Customer Reviews for

Blueprints for Building Better Girls

Average Rating 3.5
( 24 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(6)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(3)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Real, not just realist

I'm not sure that the girls in Building Blueprints for Better Girls are necessarily better for their experiences, but they are intensely familiar, as if I had studied their blueprints. As you read, it's hard not to think, Oh, I know her. It's not that a character remi...
I'm not sure that the girls in Building Blueprints for Better Girls are necessarily better for their experiences, but they are intensely familiar, as if I had studied their blueprints. As you read, it's hard not to think, Oh, I know her. It's not that a character reminds you of someone you already know, but that they are rendered with such consistent attention to personal identity that you feel you should know them. You expect to run into them on the sidewalk.

The book elevates self-examination to art form. The characters never dwell in melodrama, they never spout grand philosophies. The real revelations, the real tragedies, aren't in the big moments; they exist in the smallest actions, especially interactions, of the characters. The grand events are the kinds of things that carry their own weight with them. There's not much a writer can add, and Schappell wisely uses these life milestones as the framework for her stories, not as the driving force behind them. The result is often small, ordinary scenes that branch out into the larger world through memory, and with this device each scene moves beyond its apparent simplicity. It reminds us of the great complexity of mere existence.

To read this book is to enter the characters' heads, not just knowing their thoughts, but understanding, sometimes to an uncomfortable degree, their psychology. And, like most good books do, it makes you reevaluate your own.

posted by Zach_Powers on October 19, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Could be great - felt 'unfinished'.

I got this book because I read such great reviews of the book & author but I was left disappointed. I fully understood that they were 'short stories' but to me it felt like I was left hanging after each one. Then, some of the stories were related which made me think 'ok...
I got this book because I read such great reviews of the book & author but I was left disappointed. I fully understood that they were 'short stories' but to me it felt like I was left hanging after each one. Then, some of the stories were related which made me think 'ok now she will tie up the loose ends' but no, she didn't. I think the stories were well written and I got invested in each one, then the rug pulled out from under me. If you like endings like the Sopranos where the screen just turns black at the end, then you might not mind this. If you want some sort of ending (happy, sad, indifferent.. but some resolution) then you will probably feel as I do. A good example of several seemingly unrelated stories coming together is "Let the Great World Spin'. Hope that helps.

posted by 5867762 on October 23, 2011

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  • Posted October 19, 2011

    Real, not just realist

    I'm not sure that the girls in Building Blueprints for Better Girls are necessarily better for their experiences, but they are intensely familiar, as if I had studied their blueprints. As you read, it's hard not to think, Oh, I know her. It's not that a character reminds you of someone you already know, but that they are rendered with such consistent attention to personal identity that you feel you should know them. You expect to run into them on the sidewalk.

    The book elevates self-examination to art form. The characters never dwell in melodrama, they never spout grand philosophies. The real revelations, the real tragedies, aren't in the big moments; they exist in the smallest actions, especially interactions, of the characters. The grand events are the kinds of things that carry their own weight with them. There's not much a writer can add, and Schappell wisely uses these life milestones as the framework for her stories, not as the driving force behind them. The result is often small, ordinary scenes that branch out into the larger world through memory, and with this device each scene moves beyond its apparent simplicity. It reminds us of the great complexity of mere existence.

    To read this book is to enter the characters' heads, not just knowing their thoughts, but understanding, sometimes to an uncomfortable degree, their psychology. And, like most good books do, it makes you reevaluate your own.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2011

    Couldn't put it down.

    These interconnected short stories are so powerful they invaded my dreams. Shappell has written a heart-breakingly honest series of short stories capturing so much of what it can mean to be a teenager, young woman, wife and mother in the modern world. I often find I only like a couple of stories in short story collections, but w/ this book every story is solid - a book I look forward to rereading again, and soon. Impressive, literary, and moving. Would be a great book to read & discuss w/ friends.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2012

    Tori

    Bye

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  • Posted March 29, 2012

    A real page turner

    A real page turner

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  • Posted September 26, 2011

    Excellent

    Well written. Wonderful boook

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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