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Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen (1972)

de Alix Kates Shulman

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253682,449 (3.23)9
Alix Kates Shulman'sMemoirs of an Ex-Prom Queencreated a profound impact on the cultural landscape when it was originally published in 1972. A sardonic portrayal of one white, middle-class, Midwestern girl's coming-of-age, the novel takes a wry and prescient look at a range of experiences treated at the time as taboo but which were ultimately accepted as matters of major political significance: sexual harassment, job discrimination, the sexual double standard, rape, abortion restrictions, the double binds of marriage and motherhood, andthe frantic quest for beauty. The book went on to sell more than a million copies and is regarded today as a classic, one of the first and best pieces of fiction born of the women's liberation movement. With many of its concerns still with us today, this witty and devastating novel continues to resonate with readers, and Sasha Davis has proved herself a prom queen for the ages.… (més)
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I guess I should have read this book when I was in college - although I was already out of college when it was published in 1972. In quite engaging prose it presents the mythology of girls and women in the 1950s and 1960s, a little ahead of my own years. There were sections I had to skip if I didn't want to rip the book to shreds - I know they are true for some women but who wants to live through any of them, even vicariously?
I hope this book is as dated to all as I found it.

Why did I read it? Well, it was one of those on my shelves that I had never read, and I thought before I dumped it I might find out what was in it. Turns out I should have read some reviews first!

For good writing, I'll award 2 stars. But don't read it. We've moved on. Or at least I hope we have.

Out it goes. I knew that type was too small. ( )
  ffortsa | May 10, 2021 |
Sasha Davis, a young woman growing up in a middle-class Cleveland family in the 1940’s and 1950’s, comes to terms with her fate: marriage and children. She understands that in order to achieve those goals, she must become beautiful. Sasha does grow into a beauty, earning the title of prom queen at her high school; however, she never believes she is truly attractive, and she becomes obsessed with the pursuit of beauty. Unaware of her own keen intelligence and desperate to “prove” herself, she has sex with most of the men—a largely selfish, narcissistic bunch—who pursue her. This perfectly-written novel is brutally honest about the limited choices women had in the mid-20th century. The characters are true-to-life and realistically flawed. A great novel that’s still relevant more than 45 years after its publication in 1972. ( )
  Kathleen.Jones | Aug 19, 2019 |
This is an early fictional Feminist hit. While it was a popular book, I did not find it particularly striking. Perhaps by the time of reading, my world view was more in sympathy with the world's women, ( )
  DinadansFriend | Jan 16, 2018 |
When it was originally published in 1972, Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen by Alix Shulman was considered quite shocking, as it ruthlessly exposes what it was like growing up female in middle class America. I have to admit this book made me feel very uncomfortable at times as I often recognized my younger self in some of the main character’s actions. This book writes of a time when women were only considered as reflections of the men in their lives, and they were judged on how well they enhanced their fathers, brothers, boyfriend and, later husband’s reputation. Women were possessions, and high expectations were placed on their appearance and behavior. One’s ability to hold a man was considered far more important than their ability to hold a job, and, in most cases, it was a job that a woman took, not a career. Careers were for the men.

I didn’t always agree with the choices that the main character made, it was painfully obvious that she always needed to have the next man in her life lined up before she discarded her current one. But her struggle to find herself amid so many conflicting cultural expectations was told in a strong, witty style that made the subject matter palatable. Above all, this character felt her appearance was the one thing that could open doors and so she pursued beauty at all costs.

Although today things are slowly changing and women expect more of and for themselves than they did, the passages about sexual harassment, job discrimination, double standards and the bind that marriage and motherhood can put on females still rings true. This sardonic portrayal of a white, middle class girl coming-of-age went on to sell over a million copies in the 1970’s and was considered one of the literary works of the woman’s liberation movement. As many of the cultural references are still relevant today, Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen continues to resonate with it’s readers and act as a measuring stick to show how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Nov 17, 2017 |
Toen, in 1975, geruchtmakend boek, dat ik in een adem uitlas.Maar of ik het nu een geweldig boek vond.... ( )
  leowillemse | Jul 20, 2009 |
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Alix Kates Shulman'sMemoirs of an Ex-Prom Queencreated a profound impact on the cultural landscape when it was originally published in 1972. A sardonic portrayal of one white, middle-class, Midwestern girl's coming-of-age, the novel takes a wry and prescient look at a range of experiences treated at the time as taboo but which were ultimately accepted as matters of major political significance: sexual harassment, job discrimination, the sexual double standard, rape, abortion restrictions, the double binds of marriage and motherhood, andthe frantic quest for beauty. The book went on to sell more than a million copies and is regarded today as a classic, one of the first and best pieces of fiction born of the women's liberation movement. With many of its concerns still with us today, this witty and devastating novel continues to resonate with readers, and Sasha Davis has proved herself a prom queen for the ages.

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