Claire Dean Essay on Girlwood

August 21, 2008

Claire Dean is the author of Girlwood, a book that’s part reality, part fantasy and very interesting to read. (Read my review.)

Today I got the chance to read an essay by Dean, posted by Powell’s Books. In it she talks about some of the things that happened in her earlier life that had an influence on what she wrote about in Girlwood. You can read the essay at Powell’s by clicking here.

I also think Dean’s Web site,, is very interesting. On the books tab, Dean talks about visiting a mother-daughter book club, and she says she’s willing to connect with other clubs if they contact her at the email address listed. Her other pages are also very interesting, many with subjects related to themes you’ll find in Girlwood. They include pages on edible plants, wilderness survival and auras. I took the quiz to find out what color my aura is, and found out it’s blue. I like her ideas for coming of age ceremonies that parents can create for their children, and there’s a reading guide for Girlwood. It’s fascinating!

Book Review: Girlwood by Claire Dean

May 8, 2008

With one foot in the modern world and one foot in a world of fantasy, Girlwood takes us into the life of Polly Greene, who can see the colors that surround people, revealing their true selves. Polly’s older sister, Bree, disappears into the woods one night, and Polly is the only one who believes she has not run far, that she’s hiding nearby to heal her out-of-control life.

When Polly finds a magical clearing hidden among the trees, she’s certain that her sister is close. She determines to leave her food and clothing and healing plants in a magical spot she and her friends dub Girlwood to help Bree survive until she’s ready to return.

Girlwood explores many themes as Polly enlists the help of friends and family in her mission:

  • What’s the value of nature compared to development?
  • Why do girls sometimes subvert their own personalities when they start to date?
  • How does divorce affect family dynamics?
  • How can parents teach and protect their children while also allowing them to have independent thoughts?

The themes are woven into a story that is as enchanting as the magical clearing, Girlwood, itself. And by the end, you may even find yourself searching for your own Girlwood.

Recommended for mother-daughter book clubs with girls in aged 12 and up.