The New York Times bestselling portrait of American adolescence.
Margaret Sartor, a fiercely determined girl from rural Louisiana, who is equal parts "Holden Caulfield and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" (Atlanta Journal Constitution), presents a poignant portrait of American life during the 1970s. Crafted from diaries, notebooks, and letters, this deeply personal yet universally appealing story moves with ease between the seemingly trivial concerns of hairstyles and boys to the more profound questions of faith and identity. By turns funny and poignant, heartbreaking and profound, Miss American Pie tackles all of the decade's issues-desegregation, drugs, the sexual revolution, the rise of feminism, and the spread of charismatic evangelical Christianity-with humor, frankness, and unexpected insight.
Miss American Pie reminds us what it feels like to grow up, offering a true and honest look at a teenager grappling with the timeless questions of sex, friendship, God, love, loss, and the meaning of family. The introduction and epilogue, written by Sartor from an older perspective, reflect on those turbulent and life-shaping years, revealing how the girl in the diary turned out after all, and demonstrating that childhood-both its joys and traumas-reverberate deeply in our adult lives.
Beginning in 1972, at age 13, Sartor records the highlights and low points of her formative years in Montgomery, Ala. Through succinct diary entries that grow more insightful as she ages, the author, who teaches documentary studies at Duke, reveals her insecurities, spiritual awakening and early sexual encounters. Hers is a very normal American childhood, though a few things stand out: she experiences desegregation firsthand (she's white, but witnesses racism toward black kids) and is torn between her evangelical Christian community and her sectarian household. There are moments of impressive maturity and self-awareness, such as the May 18, 1977, entry: "I'm giving the invocation at the graduation ceremony. I'm sure they asked me because I'm the only kid willing to pray out loud who doesn't hand out pamphlets on the Second Coming"; or June 1, 1977: "Can you be alone when you are physically with someone?" Sartor's reproduction of her diaries differs from traditional memoirs in its lack of adult interpretation of events, told through the distance of time and wisdom. That may make it unusual, but publishing such generally mediocre diaries feels self-indulgent. Author tour.