Smart Girls Like Me
By Diane Vadino
(St. Martin's Griffin, Paperback, 9780312385521, 272pp.)
Publication Date: November 11, 2008
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
Categories: Contemporary Women
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This is a story about what happens when you are twenty-four years old and it is 1999 and you are quite certain that everyone on the planet has been invited to super-fun New Year’s Eve orgies, except you. There is sex, albeit awkward and tentative. There are drugs, however illegal. There is very little rock and roll, but there is, of course, a wedding, and possibly a heroine: Betsy Nilssen, who, daily, finds herself in the sort of Manhattan workplace frequently filled with fashion models. She has a best friend named Bridget, and all Betsy wants is to escape Y2K by fleeing with her to New Zealand, where they could kayak through fjords and make out with surfers.
But two things happen: Bridget deserts Betsy—if by that we mean that Bridget accepts her boyfriend’s proposal of marriage—and Betsy meets the man of her quite literal dreams. This is a story about what happens when you love tremendously, and desperately, and occasionally unwisely. And it is a story of that one friend: your phone-a-friend with the definition of a tangelo at the ready, the one you call when the world is ending, the one you need, finally, more than any other person on the planet.
Diane Vadino was the inaugural main staff person at McSweeney’s; she has also worked as a waitress, Daily Show intern, and professional shampoo-ist. Her writing has appeared in magazines including Marie Claire, Spin, Good, and Allure, as well as in her fashion blog bunnyshop.org, named by Real Simple as one of the Web’s best. She lives in Brooklyn.
“Diane Vadino is an exhilarating talent . . . This is a slight, beautiful novel that makes you wish there were more smart girls like her writing books.”—Nylon
“Smart Girls Like Me [is] like moving Bridget Jones to New York . . . Betsy’s humorous internal monologues keep the reader engaged from first page to last.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“A raw and honest glimpse of single life. The witty, poignant Vadino writes exactly how Smart Girls think.” —Entertainment Weekly
“[T]o maintain your dignity while giving into your chick lit urge . . .With seriously good writing by this McSweeney’s alum, Smart Girls is as fun and relatable as one of those silly pink books . . .” —Marie Claire“For many years I have marveled at Diane Vadino’s ability to take the plainest little sentence and extend and twist it into something finer, funnier, revealing, and sad. Like this one from the book you are holding right now and ought to buy immediately: ‘Or maybe this is all a fabrication, a way to soften the fact that she is sashimi at Nobu and I am Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese and that this is less an illuminating metaphor than it is an accurate description of what we both ate for dinner last night.’ That’s just one of the beguiling double helixes that make up the DNA of this book: a zippy-smart, bitter-funny read with a beautiful, accomplished novel hidden in its genetic code, expressing itself like a sudden bright blue eye in a family of brown-eyed children---at the most surprising times.”
---John Hodgman, author of The Areas of My Expertise
“Diane Vadino is a writer of enormous gifts, all of which are on display here, in her brilliant debut: a keen intelligence and wit, an amazing imagination, and an incisive understanding of human beings and the dilemmas---fantastical and mundane---in which they entangle themselves. She is that rarity: a young artist able to offer wisdom without pretension, inspiration without inhibition. I have no doubt this is the beginning of a long and wonderful career.”
---Nicholas Christopher, author of The Bestiary and A Trip to the Stars
“Diane Vadino is a warm, funny, and talented young writer. In her terrific first novel she transports us to the roller-coaster ride that is single life in the city---pleasingly paced, perfectly detailed scenes replete with Diane von Furstenberg dresses, meatloaf sandwiches, a job in media, credit card debt thanks to various bridesmaid honors, and crushing heartbreak at a downtown RadioShack. Never again will I reflect on those excruciatingly embarrassing moments of obsessive young love and feel alone.”
---Jenny Minton, author of The Early Birds
“Fabulously entertaining, insightful, and touching in its telling of a young woman finding her own voice, her own path in life. Diane Vadino is an exceptional new discovery in fiction!”
---Kirsten Lobe, author of French Trysts: Secrets of a Courtesan and the bestselling Paris Hangover