Undiscovered Gyrl

Undiscovered Gyrl

by Allison Burnett


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307473127
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/11/2009
Series: Vintage Contemporaries Original Series
Edition description: Original
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 591,952
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Allison Burnett is a screenwriter in LA and the author of Christopher, a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award, and The House Beautiful.

Read an Excerpt

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Last April when I decided to defer college for a year my friends said I was insane, but I’m not. I have no idea what I want to do with my life. What a waste of time and money to go to college if you don’t know! My mom was furious at me when I told her, although she pretended she wasn’t. She said “But, sweetheart, that’s what college is for. To discover your bliss.” That sounds great on paper but what if I don’t discover my bliss until the end of sophomore year and it has nothing to do with the classes I’ve already taken? I’d have to start over. Or what if it turns out my bliss is something that doesn’t require a college degree? Like jewelry design. Or horseback riding. Or sex. Ha!

The next morning my mother emailed me and said if I was really serious about deferring and wanted to go on living at home, I’d have to get a full time job. What did she think I was going to do, hang around the house all day?

When I told my English teacher, Ms. Rath, of my decision, she took off her hippie glasses, rubbed the purple spots on both sides of her big-pored nose and said “I’m concerned. A girl like you needs structure.” As if you can only get structure at college! That’s pretty harsh to all the kids who can’t afford to go. And what about the girls who do go but instead of studying get drunk every night and bone the whole football team? Is that structure? Ms. Rath said I should keep a journal or start a blog so that one day I will look back on my year off and learn from the experience. I told her that was a wonderful idea. I was lying to get away from her yellow teeth and vegan breath. At least that’s what I thought at the time. Guess not!

I hope I’m not a disgrace at blogging. I have always excelled at creative writing but I suck at grammar and punctuation and can barely write my own name without spell-check. (Ms. Rath thinks I’m mildly slysdexic. Ha!) Maybe this experiment will help me to discover my bliss faster. Hope so. Bye.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Most blogs are just some boring chick telling you everything you never wanted to know about her stupid life. Every single day she tells you more boring details until you just want to write to her and say “Yo, bitch, when something actually happens, let me know!” My blog will be the exact opposite. I’ll only write when I have something fascinating to report. Which is not now. Right now it’s Halloween. I’m going to put on my rotting corpse mask and get drunk.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Last night Dan called and asked if I wanted to come over and watch a movie. We both know what that means. Which is why I swore I’d never go back. But I did. In fact I ran the whole way. I have no will power. Outside his front door I put on my corpse mask and when he opened up I screamed “Boo!” He wasn’t scared at all. He just laughed.

It’s always the same with me and Dan. As soon as I get to his house, we light up cigarettes and start bitching about our love lives. Last night I complained about how when I got home really late Saturday night from a semi-rave, my boyfriend, Rory, was waiting outside my house. He flipped out and called me “a disgusting whore” even though I hadn’t done anything wrong. All I did was drink rum and root beers with a really funny skate-rat named Tobias who’s gay and doesn’t know it yet. Rory didn’t believe me. He got so jealous he yelled in my face and shook the shit out of me. When I told him to get the fuck out and never come back, he panicked. Within two minutes he was whining like a little bitch, telling me how much he loved me and begging me not to break up. He is grotesquely insecure. I have to dump him.

Then it was Dan’s turn. He complained about his French girlfriend, Martine, and how she’s been getting crazier and crazier lately. Right before her period, she calls him terrible names and throws heavy objects at his head. He says at these times she is “unfit for human consumption.” They had a major fight this week because he wants her to go on Prozac a few days before each period and she said no way, she’s not some stupid American who takes a pill every time she has an emotion.

Now that we’ve finished justifying what’s about to occur, Dan gets out the weed and I pick out a film from the three he’s Netflicked. Dan teaches cinema studies at a local college. He is absolutely brilliant and is writing his P.H.D. on Anti-Americanism in the works of Jean Luc Godard. The movies he picks for us to watch are all classics. No Hollywood junk. My relationship with Dan would be like my own personal film school if only I could get through a single movie with my pants on. Hahaha!

Last night it was so cold out that while Dan stuffed the bong, I borrowed one of his sweaters. I chose a big gray cashmere V-neck with holes in the armpits. Older men’s sweaters are the best.

. . .

