Extended Audio Sample

Download Blueprints for Building Better Girls Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Blueprints for Building Better Girls Audiobook, by Elissa Schappell Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.42 out of 53.42 out of 53.42 out of 53.42 out of 53.42 out of 5 3.42 (31 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Elissa Schappell Narrator: Julia Whelan Publisher: Dreamscape Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2011 ISBN: 9781611201451
Regular Price: $29.99 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $12.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

In Blueprints for Building Better Girls, Schappell has crafted another provocative, keenly observed, and wickedly smart work of fiction that maps America’s shifting cultural landscape from the late 1970s to the present day. In these eight darkly funny linked stories, she delves into the lives of an eclectic cast of archetypal female characters—from the high school slut to the good girl, the struggling artist to the college party girl, the wife who yearns for a child to the reluctant mother—to explore the commonly shared but rarely spoken of experiences that build girls into women and women into wives and mothers.

In “Monsters of the Deep,” teenage Heather struggles to balance intimacy with a bad reputation; years later in “I’m Only Going to Tell You This Once,” she must reconcile her memories of the past with her role as the mother of an adolescent son. In “The Joy of Cooking,” a phone conversation between Emily, a recovering anorexic, and her mother explores a complex bond; in “Elephant” we see Emily’s sister, Paige, finally able to voice her ambivalent feelings about motherhood to her new best friend, Charlotte. And in “Are You Comfortable?” we meet a twenty-one-year-old Charlotte cracking under the burden of a dark secret, the effects of which push Bender, a troubled college girl, to the edge in “Out of the Blue into the Black.”

Weaving in and out of one another’s lives, whether connected by blood, or friendship, or necessity, these women create deep and lasting impressions. In revealing all their vulnerabilities and twisting our preconceived notions of who they are, Elissa Schappell, with dazzling wit and poignant prose, has forever altered how we think about the nature of female identity and how it evolves.

Download and start listening now!

b4td

Quotes & Awards

  • “Schappell’s stories acutely evoke the disorientation induced in women by our culture’s barrage of mixed messages.”

    New York Times

  • “Raw and engaging.”

    Publishers Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Uzma | 2/19/2014

    " I really enjoyed this book. It is a compilation of short stories of various women/girls. Some of which were quite disturbing. But it reads very well and I couldn't put it down until I finished. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie Ekkers | 2/1/2014

    " Blueprints is a volume of interlocking short stories which explore the formation of female identity through the lens of some typical archetypes--e.g. the slut, the good girl, and so on. In so doing, I think the author shows how women can be spoken of and thought of monolithically, particuarly with respect to the cultural forces and messages at work on them, but also demonstrates how, at the same time, women are diminished if their individuality and their unique experiences are ignored. The book zips right along so I didn't feel like I had to "stick it out," but I will also say that for the reader who *does* stick it out, there is a great payoff. The books concluding lines, in a story that features the same woman from the opening story, now older, is SUCH a zinger! Because it is so true. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Samantha | 1/28/2014

    " "...there is no such thing as just a girl." What a poignant ending to such a wonderfully interconnected collection of short stories. I loved this. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chiara | 1/26/2014

    " Well, I didn't love it, but the last story was very very good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Iris | 1/25/2014

    " I enjoyed this collection of stories much more than Schappell's first... not that the first was bad but these were so much better. Each was engrossing, thought-provoking, and memorable. These women were like the voices of friends, family, people you know and some nights I couldn't put it down because I couldn't wait to see what happened next. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laronda | 1/24/2014

    " Not sure I saw this as a fix it book--more a reflection of the experiences women have and how it impacts their choices and futures. Liked the varying stories sad, yet real. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristen Unger | 1/18/2014

    " Her writing is exquisite. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracy | 1/14/2014

    " I liked this book a lot. I thought the stories were relatable & well rounded. I listened to in on audiobook while driving & really enjoyed it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karla | 1/3/2014

    " Liking this quite a bit so far. I'm thinking this would be fodder for good discussion in book club. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Trish | 11/29/2013

    " Wonderfully written book with so many details that it makes you want to take notes. I struggled with how empty I felt at the end of this book. Others love it and I see why. Maybe how empty and sad it made me is a true sign of what a great author Elissa Schappell is. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sharon Brandli | 8/4/2013

    " A set of loosely related stories that I found less than satisfying. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 megan weisenberger | 6/19/2013

    " a little Lorrie Moore-ish, but not as good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather Enlow-novitsky | 6/14/2013

    " Interesting set of short stories and how most of them connected to each other. Some had funny moments as well, despite the sometimes dark topics. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Esiobhanmitchell | 2/24/2013

    " first story was so-so but then the next few were amazing. Still, maybe a bit too much upper class girl angst.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karin | 11/18/2012

    " I don't read a lot of short stories, but I really enjoyed this collection. The stories are all loosely connected, referencing characters in the other stories, but never really featuring them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tricia Sanders | 10/5/2012

    " enjoyed this book about women and the relationships that we have....each of us has a story that brought us to where we are today. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynne | 3/27/2012

    " Short stories are not usually my reading preference, but this collection was excellent "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Molly Luby | 3/26/2012

    " It grew on me "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maggie | 1/31/2012

    " I want to write short stories like these. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Molly | 1/3/2012

    " I would give it a 3.5. Would like to process some of the stories! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Megan | 11/6/2011

    " So dumb. Don't read it. It was cool how the short stories were related but other than that, not much. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Valissa | 11/1/2011

    " I read about half of this in one go, it was captivating in a most depressing way. dark doesn't begin to describe it, but the characters are real and sympathetic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Uzma | 10/24/2011

    " I really enjoyed this book. It is a compilation of short stories of various women/girls. Some of which were quite disturbing. But it reads very well and I couldn't put it down until I finished.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laronda | 10/15/2011

    " Not sure I saw this as a fix it book--more a reflection of the experiences women have and how it impacts their choices and futures. Liked the varying stories sad, yet real. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anna | 10/11/2011

    " A solid short story collection that should well resonate with many a white suburban woman. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynne | 10/9/2011

    " Short stories are not usually my reading preference, but this collection was excellent "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sara | 10/7/2011

    " Not what I thought it would be. Watch out for the story with the dog in it... cried like it was going out of style - the only redeeming quality of this story collection. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anita | 10/2/2011

    " This is a wonderful collection of short stories - unlike one I have ever read. The author has her finger on the pulse of young women - she doesn't shy away from difficult subjects and she delivers each story with grace. I will always remember the final line of the book. A joy to read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 April | 10/2/2011

    " This is one of the very few books I couldn't finish reading. I only have about 50 pages left but I really have no interest in finding out what happens to anyone of the characters in anyone of the stories. I can save that time and spend it on another book . "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessamyn | 9/30/2011

    " read the first story the rest i dont remember
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 9/27/2011

    " I love Elissa Schappell. I want to read more of her writing, I want to be able to write like her. I want to exist in her fictional universe and talk and cry with her characters and them smoke cigarettes with them and judge other people. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author

Elissa Schappell is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair where she writes the “Hot Type” book column, a former senior editor of the Paris Review, and co-founder and now editor-at-large of Tin House magazine. She lives in Brooklyn.

About the Narrator

Julia Whelan, winner of twelve AudioFile Earphones Awards, won the prestigious Audie Award for Best Romance Narration in 2013 and was twice a finalist for an Audie in 2015. She is a former child actor who has appeared in multiple films and television shows, most notably ABC’s Once and Again. After receiving her college degree, she returned to the film industry and is also a writer. Her audiobook credits include memoir, nonfiction, romance, supernatural thrillers, young adult, and adult fiction.