The Girl Factory by Karen Dietrich

The Girl Factory

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 y...

Details The Girl Factory

TitleThe Girl Factory
Release DateOct 1st, 2013
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction

Reviews The Girl Factory

  • Sherrie
    I received an ARC of The Girl Factory through the Goodreads Giveaways program. The Girl Factory details the life of Karen Dietrich as she maneuvers her way through various friendships and a complicated mother daughter bond. Although, Karen is a precocious child and highly intelligent, she struggles after elementary school with building and maintaining relationships. Karen also seems to look for validation from others and seeks out friends who are...
  • Jennifer Frank
    I enjoyed reading The Girl Factory through Kindle. I finished it in 4 evenings, putting my homework aside because I kept wanting to return to the book. I like the cultural references, which those of us born in the mid to late 70s will all relate to. I also like the smooth and calm tone of the words and sentences. The growing pains and nuances of the girl childhood experience brought to life in the book, though each of us have a unique load of dis...
  • Dana
    I have a book review for you... just a warning... this is NOT a good review ... This is My very first time giving a one star review, I believed that if you can write and publish a book then you deserve at least 3 stars... Well not this book. I grew up in the area that the Author writes about I went to the same Jr, and Sr, High. I honestly thought this book was going to be about the aftermath of one of the Most horrific shootings to happen where I...
  • Allison
    Gave this novel about 40 pages, but I just couldn't concentrate, because I could never figure out what STORY she was telling. Dietrich's--admittedly lovely--descriptions jump all over the place, and while that may be the character's personality and/or way of narrating, it frustrated me to never know where the narrative was headed. There are plenty more books out there I'd like to read, so this one has been put aside.
  • Karyl
    As a little girl in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, Karen grew up in a middle-class home, the younger daughter of two people who worked in the Anchor glass making plant nearby. And in 1985, the year she was 8, a man shot and killed four Anchor supervisors before turning the gun on himself. That event marked and scarred everyone in the town, including Karen and her family.Or at least that's the way the book is marketed. In reality, there's not a whol...
  • Jpavalock
    Karen did grow up in privilege by most standards. Connellsville was working class, factory, coal mines and retail. People tried to provide everything that was necessary and some of the luxuries for their family. It was 1952 when we got our first television and we still had a party phone line, but we did have a phone! I had left by the '80's, and came to Texas. My Aunt was still living and I visited in 1984. Things had really changed. Most of dow...
  • Erin Forson
    Dietrich details her experience growing up in Pennsylvania in a factory town with parents who are lifelong Anchor Glass Factory employees. I'm not a prude, but I was a little disturbed by the early obsession the author has with sexuality and her body in the memior. Of course, the clues are there for anyone with some common sense to see that this obsession was one born of unusual events and is not normal in one so young. Sadly, the explantation fo...
  • Donna
    Wow! This young lady has grown into a certified word nerd, like me. She says: "I like words with more than one meaning. Petrified is an adjective that can mean converted into a stony substance or frightened so as unable to think or move. But there is a figurative meaning too- deprived of vitality or the capacity to change. We are all petrified in our own ways. We will all end up as fossils, our shapes eventually pressed into the ground and harden...
  • Jenn
    This coming-of-age story doesn't make loud pronouncements; it reveals itself quietly, intimately, and with an honesty that is as sharp and clear as the glass that ever-present in Dietrich's childhood. Dietrich finds the voice of her younger self, listens, and then lets her speak. The adult Karen, the writer, does not patronize her young narrator. Instead she crafts a narrative that is plainspoken, built upon the events we see in girls' lives, as ...
  • Christopher
    Floored. I am absolutely floored by this gorgeous slow-boil memoir of a young woman finding her way through family neuroses and secrets, and the winding labyrinth of adolescence/young adulthood we all must travel. Dietrich turns the horrors of her journey into poetry. I envy every page of this book, as a writer, and as a human being looking for connection in a sometimes cruel, sometimes seemingly heartless world. This book is a light--a very brig...
  • Jess
    I, along with other members of my book club, met the author at an event before the release of the memoir. We then read it for book club. Many of the references in the book are familiar since I grew up and live locally. There was a lot of reading between the lines to try to piece together what happened to Karen. People in my book club had different impressions on who exactly molested Karen. Though many in my book club thought Karen's uncle moleste...
  • Steph
    I got this book from a Goodreads giveaway and, sadly, I did not finish it.I've tried. Really, I've tried. Twice, in fact. Once when I first received the ARC and again several years later. I still cannot seem to get into it. The story seems to jump around and never quite makes any sense. Just when I think I have an idea of where Karen is taking the narrative, it veers off in another direction.This just didn't end up being for me.
  • Angelina
    This book was on again - off again. There were parts that really started to pull you in, but then automatically dropped off. The author did a great job describing her thoughts and emotions, but there was a lot of "hinting" of things and much speculation required by the reader, thus made you feel unsatisfied at the end.
  • Melissa
    As a child of the ’70s and ’80s growing up in Connellsville, PA, a working-class town located 57 miles south of Pittsburgh, Karen’s life is fairly predictable. Both of her parents work different shifts at Anchor Glass, a local bottle factory in town. They’re the proverbial ships passing in the night; their daughters Karen and Linda are latchkey children during an era when such arrangements were not only acceptable but very much the norm.I...
  • Maryellen
