Based on the wildly popular Twitter feed Dear Girls Above Me, a roman a clef about how thinking like a couple of girls turned one single guy into a better man.
When Charlie McDowell began sharing his open letters to his noisy upstairs neighbors - two impossibly ditzy female roommates in their mid-twenties - on Twitter, his feed quickly went viral. His followers multiplied and he got the attention of everyone from celebrities to production studios to major media outlets such as Time and Glamour.
Now Dear Girls breaks out of the 140-character limit as Charlie imagines what would happen if he put the wisdom of the girls to the test.
After being unceremoniously dumped by the girl he was certain was "the one," Charlie realized his neighbors’ conversations were not only amusing, but also offered him access to a completely uncensored woman’s perspective on the world. From the importance of effectively Facebook-stalking potential girlfriends and effortlessly pulling off pastel, to learning when in the early stages of dating is too presumptuous to bring a condom and how to turn food poisoning into a dieting advantage, the girls get Charlie into trouble, but they also get him out of it - without ever having a clue of their impact on him.
©2013 Charles McDowell (P)2013 Random House Audio
I enjoyed listening to this book and I'm glad I got the audio instead of the print version. This is one of those cases where an oral reading enhances the story, makes it better. Because of the conversational tone and rather banal setting (it all takes place inside an apartment building) it works very well as a performance. The narrator does a great job keeping the pace varied and interesting and making the protagonist likable.
Honestly, though, I didn't think most his observations about the girls above him to were funny, so I'm not sure how a Twitter following was gained in actuality. But for the novel, it's a good device to tell a story that really does have some heart to it. If you can see past the Tweets and into the story of Charlie and his neighbors, you'll find a lively and affable tale to amuse when you're in the mood for something light.
Some books are much better read, some are better heard. For example, I've listened to Bossy Pants, but read Is Everyone Having Fun Without Me. I loved hearing Steve Martin read his book, Company of Myself, but I didn't like hearing Object of Beauty so I stopped listening and got the print version instead (nothing wrong with the narrator's performance, just the style of writing is better visualized than heard). Khaled Hosseini gave a wonderful reading of his first two books, but And the Mountain Echoed as an audiobook was just...not my thing, so again, had to read it. Finally, any Frank McCourt book is a must have, but hearing it in his voice is a magical experience. I mention all this not to be annoying or digress, but to point out why I recommend this book while giving an idea of other books I enjoyed as a comparison. Dear Girls Above Me isn't brilliant literature, but it is cohesively and articulately written with a logical, believable character arc. I think it would certainly be a good read, as long as you're in the right mood, but it's an even better listen.
Side note: adult situations and harsh language, so parents, you probably don't want to have this on with kids around.
It had some genuinely hilarious parts.
Yes it did.
It gets indulgent about halfway through. Plot development/anecdotal story starts to drag.
Kristin Fowler Benton
So much fun!
The self deprecating nature of the writing.
Awkward encounter at CVS & the texting game.
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