Dead Girls by Alice Bolin

Dead Girls

A collection of poignant, perceptive essays that expertly blends the personal and political in an exploration of American culture through the lens of our obsession with dead women.In her debut collection, Alice Bolin turns a critical eye to literature and pop culture, the way media consumption reflects American society, and her own place within it. From essays on Joan Didion and James Baldwin to Twin Peaks, Britney Spears, and Serial, Bolin illum...


Details Dead Girls

TitleDead Girls
ISBN9780062657169
Author
Release DateJun 26th, 2018
PublisherWilliam Morrow Paperbacks
GenreNonfiction, Writing, Essays, Feminism, Crime, True Crime
Rating

Reviews Dead Girls

  • Emily
    1970-01-01
    Let’s call this one two and a half stars. Alice Bolin is smart and talented--I can say that confidently--but she’s doing too much at one time. How she landed on the title is completely beyond me, because the Dead Girls to which she is referring are mentioned only sparingly. A better title for this book would be “I Moved to L.A. and it Made Me Sad,” with the subtitle “Can I mention every one of Joan Didion’s published works in 250 page...
  • Autumn
    1970-01-01
    Even though this book didn’t examine the dead girl trope as much as I wanted it to, it’s still an incredible examination of the forces that create an environment that allows the dead girl trope to thrive. She also looks at the ways white women and white feminism are both trapped by, perpetuators, and by-products of the male gaze. Honestly, it’s one of the most critically interrogative essay collections I’ve read in a while. She even point...
  • Kusaimamekirai
    1970-01-01
    The essays on the female body in American film, literature and television, or “The Dead Girl”, were very insightful. As someone who often analyzes (too much according to more than one annoyed friend) the images and words that flicker in front of my eyes, I had never really thought about what the author writes here about why the “dead girl” plot device is so popular. She argues that it is because it becomes a tableau for predominately men ...
  • Natalie
    1970-01-01
    This isn’t quite the meditation on dead girls and women as a particular obsession of our culture that I wanted. There are a handful of essays that touch on it, but this is mostly the navel-gazing of a privileged white girl who read too much Joan Didion, moved to Los Angeles on a whim, and how it made her Very Sad.
  • Rebecca Renner
    1970-01-01
    I enjoyed reading this book. Bolin is great at personal essays and cultural criticism. She left some questions unanswered though. My review for Broadly digs into that: https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/articl...
  • Emily
    1970-01-01
    The blurb on the back of the book explains that the book will take you through dead women in fiction and the larger problems of living women. And I suppose it does, kind of, do that, starting by dipping its toes in the waters of “Dead Girl Shows” like True Detective and Twin Peaks, then devolving into dissections of books, movies, and songs where women have some sort of troubling presence--all loosely tied to the writer’s life/background--t...
  • Bekki
    1970-01-01
    i don't understand how she ended up with the title of this book. i'd say about 40 pages are dedicated to the american obsession of the "dead girl" trope and then the rest segues into bolin's self indulgent memoir that truly has no direction. she writes about her father, then her move to LA, her boring white girl problems, AND THEN throws in basically every piece joan didion has every written, seeming to idolize her, then drags her for being class...
  • Kazen
    1970-01-01
    I have mixed feelings about Dead Girls - it starts amazing but sadly I had trouble getting all the way to the end.I do want to be clear - the first part, about the titular women American culture obsesses over, is incredible. Bolin talks about "Dead Girl Shows" that use the memory of women-who-were to tell stories about the men who killed them or seek to revenge their deaths. Instead of looking at the impulse some men have to prey on young women t...
  • Julia
    1970-01-01
    What a beautiful, insightful book! Dead Girls is an original first person coming-of-age story rooted in essays that reckon with pop culture's obsession with girls (white ones, primarily, which Bolin examines) and what all this means for the self— that vulnerable, fleshy material that is forced to see itself as both an object of adoration and an object to be destroyed, when all it's trying to do is get a good job with benefits and a taco truck b...
  • Makenzie
    1970-01-01
    My favourites in this collection were definitely "Toward a Theory of a Dead Girl Show," "The Husband Did It," and "A Teen Witch's Guide to Staying Alive." I also loved Bolin's writing about general pop culture, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Twin Peaks, and Lana Del Rey, and I fell particularly in love with her musings about LA and her focus on Joan Didion. This book is somewhat falsely marketed as most of it past the first essay strays from a ...
  • Rachel Davies
    1970-01-01
    this book knocked me out. i can't wait for everyone to read it
  • Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
    1970-01-01
    I think I expected a little more true crime focus to these essays than there was. The collection was a lot of personal reflections and musing on various books and films, and it was interesting to hear the author’s perspective on works by literary giants like Toni Morrison. I will say, if you’re a Joan Didion fan that you’ll appreciate the references that pop up throughout this collection! I’d also recommend listening to the @thereadingwom...
  • Monika
    1970-01-01
    I really wanted to love this, but I can't help but feel like I was misled. The analysis of the "Dead Girl" only pops up occasionally from chapter to chapter. Instead, this is more of a memoir with a dash cultural criticisms and numerous references to Joan Didion. There's nothing wrong with this, but it's not what I signed up for. Bolin is extremely intelligent and insightful, but I would have liked to see that keen eye turned to the actual topic ...
  • Katie
    1970-01-01
