Undiscovered Gyrl by Allison Burnett

undiscovered-gyrl-jktUndiscovered Gyrl by Allison Burnett
2009
293 Pages
3.75/5

What’s this?! A book review? Well indeed it is! I’ve finally finished an actual novel for the first time since June! And I’m going to review it despite the splitting migraine I have right now, so please forgive any really strange sentences that may appear. This was actually a great novel to pull me out of my reading funk. It’s a book that seems like a light read and superficial at first, but you quickly learn that it’s much much more than that.

The novel centers around a seventeen year-old girl who decides to keep a blog after she defers her admission into college. The book is actually told through her blog entries, so we can never actually be sure that we know the real girl behind the blog. We only know what she tells us. We quickly learn that she makes some bad decisions in life. She’s extremely promiscuous, she’s hurting quite a few people, and just generally engaging in a lot of self destructive behaviors. But putting this out there for all of the world to see solicits a lot of attention.

There are things about this girl that she doesn’t have to say. She comes off as superficial and crude most of the time to the point where I just wanted to punch her. But as you read on, she drops hints that life is not as fantastic as she claims it is. She’s looking for love in all the wrong places. This book has been described as a modern day Lolita, and I can see that to a point. She frequently sleeps with older men, drinks, smokes, does drugs, etc. But there is a lot of hurt there. There’s abuse in her past that she touches on. There’s a horrible relationship with her father who is an alcoholic. It’s understandable that she would search for love in any way that she can find it.

Now I did have a problem with this book at first, and I don’t know if I’m ok with it now or not. At first, I read the book as “you can’t trust any blogger.” That you never get to know the true person behind a blog, and to a point I think that’s true. I think that there are thing that us bloggers will never know about each other, but at the same time, I feel like some of my blogging friends know me better than some of my in person friends. The main character in the novel says “Only on the internet can you have so many friends and be so lonely.” That bugged me. I’ve talked to some of my blogging friends on the phone, I’ve shared emails and postcards with them, and I plan to meet them one day! Having said all of this, I don’t think that Allison Burnett meant this book to mean that all bloggers are lonely people just looking for love. I just think she meant that this character was. And she was indeed.

I do have to say that the ending of this book had me going “wow!” I totally didn’t see it coming. Would I recommend it? Yep! I thought it has a lot more to offer than it seems in the opening pages. That becomes obvious as the pages progress. The book will be released on August 11th, so only a few more days to wait! In the meantime, check out the trailer…it’s really cool.

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17 Responses

  1. That is a really well done trailer. I’m not generally a big fan of book trailers mostly because few of those I’ve seen have been good, but this one and the one on Kevin Dart’s book that I featured recently make me think that the trend is turning around and people are putting some real thought into these.

    Love the cover. Vintage Books have some of the best covers.

  2. You know, when you said this: “The book is actually told through her blog entries, so we can never actually be sure that we know the real girl behind the blog” I thought this: “At first, I read the book as “you canโ€™t trust any blogger””, so yeah, I’m not surprised you had a problem with it ๐Ÿ˜› I would, too. I just wish people would realize that the internet is not another dimension where the Rules of Reality don’t apply. We hold back what we want to hold back, both online and offline. And likewise, we reveal what we want to reveal. It’s not the internet itself that determines how close or distant we are to people. And I can’t help but roll my eyes at “Only on the internet can you have so many friends and be so lonely.” Yeah, because that NEVER happens offline! Okay, I’m done ranting now ๐Ÿ˜›

  3. Amen, Ana! I just don’t understand how people do not get that! Have they never known anyone “in person” who turned out to be totally different than who they represented themselves to be? I mean, come on, it happens all the time. I can’t speak for everyone, of course, but I think I’m more “myself” on-line than anywhere else. That’s sort of an exaggeration, of course. But I am more willing to be open and talkative on-line.

    Anyway, I still think this book sounds like it might make for a good read, and I’m really glad to hear you ended up enjoying it, Chris.

