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.
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An Enjoyable Listen
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.
- Elle W
Not My Kind of Book
This book might be a good first time leisure read for high school kids.
I bought this on a recommendation from a friend who said it was hilarious and fun and witty and I'm here to say it is far from any of those things. The characters are supposedly based on real people, but they've been neutered and reduced to something so boring and one dimensional that it's just not compelling or interesting or believable in any capacity. I'm positive people exist like those in the book, but the author has somehow made them not even remotely interesting to learn about. It's like one big long inside joke that the audience never gets on the inside of and there's no foreseeable payoff.
The narrator did his best to bring life to lifeless characters, but with the voices he gave them I couldn't even finish the book. I understand that every person in this book other than the narrator is annoying but the narrators performance challenged that at every turn.
There were no redeeming qualities to this book whatsoever. It is the only book in my growing audible library that I wish wasn't there. There's no chance of me finishing it and it just sits there mocking me for wasting my money.
- David Hoff