Author: Hilary Thayer Hamann
Publisher: Corsair, 2011
This book and the story (as well as the anthropology) of Eveline Aster Auerbach is set in the late ’70s and early ’80s in New York, US. It is an amazing coming of age story centered around Evie, a young woman during the years following the civil rights and women’s liberation movements.
Evie is smart, independent and creative – sometimes even surprisingly modern – it really is an anthropology which depicts the transformation a girl goes through when leaving high school, beginning college and through all this; trying to find herself. The book is very poetic, at times sad and nostalgic but it truly is great!
I think that a lot of women and girls can relate, it is like we have all have been in her shoes somehow. And sometimes parts of the book is just life, applicable on almost everyone I presume, such as: finding oneself, getting through obstacles that life throws our way, about compromising, finding and giving up on love.
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I really enjoyed this book!
Sure, at times it might have felt a little bit confusing, it is a lot to take in – a whole anthropology – but in general it was really beautiful and interesting. I felt like a part of me (the younger teenager in me) really connected with Eveline and her turbulent – and sometimes misguided – quest for happiness and love. This is the world through Evie’s eyes and that makes it more interesting and I like the way (because it’s so authentically written) that she sometimes just want to give, she wants to please everyone – but at the cost of losing and neglecting herself.
Another amazing thing about this book is Hilary Thayer Hamann’s way of writing it. It is absolutely stunning! It is like poetry the whole thing, the way that she manages to put feelings into words, perfect words. It feels a bit eye-opening, as if you realize ”oh, that’s the way to describe that feeling”.
While reading this book, Evie introduces you to a number of character and Rob is one of my personal favorites, also the mystique surrounding Rourke in the beginning is just spot on. Also the relationship and the development of said relationship, between Evie and Kate, is beautifully presented.
Although, one thing that surprised me since I am usually that type of reader who paints a whole detailed picture of everything and everyone in a book, is that I could not really picture Eveline. But maybe that’s the whole point, in a way she’s not always that present in the book – more the observer, so maybe H.T.H wanted her to remain a bit mysterious, while she (Evie) actually tried to find herself.
All in all, it is a good book, interesting and beautifully written with beautiful words (Hilary really knows her vocab.).
”I look at my painting once more before preparing to leave the studio. Though I rendered what I thought I saw, the image bears no resemblance to the model used by the class, or, for that matter, to the paintings of the others. For a while it looked like stacks of color until it looked like a woman; then you couldn’t see it the first way anymore. Sometimes you perceive a secondary figure in an image, like the etching of a cube that changes orientation when you blink or the goblet that is obviously a goblet until it is two faces kissing. Sometimes you get stuck in the subordinate state, and that is stranger still, because you recall most clearly that there was an original way of seeing, yet you can’t return to it. When people talk about seeing like a child they are referring to a state in which the eye and mind are fluid, and can pass easily from specificity to ambiguity. Like when strings of letters look like shapes, and not just words.”
– Hilary Thayer Hamann (2011), Anthropology of an American Girl, p.371.