Wild Girls by Erica Abeel '69GSAS

Alumni Artist

Wild Girls by Erica Abeel '69GSAS


Wild Girls is a fun and empowering story written by Erica Abeel ‘69GSAS. The story follows three friends, Julia, Audrey, and Brett, who meet at the liberal Foxleigh College in the 1950s. Wanting to avoid the fate of many of their classmates - marrying well and having babies, they blaze their own path in love and work through the art and literary scenes of New York and Paris. They brave the stifling conventions of the age, in anticipation of the social thaw that would arrive ten years later. These “wild girls” pay heavy penalties for living against the grain, but, over the years, they rebound and re-set their course, drawing strength from their friendship. The novel follows them from an elite northeastern college, to Paris with Allen Ginsberg, to New York’s avant-garde scene in the early sixties, to a mansion in Newport, to the slopes of Zermatt, to Long Island’s Gold Coast, as it celebrates the nimbleness and vitality of women who defied an entire culture to forge their own journey.

This story is unique, primarily in its subject matter of bold females striving to make their mark in the 50s. Fans of Beats in Paris, Allen Ginsberg (when he was still sleeping with girls), and a Yoko Ono-based will revel in this rebellious tale. Marginalized by history, many women who came of age in the 50s remain a lost, voiceless generation. Lena Dunham's "Girls," only fifty years earlier, the "wild girls" of the novel refuse the destiny on tap for them -- they're the original badasses, the real nasty women a decade and more ahead of their time. Despite their feistiness, these women can't entirely escape the conformism, prudishness, and homophobia that warped the period. WILD GIRLS is above all funny, skewering the period's foibles in a sardonic voice.

More importantly, Erica Abeel IS a 'Wild Girl'--she lived the life, these are her friends, and this is an insider's peek into that world."—Kevin Kwan, author of  Crazy Rich Asians. Abeel is a college professor, former dancer, journalist and film critic, has published 5 books, including the novel Women Like Us, which was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection. Living in New York City and based in New York and Long Island, Abeel loves to write about warrior women who lived against the grain before the upheavals of the 60s.

About Erica Abeel ‘69GSAS

Erica Abeel, a former dancer, is a college professor and journalist. As a film critic she has contributed to Indiewire, Film Journal, and Huffington Post. Erica has published 5 books, including the novel Women Like Us, which was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection.

Based in New York City and Long Island, she loves to write about feisty women of the 50s who defied their repressive period to chart their own course before the upheavals of the 60s. Her new novel Wild Girls was featured in Oprah magazine’s January 2017 “10 Titles to Pick Up Now,” and touted as a “libidinous period novel [that] follows three budding feminists through an elite women’s college, the New York art scene, and Allen Ginsberg’s bed, as they redefine womanhood for themselves and future generations.”

Erica holds a B.A. from the Sorbonne, University Paris IV and a Ph.D. from Columbia University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.