Autobiography of Us

Aria Beth Sloss

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Autobiography of Us

Autobiography of Us A gripping debut novel about friendship loss and love a confession of what passed between two women who met as girls in s Pasadena CaliforniaComing of age in the patrician neighborhood of Pasade

  • Title: Autobiography of Us
  • Author: Aria Beth Sloss
  • ISBN: 9780805094558
  • Page: 360
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A gripping debut novel about friendship, loss and love a confession of what passed between two women who met as girls in 1960s Pasadena, CaliforniaComing of age in the patrician neighborhood of Pasadena, California during the 1960s, Rebecca Madden and her beautiful, reckless friend Alex dream of lives beyond their mothers narrow expectations Their struggle to define theA gripping debut novel about friendship, loss and love a confession of what passed between two women who met as girls in 1960s Pasadena, CaliforniaComing of age in the patrician neighborhood of Pasadena, California during the 1960s, Rebecca Madden and her beautiful, reckless friend Alex dream of lives beyond their mothers narrow expectations Their struggle to define themselves against the backdrop of an American cultural revolution unites them early on, until one sweltering evening the summer before their last year of college, when a single act of betrayal changes everything Decades later, Rebecca s haunting meditation on the past reveals the truth about that night, the years that followed, and the friendship that shaped her.Autobiography of Us by Aria Beth Sloss is an achingly beautiful portrait of a decades long bond A rare and powerful glimpse into the lives of two women caught between repression and revolution, it casts new light on the sacrifices, struggles, victories and defeats of a generation.

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      Posted by:Aria Beth Sloss
      Published :2019-02-06T07:18:07+00:00

    One thought on “Autobiography of Us

    1. Sarah Bigelow on said:

      This book is marketed as a novel about friends, and while a somewhat miss-matched friendship provides an umbrella context for the plot, it's not really about friendship. This is a novel about mothers and their children, or more specifically, mothers and their daughters. However, Aria Beth Sloss doesn't really seem to know that. In fact, Aria Beth Sloss doesn't seem to really know what she's writing about at all. Because is Autobiography of Us really about friendship or motherhood at all? Or is t [...]

    2. (Lonestarlibrarian) Keddy Ann Outlaw on said:

      This is one of the most depressing books I ever read. Teenaged Alex Carrington, a luminous beauty and talented aspring actress, picks rather mousy, shy Rebecca Madden as a best friend when she first bursts onto their L.A. high school scene in 1958. From then on, Rebecca is forever in Alex's thrall. Masochistic is the only word I could think of for this relationship, for rarely could I see what drew Rebecca to Alex. Rebecca's mother is a frustrated, nervous woman, trying to live out her life thro [...]

    3. Sharon on said:

      The Autobiography of Us had so much going for it - female friendship through the years - growing up in the same time period as I did - and still I did not like this book at all, mostly because I found it pretty unbelieveable.Alex and Rebecca meet in junior high and take one look at each other and are bonded for life. They are total opposites, so I couldn't figure out the attraction; in fact, Alex is so self-centered and never exhibits any care for Rebecca. Then we jump forward to the college yea [...]

    4. Book Concierge on said:

      Rebecca Madden and Alexandra Carrington meet in homeroom their freshman year of high school. Beautiful and vivacious Alex had just moved to Pasadena from Texas. Shy and studious Becky was as surprised as anyone when Alex asked to sit with her at lunch, but from the moment they met they were best friends. We found each other like two animals recognizing a similar species: noses raised, sniffing, alert. The novel is told by an older Rebecca, relating her youth to her daughter. It’s a coming-of-a [...]

    5. Amanda on said:

      I was excited to read this book as I thought the title and synopsis sounded wonderful, the story of two girls and their lasting friendship. However, it fell really flat for me. I never felt like Alex and Rebecca, the main characters, were all that close. I never felt a real, sincere, long lasting bond from them and I wasn't ever really sure why they even spent time together. As for the supporting characters, they were even more lackluster. Undeveloped and boring. Actually, everyone in the book i [...]

    6. Michelle on said:

      Oh how I loved this book. I absolutely gobbled it up, lived inside it. I don’t think it’s for everyone. I can’t even explain who wouldn’t like it; I can only see why others might not. This explores, in great depths, so many relationships. Friends (through different stages: childhood, college, motherhood), parent-child, husband-wife. And oh my gosh, how often do you read about a solid and strong father-daughter relationship? Almost never. Rebecca’s relationship with her father, and the [...]

    7. Cait on said:

      The Times gave this a glowing review, and I'm still trying to figure out why. It jumped around, was disjointed, and was extremely predictable. I understand that the intention was for this to be a story about social issues, to an extent, but it fell short. Like all books about girlfriends, it had the following elements:Narrator is shy, bookish, doesn't have friends until new girl moves to town/school/ right across the street. She never is given much of a will of her own, nor much personality. She [...]