We got totally stoned off two hits each then Dan hit play. The film was “The Seven Beauties” by Lena Vertmuller. (She also directed the incredible “Swept Away” which most people think is about sex but is actually about the class system in Italian society.) As usual we sat on opposite sides of the couch. Then about 15 minutes later, also as usual, I crawled over, pushed him down on his back and laid my head on his chest. I love watching movies like this, even though I can barely hear the dialogue sometimes, because of the noise his hand makes as he gently scratches my scalp. A therapist would say it’s because I get no love from my dad. I say so what? It still feels amazing.

I lose track of time on marijuana so I never know exactly how long it is before I kiss him. But I’m always the one who kisses first. If Dan made the first move he would feel way too guilty. He’s 32 and I’m 17. Can you say “jailbait”?

Once we start kissing, Dan goes insane. He pulls my shirt up, grinds me to death and in about two minutes my pants and underwear are on the floor. Is every older guy a master at oral sex or just Dan? I guess I’ll find out one day. Can’t wait!

Besides how good it feels, I also love it because I get to close my eyes and let my stoned mind wander wherever it wants to. A real journey. Last night I was back in our old house before my dad moved out. We were watching the Greenbay Packers on TV. When he screamed at the TV so did I, even though I was only six years old and didn’t understand the rules. Then I was floating on my back in a perfectly clear lake where we used to go every summer and the sunny sky had no clouds and Mr. Silaggi, the Hungarian man with the cabin next to ours, was on the shore clapping for me because it was the first time I’d ever floated with no help. He was wearing plaid shorts with black socks to cover the earthworm vains in his calves. Then it was last June and Principal Wise was handing me my diploma and whispering “We’re all so proud of you, Katherine.” He said this because as a freshman I spent three days in a mental hospital. Instead of his kind compliment making me happy good, it made me feel sorry for myself because it reminded me that my dad was too sick and selfish to be there. And then all of the sudden I was back in the present and Dan was crawling up my stomach wiping his mouth and saying “You get so close. Every time. But you always hold back.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry. It’s your loss not mine.”

Sad but true!

One wonderful thing about hooking up with an older guy is that you don’t have to reciprocate. Younger guys practically grab you by the hair and push you onto their dicks. “My turn!” Or else if they’re the sensitive type, they tell you how making love will bring you so much closer, and then they start to whine and beg like a hungry puppy. Yuck! Dan never makes demands. The only way I knew I was sexually frustrating him is that one time at the door he said “I’m going to cum before you get to the corner.” He was joking of course but I got the point. The reason I’ve been so selfish with him is that I always thought if we did anything more, we would end up having sex. I’ve never slept with a guy older than 22. Will it be different? Will I hate it? Or will I love it so much I’ll never want to have sex with a guy my own age again? These are the questions I ask.

