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american female coming of age novels?

(20 Posts)
moulesfrites Sun 12-Jul-09 12:14:52

I have just finished American Wife by Curtis Sittenfield, and absolutely loved it - it got me thinking about my other all time fave books and I realise that they all follow a sort of formula - usually set in USA/Canada, telling the life story of a woman/women - these include:

The Stone Diaries - Carol Shields
Cats Eye - Margaret Atwood
The Diviners - Margaret Laurence
Ladder of Years - Ann Tyler
The Poisonwood Bible and Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
Away - Jane Urqhart

So really, I wantto recommend these books to others, but also to ask for recommendations myself - ased on these, can anyone suggest any others I might like? TIA

kalo12 Sun 12-Jul-09 12:21:11

vida - marge piercy

Threadworm2 Sun 12-Jul-09 12:24:41

I think I saw Donna Tartt's The Secret Friend in something like those terms --

Girl thinks she can investigate and intervene and make things ok; girl tries earnestly to do same; girl fails and everything is utterly worse in every way; girl becomes woman in the course of understanding the relentless hopelessness and contamination of everything.

Comewhinewithme Sun 12-Jul-09 12:29:15

Summer sisters - Judy Blume .

It is very good although I think it is aimed at teenagers. But I enjoyed reading it a couple of years ago .

moulesfrites Sun 12-Jul-09 12:38:52

Thanks for the recommendations so far - Threadworm I recall giving up on The Little Fried, feeling it did not compare well to the Secret history, but maybe I should give it another go

redandgreen Sun 12-Jul-09 19:12:13

A girl's guide to hunting and fishing - Melissa Bank

Its the ultimate in chick-lit. Which sort of sounds like i'm slagging it off, but it's one of my favourite books ever.

Thanks for the recs - I loved cats eyes too, was recommending it to my sister this weekend.

bluejeans Sun 12-Jul-09 22:39:39

Moules - have you read C Sittenfield's other two books? v good (better imo)

I can recommend State of the union by Douglas Kennedy, and - if you can get hold of it, you might like Mike,Mike and me by Wendy Markham which was a surprise hit from my library

Interested in the other recommendations on this thread - thanks!

undercovercarrot Mon 13-Jul-09 12:44:06

She's come undone - Wally Lamb - I loved this book and am always recommending it to people..

kikidee Mon 13-Jul-09 21:10:18

Oh, someone else who likes Wally Lamb and Moulesfrites, I could have written your post. I read The American Wife about 6 months ago having already read her other books and loved it. Melissa Banks is fab (The Wonder Spot also very good), sort of chick lit in that it's about relationships I suppose but I hate chick lit normally so cleverer than that I would say. Katherine Taylor - Rules for Saying Goodbye was great. I also like Richard Russo who is not a woman obviously but writes books in a similar vein. I like Anne Tyler, Ann Patchett and Donna Tartt also.

kikidee Mon 13-Jul-09 21:14:28

Oh, someone else who likes Wally Lamb and Moulesfrites, I could have written your post. I read The American Wife about 6 months ago having already read her other books and loved it. Melissa Banks is fab (The Wonder Spot also very good), sort of chick lit in that it's about relationships I suppose but I hate chick lit normally so cleverer than that I would say. Katherine Taylor - Rules for Saying Goodbye was great. I also like Richard Russo who is not a woman obviously but writes books in a similar vein. I like Anne Tyler, Ann Patchett and Donna Tartt also.

RaggedRobin Mon 13-Jul-09 22:25:16

carson mccullers: "the member of the wedding" and also "the heart is a lonely hunter", although this one is not exclusively about mick, the young girl who is coming of age. both great depictions of girls trying to find their place in the world.

elkiedee Sun 13-Sep-09 23:41:46

Two other Canadian writers whose work is mostly short stories including some about young women growing up are Alice Munro and Mavis Gallant. Cat's Eye is one of my favouite Margaret Atwood books and I also love Margaret Laurence's work - have you read her other Manawaka books? The Bird in the House is made up of a series of short stories about the same girl growing up.

cheapskatemum Mon 14-Sep-09 20:14:41

Love "Cat's Eye" too. What about "The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd?

francagoestohollywood Mon 14-Sep-09 20:26:04

Check out Alexis k Shulman "Memoirs of an ex prom queen"

francagoestohollywood Mon 14-Sep-09 20:30:57

Redandgreen, I like Melissa Banks too. I also recommend Banks' "The wonder spot" (possibly even better than a girl's guide...). It's intelligent, well written and full of humour, yet an "easy" read.

sassy Mon 14-Sep-09 20:34:23

Willa Cather novels
Edith Wharton often

And...

Forever by Judy Blume wink

StrangeTown Mon 14-Sep-09 20:38:04

Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen, second Curtis Sittenfield's Prep too

CDMforever Mon 14-Sep-09 21:03:50

I really enjoyed Lisa Alther's Kinflicks tho I was much younger! Its funny and very fruity in parts.

choosyfloosy Mon 14-Sep-09 21:10:54

Oh, oh, oh! The Future HomeMakers Of America by Laurie Graham. I somehow didn't have good expectations of it but it's wonderful.

And I'll sneak in my usual recommendation - Anybody can do Anything by Betty MacDonald.

cilldara Sun 20-Sep-09 20:36:57

Just finished and loved "We were the Mulvaneys" by Joyce Carol Oates. It was, for me, a really moving book.

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