Anthropology of an American Girl
By Hilary Thayer Harmann
About the Book:
This ambitious work explores the sexual and intellectual awakening of a young American woman struggling to remain true to herelf as she encounters love, passion, and death amid the challenges and heartbreaks of growing up. Newly edited and revised, Hilary Thayer Hamann’s Anthropology of an American Girl is an extraordinary piece of writing, original in its vision and thrilling in its execution.
Self-published in 2003, the book touched a nerve among readers, who identified with the sexual and intellectual awakening of its heroine, a young woman on the brink of adulthood. A moving depiction of the transformative power of first love, Hamann’s first novel follows Eveline Auerbach from her high school years in East Hampton, New York, in the 1970s through her early adulthood in the moneyed, high-pressured Manhattan of the 1980s.
Centering on Evie’s fragile relationship with her family and her thwarted love affair with Harrison Rourke, a professional boxer, the novel is both a love story and an exploration of the difficulty of finding one’s place in the world. As Evie surrenders to the dazzling emotional highs of love and the crippling loneliness of heartbreak, she strives to reconcile her identity with the constraints that all relationships—whether those familial or romantic, uplifting to the spirit or quietly detrimental—inherently place on us. Though she stumbles and strains against social conventions, Evie remains a strong yet sensitive observer of the world around her, often finding beauty and meaning in unexpected places.
BIG book. BIG story. This is a 600 page commitment. It's not an action packed thriller, spine tingling chiller, or contemporary romance, though it has all those elements to some degree or other, especially when viewed from the emotion side of the story. It's about a certain girl, living in a certain era, coping with a certain set of problems. Nothing really unique, but when these all come together through the writing talent of Hilary Thayer Hamann, they do fuse into a reading experience, a saga, a journey that I think most literary readers will enjoy very much. And for my happy-ever-after heart, the ending was satisfying in a realistic way.
It's an easy read, but be sure to give yourself plenty of time, don't rush the reading.