    “…and I plan to meet them one day” Oh yes, and soon. Hope you don’t regret it! ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Well, Ana and Debi have already pretty much said what I wanted to say! lol Yes, I’m a bit different with my online friends than offline ones, but I’m also a bit different with friends depending on where and when I’ve met them! It’s nice how online, my personality is what people have the first impression of, not what I look like/how I dress/etc.

  5. Oh and big hugs to you with the migraines. I hope they leave you alone soon!!!

  6. Your review, Ana and Debi’s comments said it very well! I think it’s the kind of thinking that was more current about ten year ago, but now the internet is this normal thing everyone uses. Everyone is on it, and I don’t think everyone is lying or feeling more alone (I know I don’t)! I’m still curious about reading this book, though. The book trailer really worked for me! I usually find them “pretty” and nothing more, but this one had some good idea into it.

  7. For some reason the premise doesn’t really appeal to me. And it bugs me, too- how many people do you know in person, do you see every day- co-workers, librarians, neighbors, etc- and yet there’s tons of stuff about their lives you will never know about, or even suspect. And something about that cover really bothers me. I don’t like it at all.

  8. remember the old saying “a picture is worth a 1,000 words”? well we don’t get to see the people we are talking to as we speak to them here so… you are what you write. often we are more truthful here because I think we fear less rejection..if one rejects there’s another to take their place. that doesn’t happen so much in life as we know it.

  9. Gyrl?

    Anyway re: “you can’t trust any blogger”, I agree with what a lot of people are saying, how the medium of the Internet is not responsible for distance and falsehood.

    To cite a literary example, I’ve been reading Villette by Charlotte Brontรซ with a group of people online. It’s from a first person perspective (Lucy) and a major topic of discussion has been about her being an unreliable narrator. She withholds information vital to the plot for many chapters, and the character is so reserved that you just know you’re not getting a complete picture.

    And as a result of all this, although she has many people in her life, there is a definite sense of loneliness about her. It sounds almost like Brontรซ and Burnett were touching on similar truths 150 years apart.

  10. Your reviews are brilliant, even when you’re suffering. Hope you’re feeling better, now. I woke up with a migraine, too. Boy, did that cost me. I was going to go to the post office in the morning, when nobody is there. Instead, I went in the afternoon and had to wait in line for nearly 45 minutes. I can imagine how the eyes rolled when I put my 10 parcels on the counter (the eyes of those behind me).

    I so agree with what Nymeth said. Honestly, I think some of us are loneliest in a crowded room.

    I just finished Paper Towns, today, so thank you again for sending it to me!!! John Green needs to write faster!

  11. Carl, I thought the trailer was really good too! I usually don’t include them, but I liked that one. They really are getting better and better. Personally, I like the cover too!

    Nymeth, You always have a way of saying things so much better than I ever could. I totally agree with you. Like Debi said, I think I’m more myself here sometimes than I am “in real life”. I really don’t hold that against the book though in the end…I hold it against the character. She aggravated me, but I felt for her at the same time. I think that it was just THIS girl that chose to use the internet to be anonymous. But you’re right…we hold back just as much offline as we do online when we want to!

    Debi, Totally agree with you too! I’m much more myself on here than I am offline I think sometimes…I think I express myself better in writing than I do in person. I guess you’ll get to find out soon enough :p I seriously hope that y’all do come down here!!! Though we may have to be near an ER because I may pass out from excitement ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh, and this is definitely a good read…I think you would like it. I think Annie would like it too, but keep in mind that it is pretty sexually explicit. You may want to check it out first.

    Eva, It’s so good to see you over here again first of all!! I think you’re the prime example of how people don’t hide who they are on the internet. When I saw your first vlog, the first thing I thought was “OMG, she’s exactly like I imagined her!” Thanks for the thoughts on the migraines. It’s better today. I hope your fibro flare ups go away soon ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    Kay, I think you’d enjoy the book! It’s really good. Your point is well made too! I think that the internet may have been used as an anonymous thing back in the day, but it’s not anymore…I think it’s just another means of communication!