    Eight-year old Karen Dietrich is one of the smartest kids in school. She's preoccupied with her own body. She has a troubling relationship with her Mother and seems to idolize her Father. Karen also feels like she's an outcast among her peers. This isn't a story of a happy childhood. When I finished this book I felt such pity for the entire family. Pity for Karen for her memory of her childhood. Pity for Karen's Mother for her estrangement from h...
  • Karen
    I know the landscape of Karen Dietrich's memoir, The Girl Factory. It's a small factory town in rural Pennsylvania. It's a household where parents work different shifts at the local factory -- a mother who works days, while the father takes the "Hoot Owl" (A term used by my family for the night shift -- also called The Graveyard Shift). It's a house filled with pets and superstition and complicated love.Certainly, it was this familiar landscape t...
  • Chrissy
    I'm going to start out this review with a disclaimer: the author of this book was my college room mate during my senior year, her junior year. Having said that (and growing up in Pittsburgh), I think I had a different perspective on the book than the average reader. I'd be reading, and there'd be a mention of a favorite stuffed animal, and I'd remember it in our dorm room. Or there'd be a mention of a favorite radio station, which was the same st...
  • Shelly Itkin
    This is the story of Karen who is eight year’s old at the start of the book and takes us up to her college graduation. She lives in a small town called Connellsville, Pennsylvania where both of her parents work for Anchor Glass but different shifts. Half of the town work there and aside from the mass shooting that occurred when Sonny flipped out not much happens in the town. Therefore I found the book rather slow reading.Karen is not especially...
  • Barb
    The book starts out good by telling us about Karen's parents who work at the Anchor Glass plant in Pittsburgh. There is a shooting at the plant. Then it kind of drifted off from there.Karen talks about growing up in Pittsburgh with her parents and how her and her mother seemed to be pitted against her other sibling and her dad. They have a lot of superstitions in the family that Karen tends to do also. Karen likes to think of things in her mind a...
  • Kelly Bennett
    Love the girl factory/glass factory analogy. Interesting look at how a girl who's mother is mentally ill (seems to be manic-depressive)copes with it through obsessive-compulsiveness. Or so it seems until part way through the question of child abuse/incest is raised (and never clearly answered.) Karen sees herself--and is teased--for being ugly, hairly, a loner although in middle school she is a cheerleader and in high school, a flag girl. It defi...
  • Shawna
    I expect to be excoriated by someone because I didn’t finish the book yet I wrote a review. The reason why I didn't finish was a mistake that I found very early on. She reports that Ted Bundy murdered two college students in Gainesville, Florida. What she did, likely, was conflate Ted Bundy with Danny Rolling. Ted Bundy murdered two women in Tallahassee and a girl in Lake City. Danny Rolling murdered his college-aged victims in Gainesville. Yes...
  • Mia
    I received this book as an advanced reader's copy from Goodreads. I was really excited to win a copy because this had actually been on my to-read list a while now.This memoir deals with a lot themes/issues: depression, mental illness, troubled relationships with parents, loss of friendship, and moving on. There is a lot of heavy material in this book and I could see this being an excellent book for bookclubs to tackle.This is not a "happy ending"...
  • Lissa
    I won this book through the Goodreads Giveaway program. This memoir explores mental illness, childhood, loneliness and violence through vague segments of the author's life. She hardly ever directly discusses these subjects, which I kind of liked, but instead dances around them with her flowing and poetic language. This was a well written memoir but it did take a while to get accustomed to her use of the present tense while talking about episodes ...
  • Claire S
    Karen knows things. Like the importance of knocking on wood when you've never broken a bone (like me). Like dealing with a mother whose quirks often border on insufferable (like mine). What it feels like to grow up afraid, sometimes irrationally afraid. What you can do to make things better, even if those things are purely superstition or magical. Karen knows me, too. I mean, we first met years ago, when I was entering my formative teen years, an...
  • Erin M
    This book was.... unsettling for me. I saw so much of my own girlhood in this book. Not the "big secret reveal" - THAT never happened to me. But I totally GET that feeling that everyone else is in on a big secret that you aren't... that everyone has a "place" and you don't. I completely believed Dietrich's girlhood voice, and I found some of these dismal recollections rather depressing - mostly because they rang true of a time in my life that I w...
  • Jenn
    I enjoyed this book and I kept wanting to pick it back up when I had to set it down and do something else. The story stuck with me after i finished it and because I grew up in a similar time period I could identify with many parts of it even though I didn't grow up in a factory town I felt like i was there experiencing it when I was reading. The story has great flow, the voice of the narrator is fantastic. Be prepared to want to read this in shor...
  • Emily
    The Girl Factory is not scrubbed clean for its readers. This is a memoir that is honest, and at times incredibly uncomfortable to read, but it is also engaging, real, unafraid, and beautifully written. I had a hard time putting it down, although at points I really wanted to. While Karen's childhood and adolescence had some twists and turns that don't happen in every family, the underlying premise of finding the kind of girl you are in a complicat...
  • Laura
    The book begins with Karen as a young girl, and portrays life with two parents as factory workers, and follows her through her teenage years into college. This book focuses on the relationships with her parents, and the multitude of people that go in and out of her life.I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to get an image of Pittsburgh in the 1980's and 1990's. It was an interesting book to read.
  • Cailey
    Not a whole lot happens in this memoir, which is ok, but kind of unsatisfying. The character has several revelations that amount to very little, and aren't mentioned again. I find this unsettling. The book does show a lot about growing up in a complicated family, and typical suburban issues. The author doesn't dwell on anything, but that's kind of a downfall.