Sunday, February 14, 2010

Rachel Simmons

Rachel Simmons is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, and The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence.

About a week ago I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
I just finished the novel Blame by Michelle Huneven, which was the best novel I've read in ages. It's the story of a woman who is involved in a terrible crime and how she dealt with the overwhelming guilt throughout her life. It ends up being an exploration of what it means to blame yourself -- something many, many women do, even when they have not been involved in criminal activity!

I also just finished Rosalind Wiseman's new young adult novel, her first foray into fiction, called Girls, Boys and other Hazardous Materials. Wiseman is the author of Queen Bees and Wannabes, the book that was the basis for the movie Mean Girls, and while you'd expect her to take on the issue of mean girls in fiction, she surprised me by focusing on boys and hazing. It's an impressive debut.

Right now, I'm reading Red: Teenage Girls Write About What Fires Up Their Lives Today, edited by Amy Goldwasser. I can't put this book down! 58 teenage girl contributors explore their lives with humor, sorrow, and that intensity that only adolescent girls can experience. It's amazing.

Finally, I'm reading the short story collection, Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It, by Maile Meloy. I'm not usually a big fan of short stories, mostly because I find myself bummed that the story is ending just as I'm getting invested in the characters. Meloy's stories are precise and occasionally heartbreaking -- and worth the let-down of having to say goodbye many pages too soon.
Beyond her books, Simmons is an educator and coach who works internationally to develop strategies to address bullying and empower girls. Learn more about her books and work at Rachel Simmons' website.

--Marshal Zeringue