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Local Girls [Audiobook] [MP3 CD]

Alice Hoffman , Laural Merlington , Aasne Vigesaa
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: 17.69
Price: 16.63 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition 3.59  
Turtleback --  
Paperback 9.08  
MP3 CD, Audiobook 16.63  
Audio Download, Unabridged 11.45 or Free with Audible.co.uk 30-day free trial

Book Description

28 Aug 2009
In this series of connected stories young Gretel Samuelson comes of age in a small-town neighbourhood and Alice Hoffman casts her characteristic spell over the lives of girls and women. Told from Gretel's sly and knowing perspective, Local Girls charts Gretel's always unexpected progress as she navigates from childhood to the brink of womanhood, through a series of long hot summers, picking her way through the tragedies and absurdities of everyday life in the Samuelson family that is constantly rocked by divorce and disaster, bad judgment and fierce attachments. Her father has left them, her chain-smoking mother Franny is falling apart and refuses to learn the simple lessons of life (like the fact that smoking gives you lung cancer), her aunt Margot is in love with romance but falls for all the wrong men, her Jewish grandmother has made a pact with God, her perfect brother goes off the rails with fatal results, and even her best friend Jill, blonde, enviable and beutiful, is moving too fast into the unfathomable world of women. Beautifully written and dazzingly crafted, Local Girls forms the irresistible portrait of a family, peeling at the edges, and of a young girl learning how to survive in a world that doesn't make sense.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; MP3 Una edition (28 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441812571
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441812575
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

More than a collection of short stories, yet not quite a novel, Local Girls occupies an undefined territory between these two forms. The local girls in question are Gretel Samuelson, her best friend, Jill, her mother, Franny, and Franny's cousin Margot--four characters who weave in and out of each of the 15 related stories that chronicle the rocky years of Gretel's adolescence. That hers will be a tough row to hoe is immediately apparent in the first story, "Dear Diary", in which Alice Hoffman introduces the Samuelson family just as they are being swallowed up by the fissures that have cracked them apart. "Long before the plane touched down in Miami we could hear our parents arguing," Gretel tells us of a family vacation to Florida; "and at the hotel room they locked themselves in their room. If you ask me, working so hard at being married can backfire." It is the end of the marriage that has lasting ramifications, however, as we discover in later stories: Gretel's brilliant older brother, Jason, becomes a drug addict; their mother must battle cancer alone; and Gretel becomes involved in a destructive relationship with a drug dealer. All pretty depressing plot points, to be sure, yet Hoffman's luminous prose combined with Gretel's tart and funny perspective keeps the reader eagerly turning the pages until the very end.

In fact, Gretel and her family and friends are so compelling, so endearing, that the reader wishes Hoffman had chosen to give the Samuelsons a novel instead of this series of stories. In reading about Jason's descent from A student with an acceptance letter from Harvard to working in the produce section at the local supermarket and shooting heroin, for example, one can't help but feel that a lot of his motivations happen between stories; and Gretel's difficult relationship (or lack thereof) with her father and new stepmother functions mainly as a plot device, leaving the reader wanting so much more. And yet, if one is to judge the success of a book by the reader's reluctance to be done with it, then Local Girls is successful, for Hoffman has created a world so enticing that one is willing to overlook the minor flaws. At the end of the title story, as the now-grown Gretel and Jill discuss two teenage girls in the neighbourhood who recently committed suicide, Jill remarks: "They should have just waited. That's all they had to do. They would have grown up and everything would have been all right." The same might be said of reading Local Girls. -- Alix Wilber --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


‘Alice Hoffman writes quite wonderfully about the magic in our lives’ -- The New York Times Book Review

‘Funny and vengeful, full of the rage and the impotence of youth’ -- Glasgow Herald

‘Local Girls is not only entertaining but uplifting’ -- Times Literary Supplement --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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One thing I've learned is that strange things do happen. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
The only other Hoffman book I have read was 'At Risk' which practically broke my heart. The author proves once again that she has the knack of tapping into emotional depths, despite the slimness of this novella. This is the journey of Gretel Samuelson, her beautiful best friend, sick mother and fiesty cousin. Four women who square up bravely to the circumstances that everyday life decides to throw at them. The POV's change throughout which can be vaguely distracting, but this does not detract from the richness of the tale. Hoffman's gift is to immediately transport the reader into the heart of the family she is writing about. The characters, although not entirely sympathetic, are people who's fate and outcome I was interested in. Each chapter is a story within itself, so many of the untold tales are left to the imagination. Maybe it isn't a bad thing to be left wanting more, but I am fascinated to know what the adult Gretel did next.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Alice Hoffman back on form 3 Dec 1999
By A Customer
I had avoided Alice Hoffman for a while as I have found her recent books disappointing. However, Local Girls was a joy and has made me fall in love with her writing all over again. Her strength lies in her ability to fuse the surreal and the mundane with characters whose only apparent destiny is hopelessness. Her language is one of longing and desperation - you can almost taste the words. Highly recommended to all Hoffman Groupies, and, if you are a newcomer, this is a pretty good introduction to her work.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Diffiicult family life 18 Feb 2004
You have to wonder what kind of family life Alice Hoffman had growing up as a child. She manages to write the kind of heart breaking magical fiction that every young writer dreams of producing. She excells at capturing the difficult family relationships, especially between women, without being bogged down in sugary sweet americanisms and cliche.
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4.0 out of 5 stars perfect quick read 1 Jan 2013
Let's get the downside out of the way first, it doesn't rate with Turtle Moon or Seventh Heaven, both of which I enjoyed enormously.

But this was a good quick read, with more depth than most quick reads. Hoffman tells this tale in a series of snapshots, some told from the lead characters perspective and some from 'outside'. But good character development as always. If you're not sure if you'll like her books, give this a go to get an idea, whilst bearing in mind other works go a bit deeper.
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