Cover image for Making scenes
Making scenes
Eisen, Adrienne.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boulder, Colo. : Alt-X Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
201 pages ; 21 cm
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Before publishing her first print novel, Eisen wrote hypertext fiction, which is composed in HTML with links, allowing readers to hop around and create their own stories. That background is evident here. The story makes sense read front to back, but skipping around won't cause much confusion. As the title suggests, the chapters are self-contained scenes, each narrated by a young, postcollege woman whose life consists of playing beach volleyball, hating her parents, enduring bulimia, and questioning her sexuality. There is an overarching chronology, but often the story flashes back to childhood, as the narrator describes her parents' miserable marriage and her father's inappropriate sexual conduct toward her. Throughout, Eisen is uncomfortably frank in her treatment of sex and in the particulars of bingeing and purging (in one scene, the narrator's use of a wire coat hanger during a purge leaves her vomiting blood). Some readers may identify strongly with the narrator and appreciate her brutal honesty, but even those who find her actions incomprehensible will care about her enough to hope she abandons her self-destructive path. --Beth Warrell

Publisher's Weekly Review

Like a boxing match, hypertext the original format of much of this novel demands quick, punchy prose that will keep the reader riveted between mouse clicks. Sex helps, too. But while this first print effort by veteran hypertext writer Eisen has generous helpings of both, it serves mostly as a cautionary tale about the difficulty of moving Internet-ready writing to the page. The unnamed narrator is a stunning young woman who wants to play professional beach volleyball at least until she decides to become a model, and then a graduate student. Her succession of nonstarter relationships with variously inaccessible men is matched only by her inability to keep a job for longer than one chapter. Beset by a series of issues straight out of a glossy women's magazine eating disorders, lack of self-esteem, the could-you-be-a-lesbian question she moves from Chicago to Los Angeles to Boston with money donated by her parents and lovers. Despite the narrator's frenetic bed and job hopping, it doesn't take long to figure out that this novel isn't really going anywhere. Eisen writes short, pithy scenes anchored by clever observation; this tactic works well for attention-deprived computer readers, but when the scenes are laid end-to-end in a novel, their inherent repetitiveness is as apparent as one of the narrator's doomed relationships. Eisen can write a sex scene, that's for sure, but this narrator proves what many suspect even sex with a beautiful woman can grow tiresome. This aspires to be a high-art Bridget Jones, but in the end it's simply an issue of Cosmo at three times the price. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved