Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl by Andrea Lawlor

Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl

It’s 1993 and Paul Polydoris tends bar at the only gay club in a university town thrumming with politics and partying. He studies queer theory, has a dyke best friend, makes zines, and is a flâneur with a rich dating life. But Paul’s also got a secret: he’s a shapeshifter. Oscillating wildly from Riot Grrrl to leather cub, Women’s Studies major to trade, Paul transforms his body at will in a series of adventures that take him from Iowa C...

Details Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl

TitlePaul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl
Release DateNov 1st, 2017
PublisherRescue Press
GenreFiction, Lgbt, Glbt, Queer, Fantasy

Reviews Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl

  • Cathy
    I loved, loved, loved this novel. A nostalgic trip back to the queer 90s wrapped up in a speculative temporal-space odyssey that inspires a meditation on gender, sex, identity, home, atmosphere, place, and love. Because what else is there?I got to read the manuscript and can't wait to read it once it's published in November!
  • M.
    I wrote this as an introduction to Andrea's reading for the NYC book launch at Bureau of General Services--Queer Division, November 2017: I first met Paul – the novel’s protagonist – in Philadelphia in 2005 or 2006, in one of my first workshops in Temple’s graduate creative writing program. It was a short story at that time and though, as a young still-presumably-straight person there was much I didn’t yet understand about the live quee...
  • Alvin
    Every page of this PTTFOAMG sparkles with sly, clever wit and sharp insights, both sociological and psychological. The novel is delightfully free of the tediously tidy character arcs or contrived plot complications so common to middlebrow fiction these days; instead, readers are treated to an amusingly rakish protagonist's meandering adventures. In other words, it's a true picaresque. And speaking of the protag, Paul, the promo for the novel high...
  • Rhode
    Holy shit. I read this in one giant gulp. Partway through a friend dropped by unexpectedly, and there I was standing in the hallway unable to speak coherently. She took one look at me and said, “whatever that book is, go back to it. It’s ok. I’ll see you later.” So I lay back down on the sofa, day turned to night and I did not do anything else until I’d finished it. The funny thing is, it was one of those books where you’re unwillingl...
  • Tim Jones-Yelvington
    w/ its body shifting protagonist, most folks will likely interpret this through the lens of the malleability of gender, sex and identity. But I found myself thinking just as much if not moreso about queer lives/chronologies/trajectories/biographies as circuitous/interrupted/episodic, about the picaresque—with its rejection of heteronormative hero recognition, maturation and epiphany—as a queer form, and about my own affinity for Paul's compul...
  • James
    This was fun. Especially if you actually remember and liked the 1990s. Especially the gay 90s. Also, it's a clever way to write about some of the differences between gay men and lesbians.
  • Rob
    Usually books that meander and don't have a strong plot drive me crazy, but in this book it completely worked. It was super atmospheric, slice of life, and weird - kind of like a book version of a Sophia Coppola movie. I loved Paul as a character, loved the window the book gives into 90's queer culture, loved the way it makes you think about gender & sexuality & relationships. It took me a lot longer to get through than a book of this length typi...
  • Kristen
    This book is AN EXPERIENCE. Just the queer read I needed to start the year. You can see a lot of biases in Paul/Polly and I think that's what makes this such an honest (while often times over the top) book.
  • Chris
    While Paul Takes The Form of a Mortal Girl is an engrossing read, it doesn't delve as deeply into gender identity as it maybe thinks it does. Although set in the 90's, Paul could just as easily be a modern-day millennial as he/she/they navigate the streets of Iowa City, Chicago, and San Francisco, aimless save for an insatiable libido. The unapologetic and graphic sexuality is commendable especially in a genre that tends to- more often than not- ...
  • Katie
    This book came to me as a gift, with an enthusiastic recommendation by my friend, a friend of the authors. She said it was nostalgic with a lot of very queer sex. She was right! Paul is a shapeshifter who can change his gender at will, and will change to suit the mood of whatever conquest he as his eyes on at the moment. He also makes zines, hangs out a punk shows, and generally likes to investigate the queer music scene of Iowa City in the 90s. ...
  • Caroline
    A book that uses River Phoenix in My Own Private Idaho to describe its main character in the first chapter was obviously written for me. Paul reminds me of other 90s-set lit I've read: JT Leroy with a Gender Studies degree and without the spectacle of trauma; The Orange Eats Creeps but less gutter punk and more lucid.There's a lot of pop culture references and skating around theory that might only appeal to a specific audience, but since I'm in t...
  • Emily Carlin
    Fun read. My fave part of this book is when Paul makes his crush a mix. It was fun to think back on when making a mix for someone meant creating a physical object (in this case, a tape). Do young ppl make each other Spotify playlists or something now? What if you use Spotify and your crush uses Apple Music? But anyway, one of the songs on the tape that Paul makes is, “I’m Lucky” by Joan Armatrading, which I’ve since become obsessed with. ...
  • wilde (jessica)
    [4.5/5] Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl straddles the lines between pure punk indie lit and clever young adult fantasy while steeping itself in 90s nostalgia, mixtapes, and glittery, combat-booted goodness. It's a shapeshifting meditation on gender and queerness, too, one that allows itself to be thoroughly, OTT debauched even as it steps back to read like a sort of Riot Grrl Orlando.
  • Kelly H.
    I would give this book 3.5 starsIt was interesting and well written. The main character was at times annoying and other times endearing. The book was a bit graphic at times. I feel like I would have enjoyed this book with the help of a literature professor to discuss key points, themes and symbolism.
  • Veronica
    Read for work. Not to my personal taste (too literary, and I was a little kid in the ‘90s so I’m not nostalgic about the adult cultural landscape that’s such a big part of the novel) but certainly an interesting book. I haven’t read Orlando, but it felt like a book I could recommend to people who loved Orlando if that makes sense.
  • Wendy Ortiz
    Too early to call this one of my favorite books of the year? Who cares. It is.
  • Margaret
  • Rachel
    Undoubtedly one of my new favorites!
  • Lynne
    Interesting, contemporary, gender bending story of a likeable but flawed (or maybe not?) individual.
  • Annie
    One of my favorite books so far this year. Reading this made me realize I haven't read many books with queer protagonists. Well written and completely encapsulates the early 90s. 10/10.
  • Steven Pfau
  • Sarah
    I wanted to like this book way more than I did. It’s probably closer to a 2 Star.
  • Beverly
    I enjoyed 80+% of this book a lot. I loved experiencing the world through Paul's eyes. However, that end of the book just kind of petered out for me.