Bolin examines iterations of the "dead girl" trope - from the works of Joan Didion and Raymond Chandler to Twin Peaks and Serial. She explores our fascination with the seemingly endless story of violence done to women's bodies. I recommend for readers willing to interrogate their reasons for tuning in to true crime and to reflect on the ethics of how these stories are told and consumed.— Kristi
"Dead Girls is everything I want in an essay collection: provocative lines of inquiry, macabre humor, blistering intelligence... I love this book. I want to take it into the middle of a crowded room and hold it up and scream until someone tackles me the ground; even then, I'd probably keep screaming." -- Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties
Bracing and blazingly smart, Alice Bolin's Dead Girls could hardly be more needed or more timely. A critical contribution to the cultural discussion of gender and genre, Los Angeles and noir, the unbearable persistence of the male gaze and the furtive potency of female rage." -- Megan Abbott, Edgar Award-winning author of You Will Know Me
Named a most anticipated book of 2018 by Bitch Magazine
In this poignant collection, Alice Bolin examines iconic American works from the essays of Joan Didion and James Baldwin to Twin Peaks, Britney Spears, and Serial, illuminating the widespread obsession with women who are abused, killed, and disenfranchised, and whose bodies (dead and alive) are used as props to bolster men's stories. Smart and accessible, thoughtful and heartfelt, Bolin investigates the implications of our cultural fixations, and her own role as a consumer and creator.
Bolin chronicles her life in Los Angeles, dissects the Noir, revisits her own coming of age, and analyzes stories of witches and werewolves, both appreciating and challenging the narratives we construct and absorb every day. Dead Girls begins by exploring the trope of dead women in fiction, and ends by interrogating the more complex dilemma of living women - both the persistent injustices they suffer and the oppression that white women help perpetrate.
Reminiscent of the piercing insight of Rebecca Solnit and the critical skill of Hilton Als, Bolin constructs a sharp, perceptive, and revelatory dialogue on the portrayal of women in media and their roles in our culture.