Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Review: "What Could Be Said About Pedris Road" by Ru Freeman

Ru Freeman's look into the mind and actions of a child dealing with sexual abuse in "What Could be Said About Pedris Road" is remarkable in the way it weaves into and out of the subconscious mind of a little girl who, from the outset, appears to be speaking to a counselor. The narration is rich in detail and the dialogue used to convey the voice of the main character is very well done.

My reaction to this piece was to want to spend more time talking to my children.  This story leaves the reader worried about all of the things children don't say...what the not saying of those things means for us all.  If you haven't read Ru Freeman, do...sentences like this one make it worth the time:

"The neighbor had once screamed her way into their bathroom with a gagging daughter and her mother had placed her mouth of the child's nose and mouth and sucked out wads of phlegm that she spat on the floor, large gelatinous yellow pods of mucous, and brought her back to life.  She had a birthday party when she was five and won a blue watering can in a school race when she came second and she had to yell the correct pronunciation of her name into the microphone next to the nuns."

For more, a link to the story online is here:


Monday, August 3, 2015

Review: "Black and White" by Lidia Yuknavitch

"I am speaking precisely the body of it."

From this sensual piece by Yuknavitch, the statement says it all.  A woman explores her own sexuality with another woman, in front of a camera, and finds she is not afraid of it.  The straightforward manner in which the narrator, in the first person, makes her case is startling perhaps but quite breathtaking.

It's not porn you are reading when you read this story, the narrator warns, or rather cautions. There is nothing dramatized about it. There's no music, no high heels or red lipstick.  It quietly slips along, scene by scene, movement by movement, an accounting of a moment fixed in time both by the narrator's memory and by the photographs taken by her lover.

Yuknavitch definitely speaks the body of it in this story.  Endlessly.

Here's a link to the story online for your reading pleasure:


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Review: "Where Will You Go When Your Skin Cannot Contain You?" by William Gay

A meth head struggles with managing the disappointments in his life, some caused by the drug use, some that preceded it.  There are the places in town where he is no longer welcome.  There are his run ins with law enforcement.  Finally, there's his ex-girlfriend who, after being abused by her new boyfriend, winds up dead, shot in the face at close range, only to have a closed casket funeral, just one more way that in a sick turn of events, Jeepster, the main character, is shielded from the damage precipitated by his choices.

This story is one rich in images you can't soon forget:

"rat tunneling in secret trespass through the upholstery"

"the click of forks and knives, the quickstep rubber-soled waitresses sliding china across Formica"

"a black spotted salamander crouched on its delicate rot feet and watched him with eyes like bits of obsidian"

This one gets a definite HELL YEAH from me on the recommendation front.  So much is right about the writing for so much to be wrong about its detailed predicaments.

Here's a link to the short story online for your reading pleasure:


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Review: "Transit Bed" by Italo Calvino

From the Postwar Stories section of his collection titled DIFFICULT LOVES, Italo Calvino gives us the story "Transit Bed," a look into the comings and goings of men from every class through the bed of Armanda, a voluptuous woman whose husband nightly relinquishes his post for the sake of her "work."

Calvino paints a vivid picture of the lengths to which one married couple will go to stay safe in the aftermath of war.  There is no emotion.  There is only necessity.  The writing matches this theme, and I like how sparse but to the point Calvino keeps the narrative.  

This one gets a 3 out of 5 for me...a lovely start to this reading project.

Short Storying it Up!

It's time to revisit the short story a day project I started in 2012--READ ONE, REVIEW ONE


To start things off, the first week will go a little something like this:

August 1:  "Transit Bed" by Italo Calvino

August 2:  "Where Will You Go When Your Skin Cannot Contain You?" by William Gay

August 3: "Black and White" by Lidia Yuknavitch

August 4:  "What Could Be Said About Pedris Road" by Ru Freeman

August 5:  "The Little Knife" by Michael Chabon

August 6:  "The Case for Psychic Distance" by Jennifer Hanno

August 7: "Neighbours" by Tim Winton

Monday, April 6, 2015

2015 is here...let's READ!!

2015 Reading--off to a decent start
1. Damage--Josephine Hart
2. For the Time Being-- Annie Dillard
3. All the Light We Cannot See-Anthony Doerr 
4. The Comfort of Strangers- Ian McEwan
5. The Alchemist- Paolo Coelho
6. Mangos, Bananas, and Coconuts- Himilce Novas

7. The Boys of the Dark-Robin Gaby Fisher
(currently reading-SOOO very good, a great creative non-fiction look at the tragedy that was the Arthur C. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna!)