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Poorly Written,
Confusing,
Pointless

1 review

The Girl Factory: A Memoir
by Karen Dietrich

Published: 2013-10-01
Hardcover : 272 pages
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It’s 1985 in a small factory town near Pittsburgh. Eight-year-old Karen’s parents are lifelong workers at the Anchor Glass plant, where one Saturday, an employee goes on a shooting spree, killing four supervisors, then himself. This event splits the young girl’s life open, and like ...
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Introduction

It’s 1985 in a small factory town near Pittsburgh. Eight-year-old Karen’s parents are lifelong workers at the Anchor Glass plant, where one Saturday, an employee goes on a shooting spree, killing four supervisors, then himself. This event splits the young girl’s life open, and like her mother, she begins to seek comfort in obsessive rituals and superstitions.
          This beautifully evocative memoir chronicles the next fourteen years, as Karen moves through girlhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. It illuminates small-town factory life; explores a complicated mother-daughter bond; thoughtfully unfolds a smart, but insecure girl’s coming of age; achingly recounts her attempts to use sex to fit in; and ultimately uncovers the buried secret from her childhood—a medical file with an unbearable report.
           The Girl Factory deftly travels the intersections of memory and origin. Karen’s body remembers details her mind has tried to control. As the young woman mines her interior landscape for answers, certain questions persist. Where does memory live—in the body or the mind? And can you rewrite the story of your past?
 

Editorial Review

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Excerpt

I imagine a place where girls are made. Some roll off the assembly line shiny and wet, wheat colored hair sewn into their beautiful heads like dolls. Other girls are assembled from spare parts, pieces the shiny girls refuse—a leg here, an elbow there—our maker scavenging for anything to use. Building girls like me is lonely work, no reward for the journeyman, no bright fame. Inside the girl factory, it is dark as midnight, the workers toiling away, unable to see their hands. There are so many mistakes to be made, which is why I know there must be girls like me out there somewhere. I’m the glass thrown onto the cullet belt with a smash. I break into a hundred sharp pieces. The belt leads underground, where girls like me are melted, poured into molds so the maker can try again, try to get it right this time. But I keep coming out flawed—cold crizz, chip finish, bird swing. I look whole, yet crumble with a touch. I’m thrown back to the cullet, back to the melting pot, where I keep trying to come out right.... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. How did you react to the central image of the girl factory? Can you relate to the idea that girls are "built" and "assembled" the way the author suggests?

2. Why do you think Karen is fascinated by the weather as a child and wants to be a meteorologist?

3. The author suggests that female friendships hold a special power. Based on your own experiences, do you agree or disagree?

4. How did you react to the author's descriptions of her sexual encounters in the book? Why do you think the author felt compelled to include these details in her story?

5. How has Karen's mother's illness affected the family?

6. What do you think will happen to Karen's relationship with her mother in the future?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Book Club Recommendations

Would Not Choose This Book
by nanabev (see profile) 03/04/14
No suggestions

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "Not a well written book"by nanabev (see profile) 03/04/14

I did not enjoy this book.

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