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Undiscovered Gyrl 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
kren250 More than 1 year ago
Written in blog form, this book is about a lonely, self-destructive teenage girl. When the book (or blog;-) starts, the un-named protaganist is at a stand still in her life: no ambition for college, doesn't want to work, feels she's been left behind while most of her friends go on to college. As the story goes on, her life starts to spiral more and more out of control. All the while, she's blogging it all for her reader's to get the inside view. I read this book straight through in one day. Once I started it, I couldn't put it down. I thought it was very well written, and the plot was like a train wreck: you know things will be bad, but you just can't look away. And, despite some despicable behavior by the main character, you can't help but root for her. It's a good reminder how someone's actions may show one thing, but inside they might be feeling very different.
Aimala on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Publisher: Only on the internet can you have so many friends and be so lonely.Beautiful, wild, funny, and lost, Katie Kampenfelt is taking a year off before college to find her passion. Ambitious in her own way, Katie intends to do more than just smoke weed with her boyfriend, Rory, and work at the bookstore. She plans to seduce Dan, a thirty-two-year-old film professor. Katie chronicles her adventures in an anonymous blog, telling strangers her innermost desires, shames, and thrills. But when Dan stops taking her calls, when her alcoholic father suffers a terrible fall, and when she finds herself drawn into a dangerous new relationship, Katie's fearless narrative begins to crack, and dark pieces of her past emerge. Sexually frank, often heartbreaking, and bursting with devilish humor, Undiscovered Gyrl is an extraordinarily accomplished novel of identity, voyeurism, and deceit.My Thoughts: I started reading undiscovered gyrl thinking it would be a simple, quick read entertaining but somewhat immature for an adult. I expected to read a story that taught a lesson or attempted to instill values and morals, with some of the hokiness of an after school special, in young adults. Well, you know what they say about assuming something.. .ahem! ...well, jus don't! I never read YA Fiction before now but I certainly will after reading this book.An undiscovered gyrl is a young girl who doesn¿t feel valued, who feels she isn't noticed or is ignored by the world around her. She thinks if she vanished tomorrow nobody would notice. She¿ll say that she doesn't want to be noticed but she craves attention for the person she is not the person she appears to be. She fears being forgotten. An undiscovered girl has a family but her family members are wrapped up in their own lives. She is selfish partly because she feels like nobody really wants to know her true self.. She likes to dramatize her life and often over-reacts to even the smallest issues to get attention. An undiscovered girl is insecure and self-conscious because she feels unloved. It's common for her to do whatever it takes to get attention, even if the attention makes her feel badly about herself afterwards. An undiscovered girl is a lost, lonely young girl aching for someone to love her unconditionally and tell her it's okay to be herself. Katie is all of these things and so much more. Katie Kampenfelt is an undiscovered girl like so many female teenagers.I didn't like or dislike this book. "Like" is too simple a concept for how this book made me feel. Few books have cause me to experience the range of emotions I felt while reading undiscovered gyrl. At different times anger, disgust, sadness, pride, compassion, pity, laughter, aggravation, revulsion and fear coursed through me. Katie made me laugh, scream, grit my teeth, groan and smile intermittently. While reading the bits and pieces of her life she shared, Katie, the main character, appeared insecure and self-conscious like so many young girls today. But she's also arrogant, very intelligent and scared. She makes many poor decisions out of a desire to be loved and doesn't completely grasp the difference between unconditional love and being loved for what you can provide another person such as sex.. Katie's insecurity is partly the result of poor, selfish parenting and lack of attention. Glimpses of the sad little girl who just wants her daddy's love tugged at my heart strings but the drinking, drugging obnoxious Katie annoyed me.The blog entries that comprise undiscovered gyrl seduce the readers into believing they have an intimate, personal relationship with Katie. Reading her most personal thoughts and being privy to the details of her life feeds the voyeuristic tendencies most of us possess and that have made reality shows so popular. But in actuality we only know what Katie decides to tells us and what she wants us to think or know about her. Katie's flair for the dramatic, common to many teenage girls,
kren250 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Written in blog form, this book is about a lonely, self-destructive teenage girl. When the book (or blog;-) starts, the un-named protaganist is at a stand still in her life: no ambition for college, doesn't want to work, feels she's been left behind while most of her friends go on to college. As the story goes on, her life starts to spiral more and more out of control. All the while, she's blogging it all for her reader's to get the inside view.I read this book straight through in one day. Once I started it, I couldn't put it down. I thought it was very well written, and the plot was like a train wreck: you know things will be bad, but you just can't look away. And, despite some despicable behavior by the main character, you can't help but root for her. It's a good reminder how someone's actions may show one thing, but inside they might be feeling very different.
kraaivrouw on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I got this from ShelfAwareness. It was an easy read - breezed through it in a day. I understand that the movie rights have already been sold & they are making a movie of this with Miley Cyrus in the lead role which seems appropriate.This is a series of blog entries which on the surface sounds like it might be something different & cool, but in reality reads just like any other book done in diary form. The story is pretty basic & the characters are fairly stereotypical. I didn't really find anything surprising or disturbing about this book - it all seemed pretty predictable to me with behavior that felt about normal for teenagers at the end of or just outside of high school. Maybe I ran with a fast crowd.In any event, I think this has been done before & better. I kept thinking of Go Ask Alice (which ran through my middle school like a bad case of food poisoning) or the more recent Beauty Queen. Both of these are filled with teen angst, disaffection, disillusion, & confusion combined with risky behavior & poor decisions in both the life & sexual arenas. This seemed like the PG-rated version of these two books & wasn't as well-written.Ultimately, I wanted this book to be more transgressive than it was so it gets a mildly entertaining but not much to it review from me.
