Miss American Pie: A Diary of Love, Secrets, and Growing Up in the 1970s (Hardcover)

A Diary of Love, Secrets, and Growing Up in the 1970s

By Margaret Sartor

Bloomsbury USA, 9781596912007, 192pp.

Publication Date: June 27, 2006



A spellbinding and authentic document of American adolescence.

Set against the backdrop of the deep South in the 1970s, "Miss American Pie" is the unforgettable account of Margaret Sartor's life from age twelve to eighteen. A raw document crafted from diaries, notebooks, and letters, this deeply personal yet universally appealing story astonishes with its candor. Young Margaret moves with ease between the seemingly trivial concerns of hairstyles and boys to more profound questions of faith and meaning. By turns funny and poignant, heartbreaking and profound, she tackles all of the decade's issues desegregation, drugs, the sexual revolution, the rise of feminism, and the spread of charismatic evangelical Christianity with humor, frankness, and unexpected insight.

"Miss American Pie" reminds us what it feels like to grow up, offering a true and honest look at a teenager grappling with the timeless questions of sex, friendship, God, love, loss, and the meaning of family. The introduction and epilogue, written by Sartor from an older perspective, reflect on those turbulent and life-shaping years, revealing how the girl in the diary turned out after all, and demonstrating that childhood both its joys and traumas reverberate deeply in our adult lives.

About the Author

Margaret Sartor is a writer and photographer who has been widely published and exhibited. She teaches at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

Praise For Miss American Pie: A Diary of Love, Secrets, and Growing Up in the 1970s

"This is a gorgeous book, and its power is not to be underestimated" - Alyce Miller, Chicago Tribune
"A winning narrative voice that is equal parts Holden Caulfield and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm....Sartor's adolescent journals document every nuance of the life around her with the razor-sharp acuity of someone twice her age." - Andrea Hoag, Atlanta Journal-Constitution 
"[Sartor] trusts that readers will be captivated by the details of her ordinary, goofy, bucktoothed life, and we are." - Claire Dederer, News & Observer
"The prose is laconic, guilelessly revealing and often unintentionally satiric…. Priceless…['Miss American Pie'] speaks for itself, in all its awkward, embarrassing and heartbreaking immediacy." - William Grimes, New York Times
"I've just finished reading the most amazing book. "Miss American Pie" isn't a portrait of adolescence, it is adolescence, with all the sorrows and yearnings and tenderness that attend that age. It's our youth served up to us once again on a golden plate." - Carolyn See, The Washington Post Book World
"a charmer.  It all feels refreshingly authentic--like reality TV without the posturing." - O, The Oprah Magazine
"A picture of a time and place and a young woman that are as clear as and memorable as any reader's own adolescence, with all its triumphs and heartbreaks....charming, enlightening, honest..." - New Orleans Times-Picayune
"By turns funny and poignant, heartbreaking and profound…absolutely delightful.  If you enjoy a laugh-out-loud walk down memory lane, this is one you should read." - Carolina Herald
"poignant, funny, conflicted -- and suffused throughout by a bracing directness….one of the best accounts of female adolescence in many a year…" - Mobile Register
"This life reads like a forgotten classic. Every word is beautiful and true." - Daniel Wallace, author of Big Fish  "Authentic...immediate...Miss American Pie is a real knockout, throwing the reader right back into all the chaos, pain, and drama of adolescence. Getting Saved, finding out about sex, relating (or not) to family, making and breaking friendships-I was completely caught up. Miss American Pie has universal appeal."-Lee Smith, author of The Last Girls "One of the most captivating memoirs I have read in recent years. Sartor's diaries bring to mind both Mary McCarthy's Memories of a Catholic Girlhood and Daniel Clowes's Ghost World. Her achievement is an evocation of a very specific place and time that never feels dated or suspended in amber. Her narrative of family love and estrangement, of sexual awakening with those early years' strange mix of desire and repulsion is one of the most human and humane explorations of a young girl that I've come across. Miss America Pie is a distinctly American story by a gifted writer."-Virginia Holman, author of Rescuing Patty Hearst "Margaret Sartor's enchanting Miss American Pie could not be more time and place specific but its appeal will be universal. A complete delight. "-Geoff Dyer, author of Out of Sheer Rage and The Ongoing Moment  "A splendid account of the early years of a woman whose mind and broad, deep sensibility would see her through a fairly normal-sounding adolescence in the Deep South of small-town Louisiana into an adulthood of genuine artistic distinction. The diary has a grave self-doubt, a brilliant eye for the perfect revealing detail, and the beginnings of a saving wit. Miss American Pie has brought me up short with its generous outpouring of all this fresh and moving reality."-Reynolds Price, author of The Good Priest's Son