Anthropology of an American Girl
is a perfect summer book. It manages to be at once languorous and intense, a page-turner that demands to be read slowly, a story bathed in the golden light of Long Island with a dark thrum like an ocean undertow. It is a big fat book, just right for the lengthening days ahead. If you were once an American girl, you should read this book. If possible, you should read this book in concert with another former American girl, or two, or seven, so you can discuss it as it unfolds. This is a book that just might stir up dormant emotions from the summer of your own life, thoughts alternately welcome and discomfiting.
Evie, the narrator, is an outsider in her social milieu. She is attractive in a dark, unconventional way, so she draws the gazes of many people but lacks the protective envelope of a group of friends. Her divorced...
Beyond the Book
Hilary Thayer Hamann self-published her novel with the help of her former husband's print and design company, consciously choosing to forego the typical path of agents, editors, and salespeople. The book found a disparate but fervent audience and started winning awards. A film producer inquired about movie rights and encouraged Hamann to publish it more broadly, so eventually she signed with a literary agent who sold the novel to a division of Random House. Anthropology of an American Girl
fits into a small but growing category of self-published books that first found their own underground niche readerships and then, once their literary merits had been proven, were bought by mainstream publishers and re-marketed to wider audiences. You've probably heard of a few of these...