Seigel, Andrea 1979-
Seigel, Andrea 1979-
PERSONAL: Born October 28, 1979, in Anaheim, CA. Education: Graduated from Brown University; Bennington College, M.F.A., 2007.
AWARDS, HONORS: Top Ten Debut Novels, Amazon.com, 2004, Booklist Best Adult Books for Young Adults citation, 2005, both for Like the Red Panda.
Like the Red Panda (novel), Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2004.
To Feel Stuff (novel), Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2006.
ADAPTATIONS: Like the Red Panda has been optioned for film by Reason Pictures.
SIDELIGHTS: Andrea Seigel’s debut novel Like the Red Panda tells the story of a seventeen-year-old girl named Stella Parrish, whose life has made her cynical beyond her years. Stella’s parents both died from drug overdoses six years before, leaving her in the hands of confused foster parents. Saddled with a soured view of life and a skeptical outlook, she “offers a Holdenesque view of her upper-middle-class Orange County, Calif., town and all its hypocrisy,” stated a Publishers Weekly contributor, “the stupidities faced in classrooms and the absurdity of senior year rituals.” “Two weeks before graduation, she decides to kill herself—but first, she explains her decision in a journal,” wrote Lori Gottlieb in People. Stella’s tale, explained Prudence Peiffer in her Library Journal review, demonstrates that she is an “inquisitive, funny, alienated young woman who is unsure whether a future at Princeton... or life itself means anything.” But Stella, as Seigel depicts her, is a more complicated character than the disaffected outsider she pretends to be. “At heart,” declared Salon.com contributor Christopher Farah, “she’s an idealist, someone who still cares very deeply for the people in her life, even those who’ve treated her badly. Like a recovering Catholic, she wants to believe there’s a purpose for everything, an underlying goodness that drives life.”
Seigel followed Like the Red Panda with To Feel Stuff, a very different type of novel. The story centers on Brown University student Elodie Harrington, who suffers from such a variety of diseases (ranging from tuberculosis to epileptic-like seizures) that she moves into the campus infirmary in an attempt to take back her health. “The fever of love joins her physical afflictions,” Jennifer Mattson wrote in Booklist, “when Chester [Hunter III, a fellow student, ] moves into the ward, his sense of invincibility [is] as shattered as his crowbar-smashed kneecaps.” Elodie is also the subject of the fascinated scrutiny of her doctor, Mark Kirschling, who believes the many diseases that afflict her may be a sign of emerging psychic powers. Kirschling’s belief is reinforced when Elodie begins to see apparitions in the infirmary itself. “Does this mean the girl is out of her mind,” asked a Publishers Weekly reviewer, “or could she actually be experiencing a kind of ‘psychic puberty,’ or physical awakening to her extraordinary abilities?” The author, another Publishers Weekly contributor explained, has “crafted believable characters to anchor the fantastical circumstances, and [the book is] a testament to her ability to captivate.” “What makes ‘To Feel Stuff’ a strong read,” wrote Seattle Times contributor Betsy Aoki, “is the vivid precision with which 26-year-old Seigel... shapes her characters through their explanations of how they are feeling.” “Readers under 25,” Angie Kritenbrink declared in the Seattle Weekly, “will enjoy Stuff’s quirky characters, exploration of the paranormal, PG-13 sex scenes, [and] maybe even Andrea Seigel’s ambitious narrative technique of using three different first-person points of view.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES
Booklist, January 1, 2004, Jennifer Mattson, review of Like the Red Panda, p. 828; May 1, 2006, Jennifer Mattson, review of To Feel Stuff, p. 73.
Entertainment Weekly, July 28, 2006, Hannah Tucker, review of To Feel Stuff, p. 71.
Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2006, review of To Feel Stuff, p. 542.
Library Journal, February 1, 2004, Prudence Peiffer, review of Like the Red Panda, p. 125; May 15, 2006, Prudence Peiffer, review of To Feel Stuff, p. 91.
People, April 12, 2004, Lori Gottlieb, review of Like the Red Panda, p. 63.
Publishers Weekly, March 22, 2004, review of Like the Red Panda, p. 61; April 3, 2006, review of To Feel Stuff, p. 34; April 3, 2006, review of To Feel Stuff, p. 34 (second review).
Seattle Times, August 25, 2006, Betsy Aoki, “Love, Physical and Metaphysical, in the College Infirmary.”
Seattle Weekly, August 30, 2006, Angie Kritenbrink, review of To Feel Stuff.
Absolute Write, http://www.AbsoluteWrite.com/ (January 28, 2007), Amy Brozio-Andrews, interview with Andrea Seigel.
Andrea Seigel Web site, http://www.andreaseigel.com (January 28, 2007), author biography.
Eugene Weekly, http://www.eugeneweekly.com/ (January 28, 2007), Suzi Steffen, “The Absurdities of Love.”
Luke Ford.com, http://www.lukeford.net/ (January 28, 2007), author interview.
Salon.com, http://www.salon.com/ (January 28, 2007), Christopher Farah, review of Like the Red Panda.