numa pequena cidade do Canadá, mas que bem podia ser em qualquer outra cidade, em qualquer outra parte do mundo, o factor geográfico pouca relevância tem para o caso.
Numa narrativa direta e rica, a autora expõe sem papas na língua, o percurso de descoberta e afirmação pessoal de uma jovem semelhante a qualquer uma de nós.
Num universo muito feminino e exposta às personalidades das mulheres que a rodeiam, também ela vai trilhar o seu caminho de descobert
...more
Núria
Se ve que ‘La vida de las mujeres’ es la única novela que ha escrito Alice Munro. La escribió a los cuarenta años y tiene mucho de autobiográfico. Siempre podrá salir algún criticón y decir que no es una novela sino una serie de relatos con los mismos personajes, pero, por más que los capítulos estén claramente diferenciados, tienen un hilo conductor claro que es el de una niña que se hace mayor en un pueblo rural de Canadá. Tengo que confesar que los libros sobre niñas que crecen son una de mis ...more
Cynthia
Sep 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: myfavorites, the-list
Where to start. Munro had me hooked in the first paragraph: "We spent days along the Wawanash River, helping Uncle Benny fish....
He was not our uncle, or anybody's."

"He was not our uncle, or anybody's." That line is so short and so brilliant--can't you just picture Uncle Benny in your head right now? Munro does not mock the characters in this small-town story the way Flannery O'Connor might.

Indeed Del Jordan, our young narrator, has never really left the town of Jubilee and a part of her never
...more
Mary
Oct 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2016
“There is a change coming I think in the lives of girls and women. Yes. But it is up to us to make it come. All women have had up till now has been their connection with men. All we have had. No more lives of our own, really, than domestic animals. He shall hold thee, when his passion shall have spent its novel force, a little closer than his dog, a little dearer than his horse. Tennyson wrote that. It’s true. Was true. You will want to have children, though.”
That’s how much she knew me.
notgettingenough
A goodreads statistic. Exactly one of my friends on that site has made a comment about this book - and she hasn't read it yet.

Alice Munro is a Nobel Prize winner.

She is no Chekhov.

Despite that, I think her books will stand the test of time, but they are not easy things to review. There is nothing to pillory. There is no technique to make her temporarily modern. I don't spot anything in her style that will prematurely date her, in the way I feel Welty's does to hers. And she has that sameness ab
...more
Jeanette
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superlative. And her only novel? As much as I loved her short stories, and I've read about 1/2, this novel is BETTER. Magnificent. Do not read this review if you want no spoilers. The book is marvelous for Del in girlhood but it is BETTER for her last years of high school. And it is too central to more than a glancing review here not to climb the pinnacles of this 1971 written work. Most seemed to have ignored some of its crux. Core crux.

It's more than just a coming of age story, it's the story
...more
kate
Feb 11, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women
this was the first book i've read by alice munro, so obviously i've never read her short stories. i enjoyed it to an extent, but at times found it plodding and slow. there were certain things in her descriptions of del's feelings that i could really relate to. all in all i'd probably give it 3.5 stars, but i'm not really all that interested in reading more of her work after reading this. totally mixed feelings.
Bonnie
Aug 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love everything Alice Munro writes, but this one has to be one of my favourites.
Elizabeth (Alaska)
The GR members who have shelved this as "coming of age" knew more about this novel than did I and it is a perfect description. I don't usually like such stories - are they usually about boys? This is the story of a girl, about 10 or so when the story opens. In high school, she is nerdy and awkward. She longs to know about boys, to know what it is to be admired, to know about sex.

Del's mother, for the times especially (by now post-war), is an enlightened woman.
"There is a change coming I think
...more
عبدالله ناصر

أليس مونرو قاصة عظيمة جداً و على الرغم من عدم إعجابي الشديد بالمضمون القصصي في هذا الكاتب ولكن الأسلوب و إتقان الحرفة واضح جداً. أسعى لشراء المزيد من كتبها في أقرب فرصة بحول الله.
Braden
Mar 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These characters! Painted with such humor and subtlety...love Aunties Grace and Elspeth, and Aunt Nile with her green fingernails, and Del's mother, and the school friends, and Miss Farris....

The best thing about this book, however, is the portrayal of Del's emotional landscape as she moves through adolescence. Among my favorite passages:
--after Del's fight with Mary Agnes ("Being forgiven creates a peculiar shame....")
--Del's observations about her mother's attempts to sustain an intellectual
...more
Donna
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I am in Ontario for 2 weeks, but not in the part Alice Munro set this book. However, I cannot get CBC today. It sounds out of range which is impossible. I might as well be in Munro country where people don't ever want to appear to be showing off. And this is a tough mission. A lot of things count as showing off in Ontario. I'm from Montreal which means I'm not from Ontario. That's showing off. Though for some reason, being from Toronto would be even worse.
Alice Munro never shows off. She never
...more
Mariano Hortal
Publicado en http://lecturaylocura.com/la-vida-de-...

Si hay una escritora que tiene posibilidades de ganar el Nobel de literatura en este año o en los siguientes es, sin duda, la canadiense Alice Munro; sería el pretexto perfecto para los miembros de la academia sueca para decir que han elegido a un escritor norteamericano, y encima es mujer. Son un par de factores de peso.

Aprovechando entonces la proximidad de la entrega del Nobel de literatura de este año y este pequeño monográfico de mujeres
...more
Knucklefish
Alice Munro is principally a short story writer. This is a novel, but really it feels like a book of eight short stories about the same girl at different points in her life, from hitting puberty to the brink of adulthood. Each story focuses on different people in her life so that there isn't a lot of ongoing conflict throughout the book as a whole. What makes it flow is the evolution of Del's character.

