The Girl Pretending to Read Rilke is a coming-of-age vel set in a biology lab in the summer of 1963 in Boston. Both the heroine, 19-year-old Bronwen, and America are suffering growing pains and soon all the standards of the past will be shattered as the Pill and the war in Vietnam change people's expectations forever. A shocking telegram forces Bronwen to choose between family and the temptations of a dazzling future in science. Barbara Riddle has given us a sharp, funny glimpse into a little-explored moment in women's recent history. The year is 1963, the same year Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique. Brave young women were heading out from college and looking for lives very different from those their mothers had lived. My excitement about The Girl Pretending to Read Rilke stems in part from the fact that I was there- heading for graduate school in science in 1963. I recognize Riddle's heroine Bronwen for her spirit of adventure as well as her sometimes crippling self-doubts (carefully urished by the all-too-realistic boyfriend-from-hell). Today's 20-somethings will recognize her as a woman struggling, like themselves, for personal coherence in a world that still has difficulty seeing us as complete and entire human beings. -Barbara Ehrenreich (author, Nickel and Dimed)
Barbara Riddle received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Brandeis, but in the process of writing her coming-of-age novel The Girl Pretending to Read Rilke, she became committed to writing as her true vocation. Her passion is helping young women to develop self-confidence and meet all challenges with humor and resilience. A native of New York City, she is currently at work on a memoir of growing up as the child of free-spirited bohemian parents in 1950's Greenwich Village, as well as being involved in the development of Girl Pretending to Read Rilke into an independent feature film in the style of An Education. She divides her time between New York City, St. Petersburg, Florida and her extended family in Sweden. Her daughter Laramie is a filmmaker in Los Angeles and her stepdaughter Simona is a writer in Stockholm. Among her favorite auhtors she lists Jean Rhys, Katherine Mansfield, Nadine Gordiimer, Amy Hempel, Carson McCullers, Anton Chekhov, Leo Tolstoy, Truman Capote and Ivan Klima. She blogs at www.poodlesontheroof.com and her website is www.girlpretending.com. You can write to her at email@example.com with your comments or questions. She loves to hear from her readers.