The Girl Who Ate Kalamazoo

( 5 )

Overview

In this charming novel, Darrin Doyle paints a captivating portrait of the all-American family—if the all-American family’s youngest child ate an entire city in Michigan with a smile, that is. Doyle has a flare for writing about family dysfunction with a twist. With a unique blend of realism and fantasy, The Girl Who Ate Kalamazoo is the moving story of the hauntingly beautiful Audrey Mapes, who began her illustrious “career” by downing crayons by the carton only to graduate to eating an entire city one bite at a ...

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The Girl Who Ate Kalamazoo

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Overview

In this charming novel, Darrin Doyle paints a captivating portrait of the all-American family—if the all-American family’s youngest child ate an entire city in Michigan with a smile, that is. Doyle has a flare for writing about family dysfunction with a twist. With a unique blend of realism and fantasy, The Girl Who Ate Kalamazoo is the moving story of the hauntingly beautiful Audrey Mapes, who began her illustrious “career” by downing crayons by the carton only to graduate to eating an entire city one bite at a time. With vivid, acerbic wit, Doyle details the life of the world’s most gifted “eatist” through the eyes of Audrey’s sister, McKenna. Through her eyes, we see the real tragedy of the Mapes story is not the destruction of a city, but rather, the quiet disintegration of a family who just didn't quite know how to love.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Darrin Doyle’s The Girl Who Ate Kalamazoo is wildly out there, but its message about family dysfunction is achingly real."DailyCandy.com, Best New Winter Reads Pick

“As quirky, funny, and masterful as it is, Darrin Doyle’s The Girl Who Ate Kalamazoo isn’t just a book about a girl who ate a city—it’s about the hunger we all have, for love, for family, and for home."—Alix Ohlin, author of The Missing Person and Babylon and Other Stories

"Darrin Doyle's The Girl Who Ate Kalamazoo is about, well, the girl who ate Kalamazoo, but it's about much more than that: family, religion, urban blight and renewal, fame, literature, sister love, and weightlifters. This is why Audrey Mapes is such an incredible character: in creating this girl who can and will eat everything, Darrin Doyle has also created a way to talk about the things that matter most to us. It's an incredible, riotous, beautifully written, sneakily profound novel. I don't know of another book like it; I would be jealous of it if I weren't so busy being amazed by it."—Brock Clarke, author of An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England

Publishers Weekly
Crafting an elaborate fictional world for his second novel, complete with fabricated news reports and other source material (“verified” by the editor), Doyle (Revenge of the Teacher’s Pet) successfully evokes a moment that will make readers wonder: could this be real? Audrey Mapes is a beautiful Midwestern girl born with no feet and given to eating nonfood items like wood, metal, fabric, or plastic without any adverse effects. Doyle’s narrative follows Audrey and her family, including twin siblings Toby and McKenna, as they cope with Audrey’s bizarre affliction—her father by means of absence, her mother by pills, her grandmother by religion and her siblings by further eating disorders. Told from McKenna’s point of view, the often disturbing story pursues Audrey from unhappy childhood through adulthood success; she earns fame through a traveling freak show and, eventually, arrives in the Michigan city of Kalamazoo for a climactic eating event. While Doyle’s novel is relentlessly inventive, his characters are irredeemably unlikable, making it difficult to care about any of the bizarre goings-on. (Jan.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312592318
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 1/5/2010
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

DARRIN DOYLE was born and raised in Michigan and even lived in Kalamazoo. (Fortunately, he was not there during Audrey’s “renovations”) His short stories have appeared in Puerto del Sol, The Long Story, Alaska Quarterly Review, Antietam Review, Laurel Review, and, Night Train, among others. He currently teaches fiction writing and literature at Central Michigan University.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2012

    Leafkit

    I her moonscar who is my mom

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

    Posted April 18, 2012

    Moonstar

    Goes to get poppeyseed ad goves it to Brightmist

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

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Brilliant

    It's smart, funny, engaging, and wholly original, which is much more than you can expect from most modern novels.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 3, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A dark chocolate book with a sour ball center.

    Yes, most of the characters are fairly unlikable throughout. Yes, it's odd and dark and probably a much sadder book than many people are looking for. It's also a wonderful read.

    If you need comparisons, it's like John Irving grew up on SCTV and George Saunders instead of whatever he actually watched on TV and Dickens. Smart, funny, ridiculous, surprisingly touching, and fully aware that sometimes you need a character and sometimes you need a caricature. It's finding the balance between the two that's difficult, and it's a line that isn't easy to walk in a novel.

    It's really about a girl who eats a city. It's not a metaphor. It's about a messed-up midwestern family and the lengths people will go to to be alone. It's not a nice story and nothing really good happens to anyone.

    It's weird, but never just to be weird. There's no how-clever-I-am-in-my-postmodern-way ironic irony. There are no back-patting stretches of understanding and explaining morality. It never reads like a bad fanzine review of the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow (although they do make an appearance--the only time I was taken out of the novel in its entirety; the eating of a city seemed more natural than a mention of these guys) in its treatment of the bizarre (and there's enough of it here for two books), but it also knows when to make a joke instead of a statement. It's not a dramedy; it's a drama and a comedy.

    It's smart, but never just to appear smart. The story revels in deformity, all of it; the physical and the mental and the things we call entertainment and media and our families but it never FEELS like it's about those things. It's just a story, told secondhand through the bull**** detector that I don't think a lot of writers have these days.

    I was left completely satisfied but also wishing there was another hundred pages. I don't know if I could say that about too many other books. I can say that I really haven't read another book like this one. It's highly original without being stylistically repulsive. It's a genre novel and also on a planet of its own. It's a conventionally written book that defies convention. It's no Confederacy of Dunces...but it probably breathes the same air.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

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