Not That Kind of Girl [NOOK Book]

Overview

A moving, witty, and intelligent memoir of one woman's quest to find the answers to life's biggest questions

Raised in evangelical churches that preached apocalypse now, Carlene Bauer grows up happy to oblige the God who presides over her New Jersey girlhood. But in high school and college, her intellectual and spiritual horizons widen, and she becomes skeptical of the judgmental God she's been given. Still, she finds it hard to let go of the ideals she's been raised with, and...

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Not That Kind of Girl

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Overview

A moving, witty, and intelligent memoir of one woman's quest to find the answers to life's biggest questions

Raised in evangelical churches that preached apocalypse now, Carlene Bauer grows up happy to oblige the God who presides over her New Jersey girlhood. But in high school and college, her intellectual and spiritual horizons widen, and she becomes skeptical of the judgmental God she's been given. Still, she finds it hard to let go of the ideals she's been raised with, and to rebel as she knows she should. She loves rock and roll, but politely declines offers of sex and drugs; she thinks the Bible and the Norton Anthology of American Literature are equally authoritative guides to life. Since there are no churches worshipping the Jesus Paul Westerberg sang about in "Can't Hardly Wait," and no tidy categories for those who are neither riot grrrls nor altar girls, she hovers between a hunger for the world and a suspicion of it.

In her twenties, however, determined to make up for lost time, Bauer undertakes a belated and often comic coming-of-age in New York City. Between late blooming at parties and staying late at work, it seems that she might become as bold as she'd hoped to be—even if the late blooming is a little more hapless than highly erotic. And yet the city and its pleasures do not distract her from another hope: that she might learn how to have a faith that she can truly call her own. Enter the Catholic Church, and a conversion. But then she falls in love, and loses her religion—which leaves her wondering just what it means to be good.

Sharply written, hilarious, and touching, Not That Kind of Girl is the story of one young woman's efforts to define worldliness, ambition, and love on her own terms—while believing in, among other things, The Smiths, Virginia Woolf, and the transformative power of New York City. Fellow restless seekers will find solace in Bauer's struggle to create meaning in the face of overwhelming doubt, and fall in love with the highly original voice at the center of this unforgettable debut.

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Editorial Reviews

Elle
"[Bauer's] style is light but not trivial-the laughs she wrings from her moral dilemmas are shaded with melancholy longing. Her passion for truth never leaves her, it just shifts forms. . . . Conjuring up the journey of transformation that all of us undergo when we strip off the roles our parents chose for us in favor of improvised intellectual wardrobes scavenged from found ideas, favorite books, flea markets, and cool friends' closets . . . ..[Bauer] renders the journey soulful and suspenseful, a pilgrim's progress through modern-day bohemia.
—Walter Kirn
Kirkus Reviews
Bauer's relatable but unremarkable debut memoir describes growing up and attempting to define herself while also keeping her faith in God. Raised in the New Jersey suburbs during the 1970s, the author received an "accelerated Christian education," primarily from Old Testament stories, in a school operated out of a church basement. She was taught that she should put her self aside to serve God, and warnings about imminent Armageddon made her an anxious, fearful child. Her peers at Christian school were told to avoid television and radio, but she watched MTV and loved rock 'n' roll. Skeptical of religious fanaticism but still holding tight to her faith, Bauer wittily reveals the insufficiencies and insincerities of church and Christian paraphernalia. In high school and college, she observed the world of drinking, sex and drugs but did not partake. She dated boys and attended frat parties for "research" purposes while seeking guidance from authors like Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf. Virginal and sober, she discovered a love of poetry and the possibility of living a faith-based life with some flexibility, but she remained shy and insecure. She moved to New York City, aspiring to write and to create a new identity. She dug deeper into religion, society and herself, but repeatedly came back empty-handed. After sampling different denominations and ways of living, she finally gave up on the church and, later, God. As Bauer describes a slew of failed relationships, characters come and go too quickly for attachment, and the book devolves into a stream-of-consciousness narrative occasionally interrupted by events. Sarcasm and dry humor give way to a more desperate tone as her search for meaningbecomes harder and her list of questions longer. She never finds any real answers, and readers may find themselves as confused and discouraged as the author. Sassy societal commentary muddled by a lack of cohesion or a satisfying conclusion.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061893179
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/28/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 776,897
  • File size: 572 KB

Meet the Author

Carlene Bauer

Carlene Bauer has written for Salon, Elle, the New York Times Magazine, and n + 1. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Have you ever questioned the faith you were brought up to believe?

