Cover image for Local girls
Local girls
Hoffman, Alice.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, [1999]

Physical Description:
197 pages ; 21 cm
Format :


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Material Type
Home Location
Central Library X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Central Library X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Concord Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Grand Island Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Hamburg Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Kenilworth Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Kenmore Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Lancaster Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Orchard Park Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Anna M. Reinstein Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Julia Boyer Reinstein Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Audubon Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Audubon Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

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The New York Times Book Review has noted, "Alice Hoffman writes quite wonderfully about the magic in our lives," and now she casts her spell over a Long Island neighborhood filled with dreamers and dreams. In a dazzling series of family portraits, Hoffman evokes the world of the Samuelsons, a family torn apart by tragedy and divorce in a world of bad judgment and fierce attachments, disappointments, and devotion.With rich, pure prose Hoffman charts the always unexpected progress of Gretel Samuelson from the time Gretel is a young girl already acquainted with betrayal and grief, until she finally leaves home. Gretel's sly, funny, knowing perspective is at the heart of this collection as she navigates through loyalty and loss with the help of an unforgettable trio of women: her best friend, Jill, her romance-addicted cousin Margot, and her mother, Franny, whose spiritual journey affects them all. Told in alternating voices, these stories work wonders. Funny and lyrical, disturbing and healing, each is a lesson of survival, a reminder of the ties of blood and the power of friendship. Jane Smiley has said that "a reader is in good hands with Alice Hoffman," and once again in her expert hands, everyday life has been transformed into magic.

Author Notes

Alice Hoffman, an American novelist and screenwriter, was born in New York City on March 16, 1952. She earned a B.A. from Adelphi University in 1973 and an M.A. in creative writing from Stanford University in 1975 before publishing her first novel, Property Of, in 1977.

Known for blending realism and fantasy in her fiction, she often creates richly detailed characters who live on society's margins and places them in extraordinary situations as she did with At Risk, her 1988 novel about the AIDS crisis. Her other works include The Drowning Season, Seventh Heaven, The River King, Blue Diary, The Probable Future, The Ice Queen, and The Dovekeepers. Her book, The Third Angel, won the 2008 New England Booksellers' Award for fiction. Two of her novels, Practical Magic and Aquamarine, were made into films. She has also written numerous screenplays, including adaptations of her own novels and the original screenplay, Independence Day. Her title's The Museum of Exteaordinary Things, The Marriage of Opposites, Seventh Heaven, and The Rules of Magic made The New York Times Best Seller List.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Hoffman's latest work of fiction is a cycle of short stories that almost amounts to a novel. And once readers are, say, a third of the way through, they will realize how appropriate Hoffman's choice of the short-story cycle form is for her material. The stories follow the life of Greta Samuelson as she grows up in the suburban community of Franconia. And her life, like everyone's, is a series of episodes, so the episodic format works perfectly. In the first story, Greta is an adolescent and her parents' marriage is on the skids, but at least she has her best friend, Jill, for company and solace. In the last story, Greta, now a New Yorker, has lost her mother and earned a college degree. She returns home to visit Jill, who got married early and had kids early--and they find they each want some parts of the other one's life. In between these two points are stories about Greta and her family that all prove a point: "Fate could twist you around and around, if you weren't careful. Just when you thought you knew where you were headed, you'd wind up in the opposite direction or flattened against a wall." Hoffman's limpid style correlates well with the beautiful humanity with which she infuses her characters and sends them through the paces of life. (Reviewed March 15, 1999)0399145079Brad Hooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Hoffman's chosen form of a novelistic group of short storiesÄall of which share the same family charactersÄlends itself nicely to the abridged audio format, in which the fragmentation seems a willful form of stylized narration. The audio's producers have augmented this effect: two narrators, the airy Merlington and the pragmatic Vigesaa, play off against each other in tone as they trade stories. In the opener, Gretel Samuelson tells of her family's troubles in confidential, diarylike schoolgirl terms. In later offerings, omniscient descriptions are given of mother Franny's fight against cancer and brother Jason's disintegration as a heroin addict. Though dysfunctional family fiction seems standard fare these days, Hoffman's highly individual knack for creating a sense of specific atmosphere is uncanny and unique, a quality that translates especially well in spoken form. Based on the 1999 Putnam hardcover. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

"We were twelve, that unpredictable and dangerous age when sampling shades of lipstick and playing with dolls seem equally interesting," says the protagonist of these interconnected stories, which slip between first and third person in interesting and unpredictable ways. With best friend Jill, Gretel goes through a lot: the breakup of her parents' marriage, her mother's illness, and her father's remarriage, not to mention boys, dating, and sex. Hoffman's typically wacky yet dazzling voice is heard throughout, and anyone who loved Turtle Moon or Practical Magic will enjoy these works. Still, these stories sometimes have a sketchy feel, as if there were only seeds that never really grew to fruition. Buy where Hoffman is popular. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/99.]ÄBarbara Hoffert, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

YA-Gretel Samuelson's coming-of-age in a lower middle-class suburban area of Long Island is portrayed in brief, episodic vignettes of tumultuous tragedy and outstanding ordinariness loosely strung together. They begin when the protagonist is 12 and end as she enters college. The dysfunctional elements are the stuff of soap operas: father divorces mother for younger woman, mother dies of cancer, lively and audacious cousin makes a series of unwise romantic choices, gifted Harvard-bound brother ODs on heroin, and beautiful and brilliant best friend becomes pregnant. What raises all of this above the mediocre is the intimacy and immediacy of the narrative voice. Whether it is the cynical yet sweet first-person account by Gretel or the hopelessly romantic third-person voice of Cousin Margo, the effect is the same-palpable, recognizable angst and "smile-through-your-tears" humor. The language is wisecracking, scintillating, descriptive, and honest. Female readers will recognize and respond to the themes of relationships: those with men who all too often disappoint and those between friends and mothers and daughters that nourish and endure.-Jackie Gropman, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Dear Diaryp. 1
Rose Redp. 15
Flightp. 29
Gretelp. 39
Tell the Truthp. 51
How to Talk to the Deadp. 61
Fatep. 75
Bake at 350p. 87
True Confessionp. 99
The Rest of Your Lifep. 119
The Boy Who Wrestled with Angelsp. 131
Examining the Evidencep. 145
Devotionp. 157
Still Among the Livingp. 165
Local Girlsp. 181

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