—PHILADELPHIA CITY PAPER
“In a daring move of realism, Hamann portrays Eveline, our heroine of sorts, as not always likable but almost always painfully relatable.”
“Lyrical and analytical.”
“This depth of character examination…generates the novel's powerful, sympathetic backbone and propels a complex coming-of-age tale for a new generation.”
In her literary debut, Hilary Thayer Hamann weaves the intricate web of an introverted young woman's interior life. In a daring move of realism, Hamann portrays Eveline, our heroine of sorts, as not always likable but almost always painfully relatable. The events of Eveline's late adolescence are filtered through her simultaneously lyrical and analytical psyche. Her senior year of high school is a study in isolation; her romance with boxer Harrison Rourke is cast in terms of youthful idolatry; and her college years pass under the haze of heartbreak.
Originally self-published, Anthropology of an American Girl can occasionally be self-indulgent and, while an engrossing read, overly lengthy. The novel is primarily centered on Eveline's involvement with three very different men: her nihilistic high school sweetheart, the elusive Rourke and a persistent, wealthy suitor. In this roundabout way, Girl examines a woman's identity within the world, which is, after all, very often defined in opposition to a man's.
Even so, readers may feel somewhat betrayed by Eveline's later actions after she is originally portrayed as a strong, thoughtful woman. This depth of character examination, even if seemingly contradictory, generates the novel's powerful, sympathetic backbone and propels a complex coming-of-age tale for a new generation.