    8. Diane S ☔ on said:

      When I first started reading this, I could immediately tell it was well written but I also thought this was going to be another novel about female friendship. I was partly right but I also became totally meshed in the story of these two friends who met when they were fourteen but were so totally addicted. Take also the time period, the fifties and the sixties with everything happening in the world, the massive societal shifts, the riots after the death of Martin Luther King, the expectations imp [...]

    9. Freesiab (Bookish Review) on said:

      3 stars because it was an easy to read story about coming of age and the writing was well done. 2 stars on everything else. There was no real connection to this friend. It passed over these really big life issues that could have made it a great feminist work. The ending, a cop out?

    10. Daniel on said:

      What an incredible debut novel!I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of "Autobiography of Us" through a giveaway. When I say "lucky", that is not an exaggeration. I feel privileged to have read this book! The moment I turned the last page, just a few minutes ago, I wanted to flip back tot he beginning and start it all over again.It's often said that the key to a good novel is character, that the reader should be able to identify and empathize with the denizens of the written work. The t [...]

    11. Heather Platisha on said:

      Another first time novelist added to the list. I am a sucker for stories about best friends, friendships lost as well as California in the 50s and 60s, so I had a lot of hope for this book. Similar to other reviewers I was left wanting to understand more about our main characters, Rebecca and Alex. Funny, Sloss wrote these girls similar to the main characters in Beaches, which I would have been okay with if I was able to get to know them better. Another thing I couldn't quite get a hold on was t [...]

    12. Oceana on said:

      Rarely if ever do I not finish a novel. I don't think I can finish this one. I can't relate to the characters because not enough time is spent developing who they are and why Rebecca and Alex are even friends. I am a little over half way done and the book gets more and more depressing, including the relationships. Events occur too quickly without getting to know the characters well enough to process the decisions. It feels as though the author left out much of the character development. Even the [...]

    13. Karen on said:

      What a great premise for a book - what a great twist! But over and over this book does not deliver. I finished it wondering if I'd read it too quickly and missed important things, but a scan back indicated that no, I'd caught it all. It was the author who'd neglected to tell us important things, to flesh out the backstory, the whys, the motivations. There was so much going on in this book - tension between the women, tension between the women and their mothers, tension due to the Vietnam War, te [...]

    14. Nette on said:

      I couldn't get past the fact that every character in this book talks like someone in a bad B movie drama set in the 40s. Teenagers, parents, teachers, everyone. I don't have the book with me anymore, but it sounds like this: "Darling girl, heaven forbid that you ever wear even a trace of lipstick! Why, when I was young, I wouldn't leave the house without looking my best." "Mother, you know that makeup and I are sworn enemies!" "Ladies, ladies, what is all this bickering! A man's home is his cast [...]

    15. Doreen Ashbrook on said:

      I starated out liking this book, but by the time I got part way through, I disliked all of the characters. This book was a total downer. I would not recommend it.

    16. Coleen on said:

      (2.5 stars) The book description had promise -- that of two friends who meet in childhood in the 1960's & continue on to lead somewhat separate lives in an era of change. But there was just so much that was disappointing about this novel. The characters were not especially likeable. There was very little plot development up to the supposed climax of the novel, which hit fairly early on in the story. The various "episodes" of the story seemed oddly random, and I often would pick up reading, f [...]

    17. Tripfiction on said:

      Novel set in Pasadena and New York (the ‘Pollyanna’ of Pasadena)Rebecca in her mid teens has high expectations of her life. She has ambition, drive and commitment to carving out a career for herself, in an era where women rarely went beyond housewife or secretary. This is Mad Men country mid 20th Century.Since the age of 14 she has had a good friend Alex, from the richer side of town, who is a foil to Rebecca’s bookishness, a shining light on the stage, and a beauty to boot. Theirs is a fr [...]

    18. Linda Robinson on said:

      The new girl in class radiates self-confidence, and for homeroom 14 year olds, that alone makes her a Person of Interest to avoid. Cut to schoolyard, midday. The new girl chooses the narrator as her BFF. We have no idea what motivates this approach. Alex is set up to be the wild girl; Rebecca the studious girl. As the girls grow, have a senior summer of scary grown-up world-approaching mayhem, we pack our bags and drive a couple miles to college. Then adulthood, or those years normally referred [...]

    19. Priscilla Melchior on said:

“Autobiography of Us” is the coming-of-age story of a pair of California girls, Rebecca and Alex, who became friends when 14 years old. Beginning with the day in of their meeting the early 1960s, Rebecca takes us through their school and college years, then beyond, to adulthood.It’s a rocky relationship, because Alex is no ordinary teen. She’s artistic, with dreams of stage and screen; she is dramatic and equally bold. For the lonely Rebecca, Alex’s personality is equally magnetic a [...]

