Lives of Girls and Women
by Alice Munro (1971)
Vintage (2001)
277 pp

Lives-of-Girls-and-WomenEarlier this year, Betsy and I started an Alice Munro reading project, going through her stories one at a time, starting with her first collection, Dance of the Happy Shades (click here for an index of posts on each story) (we’d already covered Munro’s most recent collection, Dear Life; click here for an index of posts on each story).

Munro’s second book, Lives of Girls and Women (1971), is actually classified as a novel. However, in many ways it is still a collection of short stories, all dealing with a single character whom me met in Dance of the Happy Shades, Del Jordan. These stories are rich and worth going through one-by-one as well. So that’s just what we’re going to do.

This is the anchor post, an index with links to our posts on each story in this collection.

Now that we’ve completed the project, I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished together and as individuals. Our posts on the eight stories total approximately 24,000 words, and we both feel there are vast areas we didn’t even touch on, let alone explore. This is a rich book that I cannot recommend highly enough.

Lives of Girls and Women contains the following eight pieces:

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By |2017-08-03T00:54:37-04:00September 11th, 2013|Categories: Alice Munro|4 Comments


  1. litereader September 12, 2013 at 11:52 am

    I love this project! Munro is a unique talent. One of my goals in the next year is to read all of her published work and do something similar on my own blog (which will be resurrected for the work). I suspect, though, that I will be several books behind you. I’m sure you are aware, but the Buried in Print blog is also working through her work in a story-by-story manner. It will be exciting to get caught up in the analysis that you both are offering and adding in my own perspective.

    Also, I can’t wait till you get to ‘Runaway’. It is my favourite collection of hers that I have read.

  2. Trevor February 20, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    This post has been updated slightly since we have now finished our posts on each piece in the book.

  3. Betsy February 20, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    Trevor – I imagine you agree – that Lives of Girls and Women is a wonderful book, a great book.

    Add in the three Del stories from Dance of the Happy Shades, and we have about a dozen Del stories from about four to about 17, in which Munro presents Del at different stages of psychological, intellectual and moral growth.

    Munro doesn’t have a big, national backdrop as Twain did with slavery in Huck Finn. Nor does she have a big psychological occasion as Salinger did with Holden Caulfield – mourning and its handmaidens, anger and depression. Nonetheless, she has written an important book – . about how girls grow up. For me, Del is Huck and Holden’s sister.

    I just cannot recommend these stories enough.

  4. Rick Mancuso February 26, 2014 at 4:14 am

    I read your analysis the other day of THANKS FOR THE RIDE. I was so very impressed with your insight. I have always loved Munro’s writing. I have read and taught much of her work over the decades…having had so much trouble with school administrators and parents for using her texts.
    I am particularly pleased that Alice Munro has finally received the overwhelming, world-wide recognition she has deserved for decades.
    In my book, SHE IS THE BEST WRITER EVER…within the genre of SHORT STORY.
    Rick Mancuso, PROVIDENCE

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