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The Resource Local girls, Alice Hoffman

Local girls, Alice Hoffman

Label
Local girls
Title
Local girls
Statement of responsibility
Alice Hoffman
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
Alice Hoffman evokes the world of the Samuelsons, a family torn apart by tragedy and divorce in a world of bad judgement and fierce attachments, disappointments and devotion. Hoffman charts the always unexpected progress of Gretel Samuelson from the time Gretel is a young girl already acquainted with betrayal and grief, until she finally leaves home. Gretel's sly, funny, knowing perspective is at the heart of this collection as she navigates through loyalty and loss with the help of an unforgettable trio of women: her best friend Jill, her romance-addicted cousin Margot and her mother, Franny, whose spiritual journey affects them all. Told in alternating voices, these tales work wonders. Funny and lyrical, disturbing and healing, each is a lesson of survival, a reminder of the ties of blood and the power of friendship
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
  • Booklist Editors' Choice: Adult Books for Young Adults, 1999.
  • YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, 2000
  • School Library Journal Best Books: Best Adult Books 4 Teens, 1999.
Review
  • Hoffman's latest work of fiction is a cycle of short stories that almost amounts to a novel. And once readers are, say, a third of the way through, they will realize how appropriate Hoffman's choice of the short-story cycle form is for her material. The stories follow the life of Greta Samuelson as she grows up in the suburban community of Franconia. And her life, like everyone's, is a series of episodes, so the episodic format works perfectly. In the first story, Greta is an adolescent and her parents' marriage is on the skids, but at least she has her best friend, Jill, for company and solace. In the last story, Greta, now a New Yorker, has lost her mother and earned a college degree. She returns home to visit Jill, who got married early and had kids early--and they find they each want some parts of the other one's life. In between these two points are stories about Greta and her family that all prove a point: "Fate could twist you around and around, if you weren't careful. Just when you thought you knew where you were headed, you'd wind up in the opposite direction or flattened against a wall." Hoffman's limpid style correlates well with the beautiful humanity with which she infuses her characters and sends them through the paces of life. ((Reviewed March 15, 1999)) -- Brad Hooper
  • YA-Gretel Samuelson's coming-of-age in a lower middle-class suburban area of Long Island is portrayed in brief, episodic vignettes of tumultuous tragedy and outstanding ordinariness loosely strung together. They begin when the protagonist is 12 and end as she enters college. The dysfunctional elements are the stuff of soap operas: father divorces mother for younger woman, mother dies of cancer, lively and audacious cousin makes a series of unwise romantic choices, gifted Harvard-bound brother ODs on heroin, and beautiful and brilliant best friend becomes pregnant. What raises all of this above the mediocre is the intimacy and immediacy of the narrative voice. Whether it is the cynical yet sweet first-person account by Gretel or the hopelessly romantic third-person voice of Cousin Margo, the effect is the same-palpable, recognizable angst and "smile-through-your-tears" humor. The language is wisecracking, scintillating, descriptive, and honest. Female readers will recognize and respond to the themes of relationships: those with men who all too often disappoint and those between friends and mothers and daughters that nourish and endure.-Jackie Gropman, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
  • "We were twelve, that unpredictable and dangerous age when sampling shades of lipstick and playing with dolls seem equally interesting," says the protagonist of these interconnected stories, which slip between first and third person in interesting and unpredictable ways. With best friend Jill, Gretel goes through a lot: the breakup of her parents' marriage, her mother's illness, and her father's remarriage, not to mention boys, dating, and sex. Hoffman's typically wacky yet dazzling voice is heard throughout, and anyone who loved Turtle Moon or Practical Magic will enjoy these works. Still, these stories sometimes have a sketchy feel, as if there were only seeds that never really grew to fruition. Buy where Hoffman is popular. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/99.]--Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal" Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
  • Ten disastrous years in the life of a family on Long Island, only partly redeemed by the shimmering prose we—ve come to expect from Hoffman (Here on Earth 1997, etc.). There's really no reason why what's billed as a collection of interconnected stories shouldn—t be a novel, except that the author apparently couldn—t spare the time to make the narration coherently first- or third-person. (More than half the book's contents first appeared in literary periodicals or women's magazines; it appears to have been untouched since then.) Gretel Samuelson begins the tale when she and her best friend Jill are in their early teens, and by the time an omniscient narrator appears with Gretel's grandmother in the sixth installment (—How to Talk to the Dead—), a lot has gone wrong. Gretel's father has left and remarried; her mother has been diagnosed with cancer; her brother, Jason, a sweet, brilliant boy, seems likely to throw away his impending freshman year at Harvard in favor of drugs and drifting; even their dog has run away. Poor Grandma Frieda doesn—t survive ten pages past her entrance, and the death toll mounts in subsequent chapters uneasily alternating between the nearly indistinguishable voices of Gretel and the third-party storyteller. Jason ODs; their mother finally loses her battle with cancer; Jill kills her chances of a future outside Franconia by getting pregnant, marrying the not-very-bright father, and dropping out of high school. Yes, Gretel's divorced cousin Margot ultimately gets a decent man, Gretel eventually goes to college and starts a career in publishing, and some readers may draw consolation from a few admittedly beautiful descriptive passages about the natural world. But Hoffman's trademark there's- magic-beneath-the-surface-of-our-daily-lives stance feels pretty tired here, as do the characters. The central theme——Fate could twist you around and around, if you weren—t careful——is reiterated so often it ceases to have any impact. Hoffman remains a major talent, but she's marking time here. (Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 1999)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
034491
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Hoffman, Alice
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
United States
Label
Local girls, Alice Hoffman
Instantiates
Publication
Control code
000014255771
Dimensions
21 cm.
Extent
197 p.
Isbn
9780399145070
Isbn Type
(acidfree paper)
Lccn
98050632
Label
Local girls, Alice Hoffman
Publication
Control code
000014255771
Dimensions
21 cm.
Extent
197 p.
Isbn
9780399145070
Isbn Type
(acidfree paper)
Lccn
98050632

Library Locations

    • Lionel Bowen Library and Community CentreBorrow it
      669-673 Anzac Parade, Marouba, NSW, 2035, AU
      -33.938111 151.237977
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