Alyssa's Reviews > Story of a Girl

Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr
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liked it
bookshelves: 2011-read, emotional, get-with-library, highly-anticipated, i-love-this-cover, really-excited-for, reccomended, ya-romance, great-realistic-fiction, only-okay, surprised-me
Recommended to Alyssa by: Catie
Recommended for: Nasty, nasty name-callers and slut-shamers who care to be educated.

I came home today to hear that two girls – both who go to school with my sister, who are a year younger than I, and who I’ve never had a full-out conversation with – have called me a slut. Last week, I came home and heard the same thing. Last year, my own boyfriend called me such, in so many words. I’m left to ponder why I’ve been called such a derogatory term; is it because I have had lots of male friends? Is it because I like to wear tight clothing on my skinny days and sometimes wear a lot of eye make-up? Of course, I also have to wonder why they care so much and spend so much time talking about what I do (but don’t really do) with my life.

It frustrates me that people believe that they’re right in judging me, and so you’d think I’d get along great with novelist-extraordinaire Sara Zarr’s debut novel. However, that’s not exactly the case. While I very much like and commend the subject matter of Story of a Girl, and while I believe that it portrayed a realistic outlook on slut-shaming and family life, the book-like aspects of the story didn’t exactly settle with me.

Deanna’s story of the grief caused by others’ disrespect for her actions is what I believe to be a common and acutely accurate depiction of reality. Like with my situation, Deanna is subject to others’ berating of her and their blatant disregard for her, something which holds true in today’s society regarding the actions of teenagers, specifically girls. What really stands out about this book is the fact that it’s not expressed as a lesson, or as fiction with a strongly opinionated contemporary statement underlying – Zarr’s book seems to take the reader through the experience of the main character, somehow capturing great issues in our culture within the life of a teenage girl. The reality that hypocrites throughout high school exist, that family sometimes never forgives, that girls are called sluts for having fun and living a life…a lot of the time, these realities are conveyed in ways that are trying to be smart but simply come off pretentious. What stuck with me in Story of a Girl is that the book really is the story of a girl, and that it wasn’t trying to be anything other than that; it wasn’t trying to make me angry, think or cry, even though all of which I did.

Still, despite all those emotions, I felt very distanced from the story. Not only didn’t I like the journaling/additional writing, but I also felt like Zarr’s writing in itself was lacking a distinct and individual feel. I never was really involved or deeply connected with Story of a Girl, and while part of that may have been the writing style, it may have also been the characters. While I appreciated and understood the reasoning behind each and every character, at times I felt like they were exactly that – while the story itself wasn’t trying to be pretentious, I felt like many of the characters (Deanna’s friends, for example) were just service for plot development and Deanna’s character development. Aside from Deanna, her brother and sister-in-law, I could never get a good grasp on the other characters. Like I said – while I understand Deanna’s father’s placement in the story, it seemed like all he really did was serve the disappointed and angry father role. I know it’s confusing, how I felt about this book, but for some reason there was just some barrier that kept me from fully getting into it.

To those two girls miscalling me a slut, I recommend this book, in the hopes that they'll being to realize their idiocy. To confused teenagers and their mothers, I’d like to shove this book into your hands. While I struggled with aspects of this novel, I think it’d be remiss of me not to recommend it as I think it provides a sincere rendering of today’s culture.
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Reading Progress

December 6, 2011 – Started Reading
December 6, 2011 – Shelved
December 6, 2011 – Shelved as: emotional
December 6, 2011 – Shelved as: get-with-library
December 6, 2011 – Shelved as: highly-anticipated
December 6, 2011 – Shelved as: i-love-this-cover
December 6, 2011 – Shelved as: really-excited-for
December 6, 2011 – Shelved as: reccomended
December 6, 2011 – Shelved as: ya-romance
December 6, 2011 – Shelved as: 2011-read
December 7, 2011 –
page 147
December 10, 2011 – Shelved as: only-okay
December 10, 2011 – Shelved as: surprised-me
December 10, 2011 – Shelved as: great-realistic-fiction
December 10, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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message 1: by Emily (new) - added it

Emily Blake Do you like it?

Alyssa I've read the first page so far :$


message 3: by Emily (new) - added it

Emily Blake I like it. It's a really strong story though.

message 4: by Liz (new) - added it

Liz I definitely plan to pick this one up after reading your review!

Alyssa Liz (Consumed by Books) wrote: "I definitely plan to pick this one up after reading your review!"

Yay! Glad to have pushed you along :)

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