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Single, Carefree, Mellow: Stories by…
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Single, Carefree, Mellow: Stories

by Katherine Heiny

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The stories were all engaging even though the characters all made my skin crawl. Depressing. ( )
  jill1121 | Jun 1, 2019 |
The stories in this collection are well written. I was unsure about the ones written in second-person, an odd narrative voice uncommon in fiction, but one that certainly puts the reader in the character's shoes, more like being the dude in Quantum Leap who becomes different people each episode, all of a sudden. But, I also found that I felt like I was reading a book about a totally different species, aliens who think so differently and who have such different expectations and standards that I could not really relate for very long to any of them. Most of the main characters find themselves in sexual relationships that make one wonder if their species as a whole is one that cannot resist engaging their sexual organs whenever they get within a few feet of a potential partner. If I related more to them otherwise, this sort of mindless sexual liberation would not have been an issue, just a theme for the stories, but it seemed for me to be a metaphor for the mindlessness with which these characters go about all the rest of their lives, too. I suppose there are people around me, even people I know, who relate perfectly to the characters in this book, and that is a fascinating and somewhat disturbing thought. In any case, while I liked this book enough to recommend it to some people, it is not a favorite.
I won my copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway. ( )
  JBarringer | Dec 30, 2017 |
I received this book as part of the goodreads first read giveaway. I wasn't sure what to expect because I don't normally read short stories. I'd give this book 3.5-4 because some of the stories stuck with me and left me with a better feeling than others. I enjoyed that there was one character, Maya, that was revisited several times. I think that might say that I am more of a novel reader than a short story fan. Some of the stories ended with me still wanting more. ( )
  Michelle.Jaffe | Jul 1, 2017 |
Short stories, all from a female perspective and almost entirely featuring women having an affair, thinking of having an affair or ending an affair. (There was one about an eight-year old's birthday party too). Beautifully written and amusing for the most part, although some were rather unpleasant. I disliked "Thoughts of a Bridesmaid" and my favourite was "Blue Heron Bridge" with the Presbyterian minister houseguest. ( )
  pgchuis | Jun 25, 2017 |
This collection of short stories started off strongly, and I found myself drawn into the web Heiny creates for her characters. The majority of her stories feature women and after the first couple ended, I found myself disappointed that we wouldn't get to know more about the characters. (There is one group of characters that she re-visits throughout a couple of stories in the collection, which does help sate your curiosity a bit.)

Because I devoured this book so quickly - over less than two days - I was a bit fatigued by the end. Most of the stories feature adultery in some form or another, and frankly, that got a bit old in the end. That would really be my only issue with the story set. By the end, you're thinking "really? again!" and wondering if these women have anything else to do to occupy their time.

Otherwise, this collection of stories is vibrant and poignant and at times, made me laugh out loud. I found myself tagging pages where lines were just so hilarious, I wanted to jot them down for safe-keeping: it's rare when that happens. And again, even though the stories were brilliant little nuggets, so many of the characters were so intriguing, I found myself wishing I could read more about them. I just wish they had a little more to do than cheat on each other all the time. ( )
  justacatandabook | Mar 9, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385353634, Hardcover)

Single, Carefree, Mellow is that rare and wonderful thing: a debut that is superbly accomplished, endlessly entertaining, and laugh-out-loud funny.
 
Maya is in love with both her boyfriend and her boss. Sadie’s lover calls her as he drives to meet his wife at marriage counseling. Gwen pines for her roommate, a man who will hold her hand but then tells her that her palm is sweaty. And Sasha agrees to have a drink with her married lover’s wife and then immediately regrets it. These are the women of Single, Carefree, Mellow, and in these eleven sublime stories they are grappling with unwelcome houseguests, disastrous birthday parties, needy but loyal friends, and all manner of love, secrets, and betrayal.
 
In “Cranberry Relish” Josie’s ex—a man she met on Facebook—has a new girlfriend he found on Twitter. In “Blue Heron Bridge” Nina is more worried that the Presbyterian minister living in her garage will hear her kids swearing than about his finding out that she’s sleeping with her running partner. And in “The Rhett Butlers” a teenager loses her virginity to her history teacher and then outgrows him.
 
In snappy, glittering prose that is both utterly hilarious and achingly poignant, Katherine Heiny chronicles the ways in which we are unfaithful to each other, both willfully and unwittingly. Maya, who appears in the title story and again in various states of love, forms the spine of this linked collection, and shows us through her moments of pleasure, loss, deceit, and kindness just how fickle the human heart can be.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:22 -0400)

Throughout these 11 stories, "Heiny chronicles the ways in which we are unfaithful to each other, both willfully and unwittingly. Maya, who appears in the title story and again in various states of love, forms the spine of this linked collection, and shows us through her moments of pleasure, loss, deceit, and kindness just how fickle the human heart can be"--Dust jacket flap.… (more)

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