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Normal Girl


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About the Author

Molly Jong-Fast is the author of Normal Girl, Girl, Maladjusted, and The Social Climber's Handbook. She has written for many newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Harpers Bazaar, W Magazine, Cosmo, The Times (UK), and Marie Claire. She lives in Manhattan. She is married to a recovering academic. They have three very small children, all of whom like to talk to her when she is on the phone.


"I leave the temple feeling empty," says Miranda Woke, the protagonist and first-person narrator of Jong-Fast's debut novel, as she exits the funeral of her drug addicted boyfriend. "The texture of the morning felt more like Oreo filler than anything remotely satisfying." The same could be said of the novel itself. Jong-Fast, the 21-year-old daughter of writers Erica Jong and Jonathan Fast (and granddaughter of octogenarian novelist Howard Fast) has written an uneven chronicle of the downward spiraling life (and shaky beginnings of recovery) of 19-year-old Miranda, addicted to cocaine, Valium and heroin, who is the daughter of Diana, a New York socialite, and architect Jason Woke, "the Frank Lloyd Wright of his generation." Poor little rich girl Miranda is sometimes amusing as she discusses the foibles of what she calls the MAM (Madison Avenue Mafia), which she says "operates under one of the basic principles of Zen Buddhism: mindfulness. They may not be mindful of you or me but they make up for it with a self-obsession so blinding that the sun looks tame." But more often than not her attempts at cuteness are glib and forced, as when she lists guests at an important opening of one of her father's buildings as "Partha Dewart, decorator to the stars, and Pawn Snuffy Bones, the rap star." Though her rampages can be entertaining, self-pitying Miranda makes it difficult for readers to empathize with her as she struggles to come to terms with her addictions and find out whether she accidentally helped her boyfriend overdose. She trashes her mom's country house, shares a bottle of Wild Turkey with a homeless man and describes herself as "another fallen institution... further proof that children of famous people are like communismÄbetter in concept than in practice." While it is witty at times, this tale of meltdown and resurrection is ultimately too much like its protagonist: sexy but superficial. (June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

"Normal Girl is a searing, bitchy, funny novel about priviledge in wretched excess and the accidental nature of grace -- a fin de siecle East Coast Less Than Zero from the female point of view. Molly Jong-Fast is a prodigy. Parents everywhere should be horrified by this deeply impressive debut."
--Jay McInerney

"So much talent, so young a writer! Hard-edged, savage, funny, brilliant."
--Fay Weldon "If you want to know what goes on in the minds of New York's young, rich, and famous, read Molly Jong-Fast's hilarious novel, Normal Girl."
--Susan Cheever

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