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The Kissing List by Stephanie Reents
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The Kissing List

by Stephanie Reents

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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
This collection of short stories reminded me a lot of Girls in White Dresses: a loosely connected group of college friends figure things out post-graduation. There are some interesting characters and the writing is lovely, but the collection doesn't fit well together as a whole and is ultimately pretty forgettable. ( )
  apurdie | Dec 9, 2013 |
Told in an anecdotal, non-linear style, which I quite like.

Some chapters were more connected and memorable than others, but overall I quite enjoyed it. ( )
  cantinera | Apr 1, 2013 |
While there were elements of this book I liked, I didn't end up liking the product as much as I thought I would. The book is comprised of a series of short stories with connected characters. The stories vary in quality and tone. The first one is absolutely ridiculous. Thankfully, they do get better. Still, this seems like a book that doesn't know what it wants to be. The presentation and several of the stories suggest that this is supposed to be chick lit, but the themes and experiences of the characters are better suited to literary fiction. I think that if this author would focus her attentions on literary fiction and not try to stuff her work into a chick-lit box that it would be more successful. ( )
  lahochstetler | Feb 9, 2013 |
These interconnected stories, centered around American friends who met Oxford University, then returned to New York to figure out adulthood, hit very close to home for me. I found myself underling passage after passage that I related to completely. While some stories were stronger than others, this is a very good collection for those of us still navigating some of life's big decisions (careers, marriage, etc.). Or as it was recommended to me, these are "smart girl stories." ( )
  kisigler | Nov 28, 2012 |
The basics: The Kissing List is the debut short story collection by Stephanie Reents. Some of the stories are linked.

My thoughts: The first story in the collection "Kissing," sets the stage for the rest of the book. Reents and the female narrators of her stories are young, brazen, fun and wise: "The funny thing about being in your early twenties is that it's a lot like being any other age, except you don't know it." I have a notoriously hard time reviewing short story collections as a whole, and The Kissing List is perhaps the hardest type to review because its stories aren't as linked as I'd hoped and aren't all centered around a common place or theme. They're a schizophrenic group, and while I adored some, there were some I didn't like at all and many fell somewhere between those two extremes.

What is present across all the stories is the quality of Reents' writing. When I didn't like stories, it was sometimes due to plot and sometimes due to character(s). Still, I admire Reents for taking some bold chances. They didn't always work for me, but they were adventurousness in scope, narrative and theme, and I like those traits, particularly in young writers. Reents isn't afraid of taking chances, and I'll eagerly await whatever Reents writes next.

Favorite passage: "If you think too hard about the grammar of talking, it can fill you with despair."

The verdict: While a few stories stood out in this collection, too many fell flat for me. Despite the unevenness of this collection, it made me a fan of Stephanie Reents, and I'll be eagerly awaiting what she writes next. ( )
  nomadreader | Nov 24, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307951820, Hardcover)

An inventive debut that recalls the imagination of Aimee Bender and the sardonic wit of Lorrie Moore.

The interlocking stories in The Kissing List feature an unforgettable group of young women – Sylvie, Anna, Frances, Maureen – as their lives connect, first during a year abroad at Oxford, then later as they move to New York on the cusp of adulthood. We follow each of them as they navigate the treachery of first dates, temp jobs and roommates, failed relationships and unexpected affairs – all the things that make their lives seem full of possibility, but also rife with potential disappointment.

Shot through with laugh-out-loud lines, yet still wrenchingly emotional and resonant, The Kissing List is a book about women who bravely defy expectations and take outrageous chances in the face of a life that might turn out to be anything less than extraordinary.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:02 -0400)

"A bold, inventive, and slyly witty work of debut fiction about life and love in your twenties When Sylvie moves to New York at the age of twenty-three, all she can think about is kissing. Who is kissing whom, she wonders, and are they doing more than kissing, and when she meets the right guy, is a kiss just a kiss, or could it lead to something more? As Sylvie and her friends navigate the treacherous world of their twenties, more men are added to their kissing lists - the porn star, the pseudo-intellectual, the creepy boss, the animal rights activist. But which kiss will be the one to ultimately change their lives? With sardonic humor and unexpected emotional force, THE KISSING LIST follows a group of women who take outrageous chances in life and love, and merrily defy the expectations of parents and friends - perfectly capturing that harrowing and thrilling decade in life when just about anything seems possible"--… (more)

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