Hey all! I’m back with another book review – this one a collection of short stories by Curtis Sittenfeld, who wrote Eligible (a retelling of Pride and Prejudice) and Prep. I received an e-galley from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This collection focuses on women who are faced with change and what that looks like in an era of cell phones, Facebook and high expectations. We see married women, career women, teens leaving home, mothers and divorcées, all questioning and re-examine the world.
In one story, Gender Studies, a woman is traveling for work, who has been recently betrayed by a cheating husband and is presented a chance for a brief romance. This story explores what it’s like when you have been with one person for a long time with what you think is compatibility and have to move on, what is dating like? How are cues presented and read?
In two stories, women are the ones reaching out to men who they thought they knew but in reality had created full sale fantasies and imaginings onto a shell of the person they desired. In The world has many butterflies, the married mother is tempted by another in the usual round of carpools, sporting events and school trips. When she hears of his pending divorce, she sees a chance for a change, for someone who understands her sense of humor and way of seeing the world. In the story Do-over, two people who haven’t seen each other since high school meet up for dinner. While of course confessions are told, the best part of the story isn’t the dinner but the phone call later – one that is honest and hurtful and real.
In so many instances, we create a fictionalization of our lives, bodies and thoughts. We are encouraged by others, by what we are taught in school and through interactions to believe certain things of others and of ourselves. In a very down to earth way, all these stories explore what happens when we are confronted with a new image of ourselves or others.
I think would be great for those reading or have read The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer.