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Beautiful Girls [Paperback]

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Item description for Beautiful Girls by Beth Ann Bauman...

Beautiful Girls is a dazzling debut collection about the secret lives of girls and women. The characters who inhabit Beth Ann Bauman's stories are the timid, the not-quite-fabulous, the public school Ophelias, who yearn for something grander than their current lot. Told with irresistible humor and remarkable grace, these stories illuminate the search for love, friendship, connection, and identity.

In "True," an exquisitely shy teenage girl tries to fathom the hidden secrets of beauty from a boy who's "the prettiest person in the entire school." A lonely divorce in "Safeway," wanders the darkened aisles of a grocery store during a power outage, and becomes "certain a touch of rot had taken root in her heart...and that she still might live better." In "Wash, Rinse, Spin", a hapless young woman loses her laundry and must resort to the decrepit wardrobe she wore while working in B movies, as her dying father fades in her hometown. And in the title story, voracious girls who long for love and admiration compete in a town pageant.

From the fierce bonds among sisters, to the discoveries of a girl who roams her neighborhood in the wee hours of the morning, to the allure of a tropical paradise where anything feels possible, Beautiful Girls explores what it means to be a woman in the modern world, looking for a place to call home.

At once magical, tender, and wise, this book establishes Beth Ann Bauman as a bold new literary voice.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   186
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8" Width: 5.04" Height: 0.57"
Weight:   0.49 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 22, 2004
Publisher   MacAdam/Cage
ISBN  1931561664  
ISBN13  9781931561662  

Availability  0 units.

More About Beth Ann Bauman

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Bauman holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Arizona.

Beth Ann Bauman currently resides in the state of New York. Beth Ann Bauman was born in 1964.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Beautiful Girls?

Gritty Girl  Aug 3, 2005
This collection reminded me of a cross between Flannery O'Connor and A.M Homes. O'Connor in the way she captures the dark edges of adult womanhood and Homes in her daring studies of youth. A top notch collection that should have garnered more attention than it did. Beth Ann--please write more!
Smart, Funny and a Good Re-Read  Feb 25, 2005
What a pleasure it is to find a collection of stories full of keen observation, deft use of language and, at the same time, so funny and enjoyable to read. Bauman has an unfailing ear for dialogue. She is sure-handed and crisp in depicting her lively, sometimes tough, sometimes fragile characters. The stories in "Beautiful Girls", like the stories of William Trevor, are often quiet on the surface but the emotional and social worlds of the characters are so fully realized and meticulously observed that the narrative is swept along with every small shift, event or action.

I zipped through each of the stories quickly but at the end of each one I had to pause a while, my mind full of details and impressions that took time to seep in. Technical skill aside, Bauman's writing also works on a simple, human level. Some of her stories like "Wash, Rinse, Spin" can make you laugh out loud even as they slowly, gently break your heart.

For me this collection is worth owning because it is like a good poem: I keep going back and re-reading it, happy to return to the comfortable pleasures I know I'll find and delighted to discover new ones every time I open the book again.
I wanted to like it . . .  Feb 3, 2005
I wanted to read these short stories and fall in love with each and every one. I just felt like something was lacking. I find it to be mundane and near poorly written. I hate the simplistic descriptions, there's no artistic quality to it, which makes it seem like any one could've written this piece of nothing. The stories are interesting but they lack something that cannot be fingered. I'm sorry I wasted my money.
A short-story collection that speaks volumes...  Nov 24, 2004
Anyone who had gone through growing pains can relate to the stories in Beautiful Girls. This wonderful collection is mostly centered on young girls and their struggles with growing up and their self-image. Of course, the stories are far more dimensional than that -- they center on the sort of problems that kids and teens go through while growing up, things that seemed too important during that period in our lives. And the interesting part is that there are stories of adult women in this book who go through things not unlike the younger generation. My favorite stories are "Stew," "The Middle of the Night," "Safeway," and "Wash, Rinse, Spin." I marvel at Beth Ann Beauman's keen storytelling and wonderful prose. Beautiful Girls is one great short-story collection and I look forward to reading more by this author in the future.
Poignant perspectives  Jul 22, 2004

An enlightening experience awaits the reader of Bauman's Beautiful Girls, tales both playful and tender. That they are so easy to read belies the careful structure and precise attention to detail, each vignette an imaginative take on the vulnerability of the human psyche.

The title story, "Beautiful Girls", exposes beauty for its facile usefulness, a passport to places where less fortunate girls never go, but a road fraught pitfalls nonetheless, the too easy physical attractions, the cruelty of entitlement and the impulse to discard emotions as dispensable. "Wash, Rinse, Spin" is a deeply compassionate story of the last wrenching days between a daughter and her dying father, the hours thick with loss, regret and the reality of a world without him.

The author carefully arranges her scenes, story by story, from "Eden" to "Wildlife of America", where images come to life, the sights and smells of clutter, yearning, discontent and abandoned hopes, as her characters stumble through the confusion of daily challenges. Bauman paints reality in exquisite detail, quirky and individual, yet somehow as familiar as a childhood memory. Her accessible style of writing taps into some well-hidden secret place, where mothers are unpredictable and fragile and fathers are embarrassing, where things go bump in the night and the child carefully monitors the behavior of the parents, caretaker of undisciplined adults.

Bauman's protagonists vacillate between loneliness and being alone, on the verge of that terrible isolation, but never falling into self-pity. Rather, each explores this territory, searching for a place of comfort, the accommodation of lonely vs. alone that so defines these characters and the author's fearless exploration of such feelings. Luan Gaines/2004.


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