    Two things: 1) I loved this smart, insightful, and funny collection of essays by Alice Bolin. 2) It’s not really about what you think it’s about. I went into Dead Girls expecting a collection of essays examining our cultural obsession with violence against women as entertainment. The book’s called Dead Girls, for god’s sake. But only the first few essays really address that topic. Honestly, Bolin is more focused on Joan Didion than on the...
  • Neville Longbottom
    1970-01-01
    3.5 - Hmmm. This wasn’t totally what I thought it would be. From the title and summary I thought it was mainly going to be focused on the obsession with “dead girls” in pop culture. From fictional stories and true crime stories about murdered or abused women, and why society is so enamored with them. That is the focus of the first section of the book, but then after that most of it veers off and doesn’t relate back to the “dead girls”...
  • Carol
    1970-01-01
    So approximately 50 pages of this 288 page book dealt with Dead Girls--and the author made some excellent points and gave me a lot to consider as I consume pop culture. Those chapters read like the best essays from Bitch Magazine. Consume your pop culture, but be very aware of what we're actually hearing/watching/reading. However.Everything else was disappointing. If I wanted to read a book about how someone moved to LA and didn't like it, or lov...
  • Susan Merrell
    1970-01-01
    Underscoring the importance of this book--when you search for it on Goodreads, about a thousand books with Dead Girl in the title come up. The first few essays, about the patriarchy and what our obsession with dead women actually means about our culture, are brilliant. The rest of the book is really fine.Well worth the read, especially if you are a writer working in the murder area.
  • Paula Russel
    1970-01-01
    This was somewhat interesting and enjoyable, but I feel like I expected it to be an analysis of a specific harmful trope from a feminist perspective. It felt more like a collection of personal essays mixed with literary criticism, and it felt like the trope of America’s obsession with women who die young was merely something that popped up here and there based on the authors interests and life story. I feel like I’m ultimately disappointed, b...
  • Richard Noggle
    1970-01-01
    (3 and a half stars!)Bolin's collection of cultural criticism is sharply observed and pretty accessible, offering a nice mix of close analysis and personal reflection, though it's a little less explicity focused than the title suggests. As with any collection, readers will gravitate toward certain pieces. I personally loved the dissection of Los Angeles Noir (which articulated a connection between the "aimlessness" of the plotting in these works ...
  • Marisa Carpico
    1970-01-01
    A disappointment. The first section is good and then it goes off the rails as Bolin makes 2 mistakes she’s so afraid of making: over-inflating the importance of her own experiences and using the titular dead girls as a sexy marketing gimmick.The pop cultural criticism worked best for me, though some of it is so haphazardly presented that it isn’t as strong as it should be. Perhaps the strongest single chapter is the one on the Canadian film ...
  • Alex Bledsoe
    1970-01-01
    This collection of essays seems slightly mis-titled, since only the first one really deals with the “dead girl” trope (think Laura Palmer in “Twin Peaks”) in any depth. But the others are just as fascinating and well-written, combining personal experience with a wide range of pop culture (and regular culture) touchstones to create a very specific account of how growing self-awareness mixes with the art we choose, and the places we live. T...
  • Andy
    1970-01-01
    The concept of the book, as it is marketed/promoted, is excellent! I had high hopes of reading some sustained contemplation of "dead girl" fiction in film, tv, and literature. And the first chapter had some sparks in it.But ultimately this collection reads like an assembly of last-minute seminar papers and personal journals from one's first year in graduate school. For example, the piece on Twin Peaks had some productive provocations, but the cla...
  • Melissa
    1970-01-01
    A very interesting set of essays. Parts 1 (The Dead Girl Show) and 3 (Weird Sisters) are the strongest sets of essays examining the culture’s obsession with The Dead Girl in TV/film/books and how a living female body is harder to handle (“Just Us Girls” about the B-horror flick Ginger Snap is excellent). Part 2, which is about LA and Bolin’s connection with Joan Didion was fine, but the writing didn’t feel as strong to me.
  • Emily
    1970-01-01
    4.5 - this book was not exactly what I thought it was (more personal than I thought), but I really enjoyed the analysis presented and the way that it was integrated into stories about her own life. Also I may or may not (absolutely did) at the mentions of We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I would recommend this, and I had the absolute honour of hearing her speak a few days ago!
  • Thelonia Saunders
    1970-01-01
    This one is rough. I really, really enjoyed the first and third section, but the 2nd and 4th fell a bit flat to me, as someone who doesn't particularly care about LA or Joan Didion (and who was expecting more cultural analysis and not an autobiographical dive into the author's life that isn't particularly relevant).Honestly, I'm going to check out the author's articles, since I suspect that the stronger pieces in here probably exist as stand-alon...
  • Carrie Surbaugh
    1970-01-01
    I think I really wanted to give this 3.5 stars. This essay collection is a bit uneven— some of the essays are beautiful and cogent, but some meander a bit too far. I also expected more essays to focus on true crime and America’s obsession with dead girls, but I felt the theme got lost about halfway through the book.
  • Jason Diamond
    1970-01-01
    This is my favorite new essay collection I've read so far in 2018.
  • Casey
    1970-01-01
    I had high expectations for this book considering it’s subject matter is so fascinating; the American media is indeed disgustingly fascinated with the plot of having the girl next door undergo some type of traumatic death or accident, and I was happy to learn more about the audience’s morbid eagerness to watch the story unfold. While I knew there would be some of Bolin’s personal experiences intertwined within this book, I thought that it w...
  • charlotte (outdatedlibrary)
    1970-01-01
    Read it in a day, just couldn’t stop. A great essay collection.