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Dead girls : essays on surviving an American obsession
2018
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Summary

A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2018

An Edgar Award nominee for best critical / biographical

Best of 2018 according to Kirkus, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Portland Mercury, Bustle, Thrillist, and Electric Lit

A New York Times Editor's Choice, a best of summer 2018 according to Bitch Magazine, Harpers Bazaar, The Millions, Esquire, Refinery29, Nylon, PopSugar, The Chicago Tribune, Book Riot, and CrimeReads

In this poignant collection, Alice Bolin examines iconic American works from the essays of Joan Didion and James Baldwin to Twin Peaks, Britney Spears, and Serial, illuminating the widespread obsession with women who are abused, killed, and disenfranchised, and whose bodies (dead and alive) are used as props to bolster men's stories. Smart and accessible, thoughtful and heartfelt, Bolin investigates the implications of our cultural fixations, and her own role as a consumer and creator.

Bolin chronicles her life in Los Angeles, dissects the Noir, revisits her own coming of age, and analyzes stories of witches and werewolves, both appreciating and challenging the narratives we construct and absorb every day. Dead Girls begins by exploring the trope of dead women in fiction, and ends by interrogating the more complex dilemma of living women - both the persistent injustices they suffer and the oppression that white women help perpetrate.

Reminiscent of the piercing insight of Rebecca Solnit and the critical skill of Hilton Als, Bolin constructs a sharp, perceptive, and revelatory dialogue on the portrayal of women in media and their roles in our culture.

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Booklist Review
Media writer Bolin realized at a very young age that society loves a good dead girl. Analyzing the popularity of shows and radio programs like Twin Peaks, Serial, and Pretty Little Liars, it became abundantly clear that audiences adore a beautiful, innocent corpse. In her searing new essay collection, Bolin probes the generations-old obsession with young, tragic heroines. The topics of her exploration open broadly, dissecting the trope in television, film, and pop culture. Subject matter becomes more personal as the book progresses, meditating on Bolin's specific curiosity about California as a dead-girl breeding ground. The book's middle section chronicles Bolin's time living in the Golden State and walking the same, dehydrated earth as Sharon Tate, Patty Hearst, and any number of Joan Didion misfortu-femmes. In the final portion, Bolin ponders the role of nonfiction in eternalizing or stunting the world's toxic dead-girl fetish; the memoirist's pen, she believes, is especially mighty. Smart, thorough, and urgent, Bolin's essays are a force to be reckoned with.--Eathorne, Courtney Copyright 2018 Booklist
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Table of Contents
Introduction: Girls, Girls, Girlsp. 1
Part 1The Dead Girl Show
Toward a Theory of a Dead Girl Showp. 13
Black Holep. 25
The Husband Did Itp. 47
The Daughter as Detectivep. 57
Part 2Lost in Los Angeles
There Therep. 89
Los Angeles Diaryp. 99
Lonely Heartp. 109
The Place Makes Everyone a Gamblerp. 117
The Dreamp. 137
Part 3Weird Sisters
A Teen Witch's Guide to Staying Alivep. 159
And So It Isp. 177
My Hypochondriap. 187
Just Us Girlsp. 199
Part 4A Sentimental Education
Accomplicesp. 215
Acknowledgmentsp. 275
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