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Not That Kind of Girl: A Memoir

Not That Kind of Girl: A Memoir

4.3 3
by Carlene Bauer

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“[A] stunning new memoir… thick with contemplation, packed with ideas and images rendered in exacting, evocative prose…. Brave and startlingly beautiful.” —Time Out New York

“Truthful, intelligent, and engrossing. This may become a generation's definitive account of books and the city.” —Jeff Sharlet,


“[A] stunning new memoir… thick with contemplation, packed with ideas and images rendered in exacting, evocative prose…. Brave and startlingly beautiful.” —Time Out New York

“Truthful, intelligent, and engrossing. This may become a generation's definitive account of books and the city.” —Jeff Sharlet, New York Times bestselling author of The Family

A loving and literate, honest and insightful look into the heart of that unsung heroine: the good girl. Fans of the strong narrative voices of such writers as Donna Tartt (The Secret History, The Little Friend), Nell Freudenberger (Lucky Girls, The Dissident), and Amy Bloom (Come to Me, A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You), as well as books such as The Nanny Diaries, Prep, and The Devil Wears Prada, will love Not That Kind of Girl: Carlene Bauer’s hilarious and touching memoir of God, books, and rock and roll.

Editorial Reviews

"[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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HarperCollins Publishers
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What People are Saying About This

Jeff Sharlet
"Not That Kind of Girl is a vigorously observed book about sex, God, and reading, by a tremendously talented writer who knows that none of those words-"sex," "God," or "reading"-leads to the kind of tidy conclusions that have come to make memoir a disreputable genre. Carlene Bauer's autobiography-one of the most truthful, intelligent, and engrossing I've read in years-redeems the form. This Christ-haunted confession of a 'good girl' who goes to New York may become a generation's definitive account of books and the city."--(Jeff Sharlet, New York Times bestselling author of The Family)
Mark Oppenheimer
"There are many memoirs that take sex seriously, many that take religion seriously, and still others that take rock music seriously. Not that Kind of Girl is about all three, and it's a true original. Thank God (yes, God) Carlene Bauer's book has arrived."--(Mark Oppenheimer, author of Thirteen and a Day: The Bar and Bat Mitzvah Across America)

Meet the Author

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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Not That Kind of Girl 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
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/
Alla_S More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago