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The Only Girl in the Car: A Memoirby Kathy Dobie
Synopses & Reviews
The Only Girl in the Car
Bookworm and dreamer, Kathy was a young girl with a tender heart, an adventurer’s spirit, and a child’s terrible confusion about her proper place in the world. As the oldest daughter in a family of six children, she seemed trapped in her role as Big Sister and Mommy’s Helper. Then, one day, teetering on the brink of adolescence, hormones surging, she heard someone call her “cheesecake,” and suddenly saw her path.
“Cheesecake, jailbait, sex kitten”--the very words seemed to be “doors opening” to a splendid new self. But from the moment she decides to lose her virginity and reels in her prey, a “full-grown man,” fourteen-year-old Kathy is headed for trouble. One cold, raw March night some months later, parked in a car with four boys on the outskirts of her small suburban town, she finds it.
Though she could never have foreseen the outcome of that night, the “boys in the car could just as well have been Gypsies foretelling my future,” she writes. Girls who break the rules in small towns like the one she lived in are expected to pay a very high price for their transgressions--and she did.
And yet...this young girl, as scrappy a protagonist as any in our literature, manages to transform her fate. The story of how she came to be in that car, and how she stepped out of it forever altered, to be sure, yet not forever damaged, is the theme of this extraordinary coming-of-age tale.
"Like many coming-of-age stories, Dobie's is painful, in large part because of the cultural cusp her generation of women had to navigate. Sexual liberation was celebrated...but girls with reputations were doomed. Although Dobie doesn't expose a new world, her text is engaging." Publishers Weekly
"[U]nsettling and unsparing....[Dobie's account] is relieved by stories of loving relationships between her and her siblings and by parents who supported her even when they knew something terrible was being hidden. Strong stuff, but an authentic picture of the emotional fog and urgent needs that sometimes leads teenagers to self-destruct." Kirkus Reviews
"This is the most honest, unflinching account of the sexuality of an adolescent girl I've ever read. Kathy Dobie treads fearlessly in that undiscovered country." Haven Kimmel, author of A Girl Named Zippy
"The Only Girl in the Car is a memoir at its best — haunting honesty combined with literary grace. An impossible task, but this book accomplishes it, in a form so elegant as to seem effortless....What a storyteller, and what a soul to tell it!" Jennifer Lauck, author of Blackbird
"The Only Girl in the Car is at once as comfortable as a dear friend and as terrifying as a dear friend's darkest secret. Open and honest and dignified, this is the memoir, often funny, always intelligent, of an era, of a family, but, most of all, of a remarkable and resilient girl's intimacy with her own mistakes." Cathleen Schine, author of Alice in Bed, The Love Letter, and The Evolution of Jane
"Kathy Dobie writes a prose so fine that she leaves the reader breathless with pleasure." Richard Rodriguez
About the Author
Kathy Dobie has written for Harper's, The Village Voice, Vibe, Salon, and a number of other magazines. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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