Thursday, July 5, 2018

Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving An American Obsession by Alice Bolin

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

Dead Girls is everything I want in an essay collection: provocative lines of inquiry, macabre humor, blistering intelligence… I love this book.” —  Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties

“Bracing and blazingly smart, Alice Bolin’s Dead Girls could hardly be more needed or more timely.” — Megan Abbott, Edgar Award-winning author of You Will Know Me

Best of summer 2018 – included on best-of lists by Bitch Magazine, Harpers BazaarThe Millions, Esquire, Refinery29, Nylon, PopSugar, The Chicago Tribune, Book Riot, and CrimeReads

In this poignant collection, Alice Bolin examines iconic American works from the essays of Joan Didion and James Baldwin to Twin Peaks, Britney Spears, and Serial, illuminating the widespread obsession with women who are abused, killed, and disenfranchised, and whose bodies (dead and alive) are used as props to bolster men’s stories. Smart and accessible, thoughtful and heartfelt, Bolin investigates the implications of our cultural fixations, and her own role as a consumer and creator.

Bolin chronicles her life in Los Angeles, dissects the Noir, revisits her own coming of age, and analyzes stories of witches and werewolves, both appreciating and challenging the narratives we construct and absorb every day. Dead Girls begins by exploring the trope of dead women in fiction, and ends by interrogating the more complex dilemma of living women – both the persistent injustices they suffer and the oppression that white women help perpetrate.

Reminiscent of the piercing insight of Rebecca Solnit and the critical skill of Hilton Als, Bolin constructs a sharp, perceptive, and revelatory dialogue on the portrayal of women in media and their roles in our culture.

my thoughts:

As a huge fan of essays, I was super excited to read Dead Girls - a book of essays about the "dead girl" trope within American culture and media - specifically in literature.  Talk about a fascinating book!

This nonfiction tome is a bit of a memoir as Bolin writes about her life in LA and we get to see how she navigates loneliness, relies on Joan Didion's writing, and shares about her experiences with roommates and boyfriends.  Of course, we also get the essays that explore the idea of exploiting the "dead women" that society seems to be obsessed with.  You know, stories that begin with a dead woman and end with their murder being solved (or unsolved).  Its the idea that these "dead girls" are what the male characters depend on in order to grow/develop within the story - so crazy, but seemingly true to the arc of many a story.  And then there are the TV shows that use "dead women" to show how men are incapable of resisting their homicidal tendencies by exploring their methods and psychology - talk about crazy and interesting essays!  Bolin also looks at the concept of the "living girl" and the ways in which these women are exploited - such as through their fame, like with Britney Spears.  I just loved reading this book! I found myself easily caught up in everything that Bolin wanted to share with her readers and found myself jotting down notes to look at later.  Talk about a great mix of feminism and popular culture!

Dead Girls is terrific book of essays that I would happily recommend to anyone interested in nonfiction, specifically feminist nonfiction - you will LOVE this collection to bits!!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: Dead Girls
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!


Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Thanks for this fantastic review for the tour!

Terra said...

Sounds like an original theme and interesting essays.

bermudaonion said...

I haven't read many essay collections and I'm not sure why since I've enjoyed those I've read. I'm adding this one to my wish list.

Nadia said...

Heather, thanks so much for having me on this book tour! I loved this book!!

Terra, it really was and those essays were fantastic!

Kathy, definitely check this one out. I love reading essays, they are always so informative and just so good. I think you'll like this one :)