Blueprints for Building Better Girls

by Elissa Schappell

I took my outfit picture for this book in front of a construction site.  I know, I know, I am so funny and creative.  I mean, BUILDING better girls?  Amazing.  And M says that I am not the funny one ;)

"My mom is right in this, appearance is everything, and appearing to have no one is like swimming alone in the middle of the ocean with a flesh wound."

Schappell tells the stories of a cast of girls and women, at different points in their lives.  At first it seems like a collection of separate stories; later these darkly funny stories weave into each other's.

The stories begin with a teenage girl who was given a bad reputation at high school, because she wore a body suit with a short skirt. The next details the relationship between a husband and wife, and their struggle to get pregnant. Another story involves a college student, who shares her horrible secret with her aged grandfather. Still another story deals with the relationship between mothers watching their daughters at the playground.

The narratives are very character-driven and filled with emotional details. These women are all flawed in some way.  They have been hurt, somehow, and have learned to deal with their hurt in different ways. They struggle with stereotypes and identities as sexual beings, mothers, friends, daughters and wives.

One of my friends, L, was reading this book in the summer and told me that it was boring.  I thought that I would given it a chance.  I really liked the stories of these girls and women. Their stories made me think about the pressures put on women - such as the need to mother and the need to work outside the home. I thought about how women could be very mean to each other, catty and gossipy. I think that some women, myself included at times, need to remember to love each other, respect each other's differences, and to think about their entire story before judging them.

♥ Meg xoxo


  1. Whatever lady, I think you're hilarious - Geese! :)
    This book sounds good!
    xo Erin

    1. haha thanks, woman. oh man. geese ARE funny. xoxo