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Girl Trouble
An Illustrated Memoir

Kerry Cohen; Illustrated by Tyler Cohen

Oct 2016


Trade Paper

$15.95 US
($21.99 CAN)
978-0-9970683-3-7 | 9780997068337
0-9970683-3-7 | 0997068337

48 per carton




Fall 2016

Title Rights: W

Product Safety: Information Not Available

Published by Hawthorne Books

Bestselling memoirist and psychotherapist Kerry Cohen (Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity) explores complicated female friendships in Girl Trouble. Beginning with her relationship with her sister Tyler Cohen, who illustrates the memoir, Kerry examines the many ways female friendships can affect a girl’s life. From bullying and failed friendships to competition and painful break ups, Girl Trouble brings forth a story of how one girl learned to navigate the many difficulties of feminine friendships. Girls and women everywhere will relate to the confusion, the hurt feelings, and they will also learn along with Kerry how to make better choices over the years.

From Girl Trouble, pages 47-50


Everyone at the new school seemed unattainable. I walked with my gaze down, afraid to be seen, afraid to not be seen. I wore the clothes I’d seen on the kids when I did a tour. I was always in costume in this way. I spotted the popular girls right away. They were always so easy to spot – laughing, heads thrown back, walking arm and arm along the hallways. Boys turned their heads as they passed. If anyone was truly unattainable, it was those girls. Amy spotted me one day between buildings. What must I have looked like to her? The new girl, the girl with no place? She honed in on me, matching my pace.

“You’re new?” she asked.

I nodded.

“Did you just move here?”

“I got in trouble at my other school, so my dad made me come here,” I told her.

“In trouble for what?”

“Boys,” I said, and her eyes lit up.

Amy had a Honda Accord, so she drove us into Manhattan every weekend to go to bars. This was when you could flash your fake ID to the smirking bouncer, who simply waved us in. We were girls, after all, and girls were always welcome. Our favorite bar was Dorrian’s Red Hand, which was full of boys in sports jackets with their school crests sewn onto them, their ties loosened, and beautiful girls who wore heels and tight dresses. In the bathroom, we all did cocaine off the tank of the toilets, the bathroom stall locked. We drank sea breezes and sex on the beaches and grapefruit vodkas. Our parents were always gone, in St Martens or Los Angeles, playing golf or wheeling deals. They left us stacks of hundred dollar bills on the granite kitchen counters so we could buy ourselves food. One man, who was 21 and just finishing at Columbia, brought me home to his parents’ brownstone in Greenwich Village. Another boy, 15 and wily, made out with me in the booth in the corner. Every night, Amy and I sat at our table and prayed for boys to find us there.

When we got back to my apartment in New Jersey, it was two or four in the morning. While my father slept, we made Kraft macaroni and cheese and watched Kojak, the only program on that time of night. The next night, we did it all over again. Soon, we went in on school nights. I was always late. The attendance receptionist shook her head when she saw me.

“What is going on, Kerry?” she asked, her brow wrinkled.

I just shrugged.

In Algebra, right after lunch, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I rested my head on my open textbook, waking to drool on the page. The teacher didn’t notice or didn’t care. I was invisible in this way at school. But at Dorrian’s it was different. Both Amy and I liked boys, but slowly it came clear that my want had a different flavor. The times we left Dorrian’s having met no boys, Amy glanced at me on the drive home.

“What’s the matter with you?”

“Nothing,” I said.

“Is it because we aren’t going home with some dudes?”

“Of course not,” I said. I looked out the window so she couldn’t see my face. My wanting was a cold shame.

“It’s not that big of a deal,” she said.

“I know. I didn’t say it was.” Below us, on the bridge, I could see the tiny, constant waves on the surface of the Hudson River.

“You care way too much,” she said, her voice full of judgment.

The next time we went home with guys, I let him push his fingers inside me. “Can I fuck you?” he whispered, and although I said no, his whisper was like those waves rushing through me, building this thing inside me.

It was later that year that I lost my virginity to a kind boy I wasn’t attracted to, but whom I could trust. I didn’t dare tell Amy. But from then on, I slept with every boy who offered. I tried to fill myself with their bodies, with their desire for me, even though they disappeared as soon as they were done.

It wasn’t that much later that other girls in my grade began to notice me. Popular girls, bad girls like me. We spent more and more time together, and I began to ignore Amy’s calls. I was always busy. I always had plans. And, over time, she left me alone so I could be this new girl I had been becoming, different from her.