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Throw Like A Girl: Stories by Jean Thompson

Throw Like A Girl: Stories

by Jean Thompson

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Every time I read another of Jean Thompson's collections of short stories, I marvel at how she maintains a uniformly excellent level of quality over stories that range across a wide array of subjects, tones, and character types. With most single-author short fiction collections, including most of my favorites, the stories tend to be either spotty in quality -- with some misses mixed in with the hits -- or to suffer from a certain sameness in plot, emotional tone, and characters.

This is never the case with Jean Thompson. To illustrate her range, in this collection we have a story of a smart, angry, misfit teenager in "Brat," a driven and troubled late-fifties suburban father and husband in "The Family Barcus," a bitingly self-aware woman trying to put an adulterous affair behind her in "The Inside Passage," and a group-portrait story of a family struggling on after the mental breakdown of the mother in "Hunger." And in terms of tone, we have the wry humor (reminiscent of Lorrie Moore) of "The Woman Taken in Adultery," the darkness of a girl who finds herself helplessly attached to a criminal psychopath in "The Five Senses," a story about the redemptive strength of love in "Holy Week," and another about love's overpowering irrationality in "Lost."

... plus the proverbial "more." But throughout the varied landscapes of this diverse collection, Thompson's writing is uniformly graceful and artistic, her story-telling is invariably compelling, and her characters always feel real and beautifully drawn. ( )
  KarlBunker | Mar 30, 2014 |
I tried. I failed. I'm lousy at short stories, I guess. I can see that these are really well written and tight. But I just couldn't care enough.
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
It took me forever to get through this. I stalled many times. I did like the last couple of stories.. ( )
  pam.enser | Apr 1, 2013 |
I love happy endings as much as the next girl. Sunshine, rainbows, fluffy white kittens... what's not to like? There is something satisfying in closing a book with a contented sigh, assured that everything has turned out just as it should. The good guys win, justice is served, love is requited, and they all live happily ever after.

I have a secret though. I love unhappy endings more. Well, maybe love isn't the right word. It's not like I enjoy reading about people suffering or dying miserable and alone. It's just that, for me, those stories pack more of an emotional punch. They affect me in a way that no fairy tale ever can. Tragedy, despair, unrealized dreams, missed opportunities, bad things happening to good people - these are the stories that get under my skin and inside my head, the stories I find myself thinking about hours and even days later.

[b:Throw Like A Girl: Stories|480270|Throw Like A Girl Stories|Jean Thompson|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1266565417s/480270.jpg|468666] isn't as extreme in it's bleakness as anything by Flannery O'Connor (whom I love), but rest assured that there are no rainbows or kitties to be found anywhere. Instead you get glimpses into the lives of everyday people, warts and all, behaving as they do when they don't think anyone is watching. We all know that's not always pretty. But it's real, and I loved it.

Favorite stories: The Brat, The Five Senses, It Would Not Make Me Tremble to See Ten Thousand Fall, The Family Barcus, Throw Like a Girl ( )
  cait815 | Apr 1, 2013 |
This book is mediocre. The stories had pretty much the same thing to say about life - how do you go about living life when you have no hope? The last two were the most interesting, with slightly different perspectives. ( )
  echoesofstars | Dec 22, 2008 |
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These stories take aim at the secrets of womanhood, arcing from youth to experience.

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