EKAnderson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was sucked into this voyeuristic mess from page one. Katie Kampenfelt is seventeen, and already everthing our mothers warned us about. Her blog chronicles her excessive drinking and drug use, her sexcapades with her boyfriend and the older man she's sleeping with, and fantasies about her boss. The style, while gimmicky, is relevant - everyone has a blog, everyone thinks their life is newsworthy. And while Katie's blog is indeed different from the rest, what she's writing is nothing you would want for anyone close to you. Like a bad reality show, you can't stop watching. But unlike said reality show, Undiscovered girl is cleverly written, culturally important, and the perfect summer read for young fans of transgressive literature. It's like Bridget Jones, if Bridget were a mal-adjusted, alcoholic, promiscuous teenager. And while most moms of actual seventeen year olds would be horrified to find this book in their daughter's room, you can bet the daring teens will be sneaking around to trade it with their friends.
dasuzuki on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have to warn you that this book can get pretty intense and kind of leaves you in a stunned state when it¿s done. The book is written in the format of blog posting by a 17 going on 18 year old girl as she chronicles the downward spiral her life is headed in. If you are a parent she is sort of your worst nightmare of what your child may be up to. I did not find her character very likeable yet she seemed very real which was even more surprising when I found out the author, Allison Burnett, is male. I found this book to be like watching a train wreck. It¿s horrible watching what Katie is going through and the choices she makes yet you won¿t be able to stop reading until you find out what happens in the end. Speaking of the ending it came as a total shocker to me and leaves a lot open for speculation. This is a definite must read book.
Wrighty on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Katie Kampenfelt is 17 years-old who has just graduated from high school. She is taking time off before she starts college and to help sort out her intense conflicts she decides to start a blog. The book is a series of posts written by her about her life, and what a life it is! She doesn't hold back and shares intimate details about everything - her relationship with her divorced parents, her friendships, her sex life. While it appears at first to be a story of a typical teen it quickly spins into a tale of her destructive behavior.Katie's actions become more and more disturbing as she spins out of control. When her attempts to get attention from her absentee father are rebuffed she eventually seeks out comfort from older, unattainable men. Her emotions are out of control and she goes from seemingly random sex acts to outbursts of uncontrollable crying. Her friendships are dwindling and she turns to drug and alcohol to dull her pain. She reveals it all in her blog posts with crude language that is very disturbing but also appropriate for her situation.My feelings about this book were very confusing. I found it to be shocking and raw but also compelling. I wanted to know what was going to happen to this teenage girl who was spiraling down into a pit of despair. It was like a car crash that I couldn't turn away from. I felt so bad for the child but I wanted to grab the teenager and tell her to wake up! But I did feel sympathetic for this character and understood how her poor choices snowballed out of control. The ending was quite a shocker that I never saw coming. I won't give anything away here but it did leave me wanting more. It was appropriate for the story but it was very frustrating. I was also surprised to find out that the author was a man. His writing was very believable as that of a broken young girl. This would be a very interesting title for group discussions.Thank you to Vintage Books for an ARC of this book.
bedda on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Katie decides to take a year off before she starts college and documents this time in a blog. Undiscovered Gyrl is that blog. It reads a lot like a diary in that it is a first person account in dated entries and since it is an anonymous blog it is filled with thoughts and actions that probably would not usually be shared. This setting, though, allows for some interaction between Katie and the people who email or leave comments and I think her response to them is sometimes even more telling than the blog entries themselves. Katie is blunt and at time even crude. Her life is filled with sex and alcohol and other self destructive behavior and sometimes you want to shake her and make her see what she is doing. Other times you want to slap her because she seems to see what she is doing to herself but she just doesn¿t stop. But at the same time you can¿t help but feel for Katie because you can also see the hurt and pain. Burnett does a good job of creating a voice for Katie and keeping true to it so Katie sounds natural and believable and it is not hard to see Katie as real and to quickly become involved in her story. It is a fast read, not because it is light subject matter but, because the story is engrossing and somehow you find that you can¿t look away. The ending leaves you with a lot of questions. Not just about the future but about the past as well. It is the kind of ending that some people will love and others will hate. I honestly don¿t know if I like the ending or not. In a way I feel gypped because I felt like we were getting to know Katie and then, well, suddenly not, but I definitely did not see it coming and it had me thinking about it long after I closed the book, two things that I think are good in an ending and often hard to achieve.
