Pretty Little Dirty
By Amanda Boyden
(Vintage, Paperback, 9781400096824, 432pp.)
Publication Date: March 14, 2006
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Lisa sees the life of her gorgeous best friend Celeste as just about perfect: she has a gigantic house, two older sisters to coach her through the hazards of high school, and loving, lively parents. As Lisa's own home has long been a place devoid of joyful noise—her mother has shut herself off in her bedroom for years—Lisa joins the Diamond household, slipping into their routine of sit-down suppers and soaking in the delicious normalcy of Diamond family life. But what begins as the story of two young women living a charmed adolescence, one of mastering dance moves and the protocols of male-female interaction, soon swirls into an intoxicating novel of art, music, and self-destructive impulses as Lisa and Celeste dare each other ever onward.
Born in Northern Minnesota, Amanda Boyden grew up, the eldest of three daughters, in Chicago and St. Louis. Currently she teaches in the English department of the University of New Orleans. Previous positions include elderly companion, artist’s model, gutter cleaner, dishwasher, science lab assistant, cancan dancer, tutor, stuntwoman, and bit part actress. Until recently, Amanda worked as a contortionist and professional trapeze artist. She proudly lists hanging high over the heads of Galactic and 311 in her life accomplishments.
She is married to Canadian author Joseph Boyden. Pretty Little Dirty is her first novel.
"A glorious, modern, satirical and funny reimagining of the myth of Cupid and Psyche. . . . Boyden is poetic with her prose, without being purple, and her short sentences read like stab wounds, puncturing opportunities for pretense." —San Francisco Chronicle
"Pretty Little Dirty takes a classic coming-of-age tale and turns it inside out, then gives it a few kicks in the head for good measure. Funny, sexy, inventively told, and scary as hell—a gutsy debut."
–Dani Shapiro, author of Family History
“Boyden cracks open the vulnerable world of the adolescent girl today. Racy, dangerous and very captivating, Pretty Little Dirty paints a hypnotic portrait of two girls spinning perilously out of control.”
–Colleen Curran, author of Whores on the Hill
"Amanda Boyden’s white-hot prose surprises and scorches the reader with her disarming candor about sexual hunger, friendship compromised by envy, and ambition lacking focus."
–Fredrick Barton, author of A House Divided, winner of The William Faulkner Prize