The Girl Factory: A Memoir

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Overview

It's 1985 in a small factory town near Pittsburgh. Eight-year-old Karen's parents are lifelong workers at the Anchor Glass plant, where one Saturday, an employee goes on a shooting spree, killing four supervisors, then himself. This event splits the young girl's life open, and like her mother, she begins to seek comfort in obsessive rituals and superstitions. This beautifully evocative memoir chronicles the next fourteen years, as Karen moves through girlhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. It illuminates ...

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Girl Factory: A Memoir

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Overview

It's 1985 in a small factory town near Pittsburgh. Eight-year-old Karen's parents are lifelong workers at the Anchor Glass plant, where one Saturday, an employee goes on a shooting spree, killing four supervisors, then himself. This event splits the young girl's life open, and like her mother, she begins to seek comfort in obsessive rituals and superstitions. This beautifully evocative memoir chronicles the next fourteen years, as Karen moves through girlhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. It illuminates small-town factory life; explores a complicated mother-daughter bond; thoughtfully unfolds a smart, but insecure girl's coming of age; achingly recounts her attempts to use sex to fit in; and ultimately uncovers the buried secret from her childhood—a medical file with an unbearable report. The Girl Factory deftly travels the intersections of memory and origin. Karen's body remembers details her mind has tried to control. As the young woman mines her interior landscape for answers, certain questions persist. Where does memory live—in the body or the mind? And can you rewrite the story of your past?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The raising of girls through the prism of men’s desire becomes an unsettling, suspenseful theme in this affecting first work by journalist Dietrich, who is an adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh, Greensburg. The second daughter to two longtime factory workers at Anchor Glass in rural Connellsville, Pa., Dietrich spun fantasies of grandeur while suffering the dark moods of her efficient, no-nonsense mother, who believed her daughter was destined for a greatness that would somehow justify their harsh, toilsome daily lives. Her mother’s suspicious nature (underscored by chapters titled as farmer’s wives’ sayings like “A Knife Under the Bed Will Cut the Pain”) seemed borne out by the senseless murders by a rogue worker of four supervisors at the Anchor factory in 1985, as well as the sudden illness of her beloved nextdoor neighbor and playmate, Samuel. Enrolled in a gifted program at her school, Dietrich found herself mostly friendless and awkward, despite the hopes of her mother; Dietrich found comfort in masturbation early on, discovered by her mother in a terrible scene of castigation that surely reveals her mother’s own secret sexual wounds. Indeed, Dietrich works beautifully by understatement, allowing her subtle clues to paint a terrifying world for the innocent protagonist. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"This book is stunning---a glinting, piercing wonder." ---Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762791811
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/8/2013
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,460,775
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Karen Dietrich
Cassandra Campbell has recorded nearly two hundred audiobooks and directed many more. She has been nominated for and won multiple Audie Awards, as well as a prestigious Odyssey Award, and she has been awarded more than twenty AudioFile Earphones Awards. Cassandra was also named a Best Voice by AudioFile for 2009 and 2010.
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Read an Excerpt

The Girl Factory

A Memoir
By Karen Dietrich

skirt!

Copyright © 2013 Karen Dietrich
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780762791811

I imagine a place where girls are made. Some roll off the assembly line shiny and wet, wheat colored hair sewn into their beautiful heads like dolls. Other girls are assembled from spare parts, pieces the shiny girls refuse—a leg here, an elbow there—our maker scavenging for anything to use. Building girls like me is lonely work, no reward for the journeyman, no bright fame. Inside the girl factory, it is dark as midnight, the workers toiling away, unable to see their hands. There are so many mistakes to be made, which is why I know there must be girls like me out there somewhere. I’m the glass thrown onto the cullet belt with a smash. I break into a hundred sharp pieces. The belt leads underground, where girls like me are melted, poured into molds so the maker can try again, try to get it right this time. But I keep coming out flawed—cold crizz, chip finish, bird swing. I look whole, yet crumble with a touch. I’m thrown back to the cullet, back to the melting pot, where I keep trying to come out right.



Continues...

Excerpted from The Girl Factory by Karen Dietrich Copyright © 2013 by Karen Dietrich. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 27, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I really enjoyed this book. I love the voice of the narrator, th

    I really enjoyed this book. I love the voice of the narrator, the world is described so vividly and she struck me as the type of girl that could have been any girl growing up I probably knew someone like her in high school, and i have to admit reading of her adventures growing up sent me on my own trip down memory lane. I loved her story, her world and I could understand her search for both a mother figure and a better connection to her own mother.

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