BookWhisperer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Undiscovered Gyrl was sent to me as a review book. Katie has just finished High School and has decided she is not ready to begin college. With some advice she decides that she need to document her time with a journey, but instead of keeping a record of her journey through writing she decides to keep a blog that details the highlights of her life. At this point I still felt this story had awesome potential, but once I began delving into this story I was quickly let down. The story is a long drawn out process of a young girl gone wild. Many teens have a point in their lives where they go a little crazy with immaturity, and show some true colors for a little bit of time. Most of the book was a steady stream of what I considered boring dialog, and it felt as though the story was lacking a direction. The portion of this story that I found exceptionally interesting was the last few page of Katie's Mothers blog entries. All in all this story was very unsetlling which could enormously have to do with that I have pressed past this point in my life, and now as a Mother it is a nightmare to think that sooner rather than later may children could be going through a life patch such as this.
trishalynn0708 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a difficult review to write. While I liked the book a lot it was still different. I liked it because it was written in blog form. I have read books written like diaries but never blogs. Some other things I liked is that the author makes you feel for Katie. She is a troubled teen who drinks, smokes, has a bad relationship with her father, and sleeps with older men. You can't help but feel sorry for her. Saying this, there are some things in the book that were very bold and detailed. Like Katie's language got rauncy once in a while, and her sex life is explained. And even though Katie is a teenager I wouldn't think that this book would be for a young reader. And I did not see the ending coming. It ends with Katie's last blog post as: "Wait, phone ringing. Someboday loves me. Stand by." I'm not going to say who picks up Katie's blog from here because I don't want to give anything away. But I have to say that I was not expecting the ending. And I am also still wondering what exactly happened. I wish the ending would have been a little different.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It would have been great to read an actual sample of this book, I don't think you can call 1 parapraph a "sample". I get that the book is on the $2.99 and under list but this is ridiculous! I don't know if the author or BN decide on the free sample content but if it was BN, then shame on them for ruining an opportunity for this author to entice people to read the book. If it's the author then shame on them for not giving the reader an opportunity to see what the book is about before laying down the money. Even with a cheap paperback you can skim the pages to get an idea or better yet, go to BN store an read this book on one of their comfy sofas.....for free.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
lk1073 More than 1 year ago
Curiously Captivating "Undiscovered Gyrl" chronicles Katie Kampenfelt's gap year between high school and college, a deferment she's hoping will help her "discover her bliss." Katie is sharp, sexy, and smart, and lots of ambition--but without much motivation to go with it, she's just not sure what to do with that ambition. Over the year, Katie keeps a blog to keep track of her thoughts and experiences. Through this blog, the reader gains insight into her romantic entanglements, insecurities and traumas, and both her deepest and shallowest desires--what the reader really gets, though, is a surprisingly well-done portrait of a teenage girl struggling to find out who she is and what she wants as the world around her moves on without her and the people in her life walk in and out--leaving various long-lasting positive and negative impacts. I found Katie endlessly fascinating, and even more so because of the fact that she is not someone I have been or would be around. Despite Katie’s various morally questionable and condemnable decisions, she still elicits great sympathy and intrigue from the reader. I found myself both smirking and sighing for her—a more emotionally accomplished novel might have left me laughing and crying. Despite the fact that she is only 17, Burnett does a good job at composing a well-rounded, believable, and utterly fascinating character. My review is negatively impacted by the novel’s conclusion. While I am not a reader who needs everything tied together in a bow at the end, this novel simply left too much out to even leave something to the imagination. Katie’s unreliability as a narrator is part of what makes her so fascinating, but this tactic undermines too much of Burnett’s work with the ending he has constructed. The reader is left without enough context or clues to be given the opportunity to come to any theories of their own. The abruptness suggest less of an intentional literary move on Burnett’s part, and more of a sudden realization that his story was coming to a close and he simply had no idea how to exit. Despite this, I would still recommend readers pick this up if they’re looking for a weekend read. Overall, it is an engaging character study and easy read that will leave a lingering impression on the reader—Katie is not someone easily forgotten.
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Grady1GH More than 1 year ago
Allison Burnett is able to absorb every facet of his created characters so completely that each of his books gives the reader the feeling that the first person narrator is the actual writer. Visit his previous books - CHRISTOPHER: A TALE OF SEDUCTION and THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL - and try to be convinced that the idiosyncratic characters are not real and writing their own memoirs. Now in UNDISCOVERED GYRL Burnett further challenges himself by writing a novel in the first person who happens to be both a girl and a female artifice created by the media we now live by - the internet. He manages to make this Katie creation so credible that her incredibility works! Who is she really - spoiled mouthy high school graduate or the femme fatale she creates with the device of the blog? Burnett's writing style is so fluid that he makes this initially wild idea for a novel capture the reader's attention and makes us go along with the preposterous shenanigans of a character about whom we know little except for the persona she manufactures, scratching our heads at times trying to figure out how the deception will play out, while most of the time just voyeuristically going along for the ride. He knows is craft and after his sojourns into the edgy worlds of his previous two novels, he has the guts to pull us further into those places most of us only silently peek at as we surf the www. This book is entertaining as a novel: this book is a real examination of where we are now in this distorted world of quasi-real communication and identities! Grady Harp
ERiiiN More than 1 year ago
the ending had me thinking about the book for a couple days tho.. -_- lol