    Jeane, Sorry to hear you don’t like the cover. For some reason it worked for me. You’re 100% right though! There are people we see every day that we’ll never know anything about. We’ll never know everything about anyone really! So why do internet relationships have to be so different?

    Deslily, Another excellent point and I think it’s a very valid one! I think that may be why so many of us are actually more forthcoming online than we are offline. There’s not that sense of rejection. Who knows if it’s just because we don’t interact physically or because we happen to have more in common…

    Scott, Yeah…the “Gyrl” really bugged me too. The way she talks throughout the whole freaking novel aggravated the hell out of me! You know, I’ve never had any luck with Bronte…I’ve tried and I’ve tried..maybe I should read Villette!! It sounds good!

    Bookfool, Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚ I am feeling much better today…just sleepy. My migraines and my allergies have been acting up like crazy lately. I think it might be all the stuff that the rain’s been stirring up…who knows :/ Sorry to hear that you got bombarded with one too ๐Ÿ˜ฆ And UG! I HATE waiting in long lines at the post office. And I know just what you mean. When you plop all of those books on the counter, you can just feel the evil stares glaring into you from behind :p I love that phrase “some of us are loneliest in a crowded room.” So true…And Paper Towns!! Wasn’t it great??? He really can’t write fast enough!! Good news is, he has a new book coming out that’s cowritten with David Levithan next year called Will Grayson Will Grayson and he’s also working on a book called “Sequel”.

  12. hmmm… i can relate to your reservations about this!

    still, this is quite interesting, as its in the style of blogging – and although i’ve heard of one or two books like this i think this is the first one i’ve heard of that wasn’t autobiographical.

    love the cover, btw!

  13. A new Green book is coming? Wahoooooo!!!! Thanks for telling me that, Chris. I needed to know. I can’t keep up with blogs, lately, since school has started and I’m ferrying, again. I’m having a little trouble letting the kiddo drive everywhere. Why is it that the mom is more traumatized by her son’s accident than the kid who barely escaped?

    I do think the rain has been stirring up some ick. I’ve had allergy trouble, too. Now that we have global warming, it’s going to be harder to find a frozen tundra when I’m ready to move, though.

  14. New reader here….:)Thoughtful review! It brings up some interesting thoughts for me. I probably would not have added it to my tbr list if you had not put the snippet about the unpredictable ending.
    As for the bit about how the book seems to portray bloggers as being lonely people – I find it annoying when anyone makes such a broad generalization about a group that I am a member of as well. It also helped me think that almost everyone gets lonely, and do you ever really truly know someone? Its a funny thing – one can get lonely even when we are in a room full of people or in a blogger’s world writing a post that receives a ton of comments. We can live with someone for years and they drop a bomb on us that makes us realize we do not know who they are….. hmmm

  15. I was not as happy with the ending as you were. I just thought it lacked something. There should have been more.

    And I just ignored that Internet quote as cliched and used simply to attract attention to the book. Something like a punchline. After we bloggers do know that our friends are for real ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. I don’t normally like book trailers, but that one has me thoroughly intrigued. And your review has made me need to add this to my TBR list immediately. I would say thanks, but, well, that list is already out of control, lol.

  17. I am the author of undiscovered gyrl and I really enjoyed reading your discussion. I think Chrisa put it best when she wrote “Having said all of this, I donโ€™t think that Allison Burnett meant this book to mean that all bloggers are lonely people just looking for love. I just think she meant that this character was. And she was indeed.”

    Any novelist who sets out to write a book about all bloggers would be a numbskull, I think. Because like human beings, no two bloggers are identical. And the loneliness of bloggers is hardly what I would call a universal theme. I can tell you with absolute sincerity that blogging has as much to do with the themes of Undiscovered Gyrl, as prep school life does with Catcher in the Rye. It’s merely the way Katie communicates. And Violet is right — the loneliness lines is just a line to sell the book. And Katie says it not I.

    The book is really about–

    No, on second thought, I’ll let you decide for yourselves…. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Anyway, thanks for letting me in on your discussion….

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