I dragged my feet through the early years, but I felt more interest once Del began dealing wit
...more
Scout
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cynthia's fine review led me to this book, and it didn't disappoint. It was first published in 1971, right around the time that I was exploring my own ideas about religion and male/female relationships. I found the narrator's ideas on these two topics very interesting.

And then there are those characters who, as Cynthia pointed out, are so easily identifiable in our own lives. I had to keep reminding myself that the novel was set in Canada, as the characters and setting reminded me so much of my
...more
Jennifer
I have very mixed feelings about this book......I went through pages of liking it, not liking it, really liking it, and really NOT liking it. Hence, two and a half stars.
The writing is marvelous and it is evident that Alice Munro has a natural talent with words. However, I just couldn't get into the story. We follow the teen years of Del Jordan, in the small town of Jubilee, Ontario in the 1940's right after WWII. I had trouble relating to any of the characters and didn't especially care for any
...more
Cecily
Dec 14, 2015 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cecily by: Dolors
Shelves: canada-and-usa
Added because of Dolors' review and discussion in comments:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
Dawn Carole
I've enjoyed every Munro book I have read...... until now.

I don't know if it's because it was a 'novel', but which still felt like a group of short stories - snapshots at random points in time. Or maybe it was because I couldn't relate to 'Del' at all. The writing is superb of course, with some poignant insights - which is probably why I finished it; I just didn't like any of the characters, although I enjoyed the first part more than the second.

I shall still read more of her short story collec
...more
Andrea Carolina
Tengo muchos sueños en la vida, bueno no, tengo algunos sueños muy grandes, que ya me están aburriendo porque últimamente me causan muchos problemas. Y es que es así, nunca se sabe cuando llega el punto en que uno deja de vivir por lograr algo grande en el futuro, y ya no sabe uno hasta que punto uno se autoengaña con los sueños, los proyectos o todo eso que le vende a uno la sociedad, la familia y hasta uno mismo. Que un postgrado, un doctorado, una vida en otro país o incluso unos hijos, una f ...more
McKenzie
Mar 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I'm trying to remember if I have ever read a book that so perfectly captures what it is like to grow up as a girl, being confused about the strange things other boys and girls and adults tell you about gender norms, sex, death, and future expectations for your life. Lives of Girls and Women is set in a small town in Canada in the 1940s and 1950s, but narrator Del's experiences are so universal that they transcend the setting. Alice Munro is known for writing short stories, but this is her m ...more
Marcos Sánchez Bueno
3 / 5

Un interesante retrato de la vida y el destino de la figura de la mujer ambientado en un pueblecito de Estados Unidos. La autora plantea varias cuestiones interesantes sobre la condición de ser mujer a través del viaje que realiza la protagonista desde su infancia hasta el despertar sexual y, finalmente, el futuro al que deberá enfrentarse.
He de decir que me ha gustado el punto de vista personal que aporta Alice Munro en la historia, además de la voz (a veces poderosa, a veces no tanto) con
...more
Troy
Mar 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
Quiet, introspective, observant, and beautiful. Alice Munro's stories are surprising, which is something I love in writing. Her characters, observations, and settings are all full of oblique angles that are not obvious and not predictable. Munro points out that people (and the world) are both more mundane and infinitely more complex than their fictional counterparts. Real tragedy is never as exciting as its fictional counterpart. Real people both stay the same, remain boring, and often do things ...more
Amy Meyer
Apr 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Title: Lives of Girls and Women
Author: Alice Munro
ISBN: 978-0375707490
Pages: 288
Release Date: February 13, 2001
Publisher: Vintage
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Book Summary: Lives of Girls and Women is an insightful, honest book, "autobiographical in form but not in fact," that chronicles a young girl's growing up in rural Ontario in the 1940's.

Del Jordan lives out at the end of the Flats Road on her father's fox farm, where her most frequent companions are an eccentric bachelor
...more
Jessica
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, canadian
I really enjoyed this book. It follows the childhood and teen years of Canadian girl Del Jordan, each chapter as more of a short story. The only one I didn't totally like was "Changes and Ceremonies", though the beginning detailing her friendship with Naomi was good.
Greg Zimmerman
Oct 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading outside a comfort zone doesn't get much more outside a comfort zone than Alice Munro's Lives of Girls and Women was for me. But this is a perfect case study for why reading outside a comfort zone is almost always a good thing. This is a phenomenal book, and I'm surprised it's not more widely read.

Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize in Literature this year, and since over the last two years or so, I've been reading a ton more short stories (sad to think what I'd been missing all these years b
...more
Colleen O'Neill Conlan
Jan 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Any of these chapters could stand alone as a fully realized, contained short story. At first that made this book seem un-novelistic, but as I read along, it worked pretty well. The title, also the title of one of the chapters, really summarizes the book. It starts with Del as a young girl living on the wilder outskirts of town on the Flats Road, where her father has a silver fox farm and her mother seems to be a somewhat frustrated intellectual. At first her interactions are with her mother, fat ...more
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Alice Ann Munro, née Laidlaw, is a Canadian short-story writer who is widely considered one of the world's premier fiction writers. Munro is a three-time winner of Canada's Governor General's Award for fiction. Her stories focus on human relationships looked at through the lens of daily life. She has thus been referred to as "the Canadian Chekhov."

She is the winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Liter
...more
More about Alice Munro...

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“His face contained for me all possibilities of fierceness and sweetness, pride and submissiveness, violence, self-containment. I never saw more in it than I had when I saw it first, because I saw everything then. The whole thing in him that I was going to love, and never catch or explain.” 82 likes
“People’s lives, in Jubilee as elsewhere, were dull, simple, amazing, and unfathomable – deep caves paved with kitchen linoleum.” 66 likes
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