Synopses & Reviews
Raised in evangelical churches that preached apocalypse now, Carlene Bauer grows up happy to oblige the God who presides over her New Jersey girlhood. But in high school and college, her intellectual and spiritual horizons widen, and she becomes skeptical of the judgmental God she's been given. Still, she finds it hard to let go of the ideals she's been raised with, and to rebel as she knows she should. She loves rock and roll, but politely declines offers of sex and drugs; she thinks the Bible and the Norton Anthology of American Literature
are equally authoritative guides to life. Since there are no churches worshipping the Jesus Paul Westerberg sang about in Can't Hardly Wait
, and no tidy categories for those who are neither riot grrrls nor altar girls, she hovers between a hunger for the world and a suspicion of it.
In her twenties, however, determined to make up for lost time, Bauer undertakes a belated and often comic coming-of-age in New York City. Between late blooming at parties and staying late at work, it seems that she might become as bold as she'd hoped to be — even if the late blooming is a little more hapless than highly erotic. And yet the city and its pleasures do not distract her from another hope: that she might learn how to have a faith that she can truly call her own. Enter the Catholic Church, and a conversion. But then she falls in love, and loses her religion — which leaves her wondering just what it means to be good.
Sharply written, hilarious, and touching, Not That Kind of Girl is the story of one young woman's efforts to define worldliness, ambition, and love on her own terms — while believing in, among other things, The Smiths, Virginia Woolf, and the transformative power of New York City. Fellow restless seekers will find solace in Bauer's struggle to create meaning in the face of overwhelming doubt, and fall in love with the highly original voice at the center of this unforgettable debut.
"[Bauer] renders the journey soulful and suspenseful, a pilgrim's progress through modern-day bohemia." Elle
"Carlene Bauer's autobiography — one of the most truthful, intelligent, and engrossing I've read in years — redeems the form." Jeff Sharlet, New York Times bestselling author of The Family
“The tension between the sacred and the secular permeates every page of this heartfelt memoir. . . . Poignantly describe[s] the grace and beauty of ordinary moments.” Publishers Weekly
Sharply written, hilarious, and touching, Not That Kind of Girl takes a remarkably honest look at one woman's struggle to create a meaningful life in the face of overwhelming doubt.
“[A] stunning new memoir… thick with contemplation, packed with ideas and images rendered in exacting, evocative prose…. Brave and startlingly beautiful.” —Time Out New York
“Truthful, intelligent, and engrossing. This may become a generation's definitive account of books and the city.” —Jeff Sharlet, New York Times bestselling author of The Family
A loving and literate, honest and insightful look into the heart of that unsung heroine: the good girl. Fans of the strong narrative voices of such writers as Donna Tartt (The Secret History, The Little Friend), Nell Freudenberger (Lucky Girls, The Dissident), and Amy Bloom (Come to Me, A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You), as well as books such as The Nanny Diaries, Prep, and The Devil Wears Prada, will love Not That Kind of Girl: Carlene Bauers hilarious and touching memoir of God, books, and rock and roll.
A moving, witty, and intelligent memoir of one woman's quest to find the answers to life's biggest questions.
About the Author
Carlene Bauer was born in 1973 in New Jersey. She earned an M.A. in Nonfiction Writing from the Johns Hopkins University's Writing Seminars, and has worked in and around New York publishing for this last long while. Her work has been published in The Village Voice, Salon, Elle, The New York Times magazine, and on the website of n + 1. She lives and writes in Brooklyn, and hopes that you don't hold that against her.