Cover image for A girl, in parts : a novel
A girl, in parts : a novel
Paul, Jasmine, 1972-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : Counterpoint, 2002.
Physical Description:
241 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Gritty and realistic, "A Girl, In Parts" is never sentimental about either poverty or childhood as it follows a young girl with limitless dreams and confidence in an uncertain world. First novelist Jasmine Paul has crafted an elegant coming-of-age story in 97 perfectly told vignettes.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

This quiet gem of a debut novel projects sincerity through its tightly focused vignettes and unsentimental depiction of a challenging though in many ways ordinary five years in the life of one girl. In 97 short sections, Paul captures the convincing voice of Dorothy, at the start of the novel a nine-year-old growing up in the 1980s in Martinsburg, W.Va. Dorothy lives with her bartending mother; her stepfather, Lyle; and her baby brother, Gabe, in a tumbledown house in a town she despises; she wishes it would burn to the ground so she could go live in Cleveland with her father. The family contends with working-class poverty and illness (Dorothy has chronic asthma and survives a bout with tuberculosis; her brother contracts ringworm and is slow to walk and talk). When life takes a turn for the better they move to eastern Washington State Dorothy is subjected to the humiliating experience of having to wear braces and headgear to correct a jaw deformity. But these harsh details, delivered unsparingly and without self-pity from Dorothy's point of view, are merely the backdrop for the timeworn adolescent rites of passage of friendships, crushes and the search for identity. While she gains acceptance by excelling on the basketball team with a group of Indian girls and becomes close friends with the beautiful and rebellious Dawn, Dorothy must also face the realities of the tensions within her family. Paul's sure grasp of her narrator's voice and keen observations make both the ordinary and unusual aspects of one childhood shine. Regional author tour. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In her first novel, Paul creates a child of nine who lives with her mother, stepfather, and small half-brother in rural West Virginia poverty. Dottie hates her life, but she prefers it to the unknown that awaits her in Washington State, where the family moves. However, she is pleasantly surprised by her new living conditions and social possibilities. As a gifted child, she intellectualizes the changes that adolescence brings and finds it difficult to cope socially and emotionally. She determines to overcome her physical shortcomings to win a spot on the girl's basketball team. In doing so, she wins the respect of the Native American girls on the team, who honor her with the nickname Utah. Although Dottie looks for trouble, she finds very little of it and begins to like her life. Just as things begin to click, her family plans to move again, but Dottie will no doubt do well. Paul captures the pain and confusion of adolescence, the struggles of poverty, the psychological impact of abuse, and the small rebellions that make "coming of age" a true passage to a new state. Her prose is realistic, her vignettes illustrative. Recommended. Joanna Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Providence (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.