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Download Blueprints for Building Better Girls Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Blueprints for Building Better Girls, by Elissa Schappell Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,498 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Elissa Schappell Narrator: Julia Whelan Publisher: Dreamscape Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

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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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by Chiara | 1/26/2014

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

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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.