Boyden, Amanda (Amanda Buege–Boyden)
Boyden, Amanda (Amanda Buege–Boyden)
University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA, writer in residence. Has worked as an elderly companion, artist's model, gutter cleaner, dishwasher, science lab assistant, dancer, tutor, editor, stuntwoman, actress, contortionist, circus performer, and artist.
Intro Award for fiction, Association of Writers & Writing Programs; Henry Miller Award for best literary sex scene, Nerve.com, for Pretty Little Dirty: A Novel.
Pretty Little Dirty: A Novel, Vintage Books (New York, NY), 2006.
L'Enfant Terrible (novel), Pantheon Books (New York, NY), 2008.
Babylon Rolling (novel), Pantheon Books (New York, NY), 2008.
Contributor of short fiction and nonfiction to periodicals, including Globe and Mail, Third Coast, Mid-American Review, and Sonora Review.
Amanda Boyden, a creative writing teacher at the University of New Orleans, published her first novel, Pretty Little Dirty: A Novel, in March, 2006. As a child, Boyden was a gymnast, eventually competing at the national level, and later held jobs as a model and trapeze artist. In college, she gravitated to artists and musicians, and studied art and video production. She attended Washington University in St. Louis and graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute before earning her Master of Fine Arts at the University of New Orleans. Born in northern Minnesota and raised in Chicago and St. Louis, Boyden has lived in many other places since, including Los Angeles, Berkeley, Paris, and Madrid. While in graduate school, she received an Association of Writers & Writing Programs Intro Award for fiction. Her short fiction and nonfiction has appeared in a variety of venues including Globe and Mail, Third Coast, Mid-American Review, Sonora Review, and others. She teaches in the Madrid Summer Seminars program and online for the low-residency M.F.A., and is married to Canadian novelist Joseph Boyden, who also teaches in the M.F.A. program at the University of New Orleans.
Boyden loosely modeled Pretty Little Dirty on a version of the Cupid and Psyche myth, in which Psyche undergoes a series of trials in her quest for love. Boyden's story charts the demise of two innocent girls, set in the punk scene of early 1980s Los Angeles, with drugs and self-scarring as modern trials and dangers. The novel was generally well received among critics. A Publishers Weekly critic observed, "This novel gets the complexity of childhood friendships dead right, as well as their importance in shaping who one becomes." Laura Anne Brooks, writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, called Pretty Little Dirty "a significant contribution to the advancement of the picaresque novel genre" and "a first novel of complex truth and beauty." Furthermore, Artvoice reviewer Jill Froebel found Boyden's first effort to be an "absorbing emotional torrent of a novel."
Some reviewers expressed reservations about the author's story and style. Small Spiral Notebook contributor Cara Seitchek acknowledged that the novel is "full of strong writing" but added that it needed "some judicious editing." Similarly, PopMatters Web site reviewer Raquel Laneri considered the novel light reading material, observing that at times, Boyden's writing "slips into the overwrought and pretentious." However, January Magazine Web site contributor Cherie Thiessen considered the book "exquisitely written[,] with notes of authenticity on every page." Victoria Somers, writing for Forbes, called Pretty Little Dirty "a smart and provocative chronicle."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Artvoice, March 9, 2006, Jill Froebel, review of Pretty Little Dirty: A Novel, p. 36.
Booklist, February 15, 2006, Joanne Wilkinson, review of Pretty Little Dirty, p. 43.
Books, March 26, 2006, review of Pretty Little Dirty, p. 10.
Forbes, May 26, 2006, Victoria Somers, review of Pretty Little Dirty.
Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2005, review of Pretty Little Dirty, p. 1153.
Publishers Weekly, February 6, 2006, review of Pretty Little Dirty, p. 44.
San Francisco Chronicle, March 12, 2006, Laura Anne Brooks, review of Pretty Little Dirty, p. M2.
Small Spiral Notebook, spring, 2006, Cara Seitchek, review of Pretty Little Dirty, p. 44.
BookPleasures.com,http://www.bookpleasures.com/ (March 27, 2006), Lily Azerad-Goldman, review of Pretty Little Dirty.
Bookreporter.com,http://www.bookreporter.com/ (February 19, 2008), Jamie Layton, review of Pretty Little Dirty.
January Magazine,http://www.januarymagazine.com/ (February 3, 2008), Cherie Thiessen, review of Pretty Little Dirty.
Knight News,http://www.qcknightnews.com/ (April 6, 2006), author question and answer.
Lippincott Massie McQuilkin Web site,http://www.lmqlit.com/ (February 19, 2008), author biography.
Montreal Mirror,http://www.montrealmirror.com/ (June 29, 2006), Juliet Waters, review of Pretty Little Dirty.
PopMatters,http://www.popmatters.com/ (February 28, 2006), Raquel Laneri, review of Pretty Little Dirty.
Random House Web site,http://www.randomhouse.com/vintage/ (February 19, 2008), author question and answer on Pretty Little Dirty.
University of New Orleans Web site,http://www.english.uno.edu/ (February 19, 2008), author profile.