    Raised in evangelical churches that preach apocalypse now, Carlene Bauer grows up happy to oblige the God who resides over her New Jersey childhood. But in high school and in college, her intellectual and spiritual horizons widen, though still she finds it hard to let go of her ingrained ideals and to rebel as she knows she should.

    She loves rock n roll but politely declines offers of sex and drugs, and hovers between a hunger for the world and a suspicion of it. In her twenties, however, determined to make up for lost time, Bauer undertakes a belated and often comic coming of age in New York City - ultimately fall in love and losing her religion, and left wondering just what it means to be good.

    Sharply written, hilarious, and touching, Not That Kind of Girl is the story of one young woman's effort to define worldliness, ambition, and love on her own terms. (Excerpt back cover).


    My Review:

    In Not That Kind of Girl, Carlene Bauer takes us through her personal memoir of growing up like I did, raised in the Catholic church. There were the days of watching a Thief in The Night and then lying awake wondering just when Jesus was going to come back and take people away while leaving the unbelievers behind.

    She shares the story of struggle with her faith in her early childhood, where her lifestyle with the Catholic religion didn't give her the personal relationship we know is possible with Jesus Christ. The Christians should mentions in the memoir are the Bible thumping kind that define things in black and white, which TV shows, music and movies are of the devil and influenced by Satan. It is easy to understand the conflict that Carlene faces throughout high school and even in college dealing with her question of faith, and dealing with peer pressure that every single one of us has had to deal with.

    While I don't believe along the same lines as Carlene with regards to who God truly is, and thus willing to take risks while searching for it, I didn't grow up as a child with the same upbringing as she did. I didn't find my personal relationship with Jesus until my late 20's. This book is truly believable and in certain aspects of it, I could relate to her on a personal level with regards to the questions she asks of herself.

    I received Not That Kind of Girl by Carlene Bauer, compliments of TLC Book Tours for my honest review. I would rate this book 3 out of 5 stars for the overall content of the book. For more information about this book, the author and where to purchase a copy, please click on the link below:

    http://tlcbooktours.com/2010/04/carlene-bauer-author-of-not-that-kind-of-girl-on-tour-july-2010/

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 14, 2009

    Entertaining

    In, "Not that kind of Girl," Carlene Bauer hilariously yet philosophically explores eventual disenchantment with her religious and literary upbringing, in favor of maturing and becoming a real New Yorker. Bauer's memoir is easy to relate to, as Bauer recounts her Church upbringing in south New Jersey, her school transitions leading to a small Catholic college in Baltimore, and her on-going ambition to make it as a writer in the big city. Yet, Bauer soon learns that reality never quite matches the plots of her beloved books, and religious devotion can sometimes weaken her resolve. Innocent and naïve, her memoir re-awakens the teenager in all of us-wanting nothing more than to belong, find that other perfect partner, and survive adversity by drinking it away, going to parties, and feigning contentment. Bauer's real life only begins when she moves to New York City at the ripe old age of 23. Only there, does she learn to drink, party, and fleet from man to man in relationships harboring on the sexual yet curiously-for the most part-remaining platonic. Any new experience is treated as an "experiment," as Bauer appears to be an onlooker but never a participant of her own life. Soon enough, she finds herself unsatisfied with her office job and filled with increasing loneliness as her love life proves virtually non-existent, even as her best friend moves out to live with her boyfriend and female friends discuss their husbands. And yet, in true Hollywood fashion, Bauer's memoir retains the happy ending we all hope for. Her love life and career prospects improve, even as Bauer discusses losing her faith and insecurity about what it is she wants in life. Ultimately, Bauer's journey is both spiritual and revealing, showing not only her life but the workings of a modern society, no longer so puritanical in the age of sexual freedom, decadence, and capitalism.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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