Alix Kates Shulman's Memoirs of an Ex–Prom Queen created an impact on the cultural landscape when it was originally published in 1972. A sardonic portrayal of one white, middle-class, Midwestern girl's coming-of-age, the novel takes a look at a range of experiences treated at the time as taboo but which were ultimately accepted as matters of major political significance: sexual harassment, job discrimination, the sexual double standard, rape, abortion restrictions, the double binds of marriage and motherhood, and the frantic quest for beauty. The book is regarded as one of the first pieces of fiction born of the women's liberation movement.
"An extra-ordinarily fine novel . . . Men may curse, they may howl . . . yet men owe it to themselves to see themselves plain, as their wives and girlfriends perceive them, by approaching Memoirs as a splendid looking glass—above all, an honest one . . . A writer of remarkable narrative talent, sharp wit . . . and acerbic insight . . . with a keen ear for speech patterns and a peeled eye for the nuances of emotion, Ms. Shulman is very comic indeed."—Alden Wittman, Los Angeles Times
"This book has the sting of recognition for young women, and may be something of a relief for women over thirty, who perhaps can understand themselves better and be more empathetic toward their own daughters."—New York Daily News
"This story, told with astringent wit, explores every facet and cliché of what it means to grow up female and beautiful."—San Francisco Chronicle
"An extraordinary novel . . . Sad and witty, expertly conceived and executed . . . Important."—Peter Prescott, Newsweek
"Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen is a vivid reminder of just how much—and sometimes, how little—has changed for women in the last 35 years. Typing prowess and wedding-night virginity may no longer be expected, but Shulman's tale of Sasha Davis's struggle to find herself amid conflicting cultural messages about beauty, brains, and sex will be resonant for many more years to come."—Andi Zeisler, editorial/creative director of Bitch magazine
"Extremely relevant—I loved it! Growing up female in America forces many to become obsessed with how they look and how others see them, yet these cultural pressures and their effect on young woman are too rarely taken seriously and it was valuable and comforting to read a book that recognizes this and puts it in perspective. I only wish I'd found Alix Shulman's classic earlier."—Sophie Pollitt-Cohen, co-author of The Notebook Girls