    20. Ferdinand E. on said:

      This novel was marketed as a story about friends. I picked it up because the bathing suits, hair styles and sunglasses on the cover reminded me of "Mad Men."So if you're not a "Mad Men" or "The Help" fanatic who can't get enough of how men and women operated in the 50's and 60's, you may find my review unhelpful.But if you are, I think the book has more strengths than weaknesses. The story picks up in the latter half of the 50's, when two pre-teen girls become friends. One is flamboyant and aspi [...]

    21. Cristina on said:

      I'm not sure what to say about this book. Perhaps it's the marketing's complete misunderstanding of the book, but I felt like I got something very different than what I was set up to get. This isn't to say that this was a bad book. It's touted as an emotional story between two femal lifelong friends. In reality, it's a more intellectual book about the gilded cage that women were placed in during the 1960s and 70s--particularly upper-middle-class women. Both Alex and Rebecca are young women who t [...]

    22. Kim on said:

      Overall I didn't really like this book. I do think it was well written. But I didn't like the characters--Alex especially. Why would Rebecca have stayed friends with her? She wasn't nice at all. All she did was take from the relationship. I guess the book was more about feminism than anything else. Two girls with such high hopes for their futures in 1965 but were held back by "the man" and the times. Then they totally fell apart! Spoiler alert:Personally, I think the whole lesbian thread was a c [...]

    23. Gail on said:

      I found this book both engaging and frustrating. The storyline drew me in for sure: two girls growing up in the culture of the 1950's form an unlikely friendship. Rebecca, quiet and studious, falls in love with science and becomes bent on breaking through gender roles to enter medical school; Alex, cynical and carefree, having lived a life of privilege, pursues her dream of stage acting. Neither succeeds in following her calling. My first disappointment was in how Sloss brought and held this fri [...]

    24. Paula on said:

      I am giving this book two stars because even though I think it missed the boat, it was pretty well written.The premise, a friendship beginning in the late 1950s, drew me in. But all I've got to say is: gee, thanks, Ms Sloss, could you have painted a bleaker picture of these two? Alex is so obnoxiously full of herself it was impossible for me to find any empathy for her. Rebecca is a a cloying, meek, self effacing lamb. These two are doomed. Born into a social milieu with clearly defined female r [...]

    25. Nada on said:

      Review first published on my blog: memoriesfrombooksThe "Us" are Alex and Rebecca. They meet in 1958 as girls, and instantly forge a friendship. The Autobiography of Us is the story of that relationship within the cultural context of the 1960s as Alex and Rebecca grow up and attempt to find their own way within the confines of family and cultural expectations.The description had all the makings of a good story - young women at a fascinating point in history, friendships we can relate to, expecta [...]

    26. Ampersand Inc. on said:

      I was expecting a novel about women and friendship and while the novel included that it is much more. It is also exploration of cultural expectations and the constraints placed on women growing up in the fifties and sixties. And, ultimately, it is a story of love. This book would be a wonderful book club pick as there is much to talk about including the author’s choice to have Rebecca tell the story. The way she has crafted the story leads the reader through a life and a defining relationship [...]

    27. Irene on said:

      The narrator of this novel is recording the story of her life for her daughter. The arc of the story runs from high school in Pasadena in 1958 to young motherhood in New York in the mid 1970s. The theme that seems to connect the characters is the deleterious impact of dead dreams and shallow lives on the financially comfortable women of that era. This seems to want to explore the relationships between women. But, rather than the portrait of mutually supportive friendship, we are given mother-dau [...]

    28. Tina on said:

      This was an interesting book about that generation of women, like my mother, who came of age just before the impact of the women's movement took effect. They were not quite of the 1950s, but really not of the 1960s, either and lived during a time of diminished expectations for women, yet able to see quite clearly what could have been, what almost was.My biggest issue with this book is that the friendship between the two girls seems rather inexplicable and impressionistic. The writing itself is b [...]

    29. Joanne on said:

      Maybe I didn't know what to expect, but this book didn't deliver anything I wanted. I thought it was supposed to be about friendship, about coming of age in California in the turbulent 60s. Instead, it limps along, with two unsatisfying female protagonists that never connect with the reader. There are so many unanswered questions and few explanations of supposedly major events in their lives. What are the odds that both women would end up in such seriously messed-up marriages? As to the "revelat [...]

    30. Lisa on said:

      I purchased the Autobiography of Us via Audible as an audio book and have tried (really, really tried) to like it. I am about halfway through and the thought of plugging in my headphones and giving it another go is akin to poking rusty nails into my pupils. The main characters are weakly developed, the story just marches on without any real point. One of the most disappointing books I've 'read' (or attempted to read) in a long time. In addition to giving it a 1-star rating, I will also interject [...]

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