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Barbara the Slut and Other People by Lauren…

Barbara the Slut and Other People

by Lauren Holmes

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1396122,991 (3.91)17



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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
This is a fantastic collection of short stories, with diverse female characters (and one golden retriever) and situations, but which speak to the universality of the human experience. Topics include slut shaming, coming out as gay, immigration, wealth and privilege, the complexities of relationships, societal/family expectations vs. own ambitions, pet parenting, and sex. This is a collection I will definitely re-read, and would highly recommend! ( )
  BooksForYears | Oct 24, 2017 |
This was a selection by a new book club that I joined and I was a bit skeptical about it from the title. (Never judge a book by its cover, right?) I was expecting heavy sexual themes and I wasn't sure how much I would be able to relate to the stories but it turns out that Lauren Holmes is really good at looking at relationships and identity and human emotions. Some of the stories were a bit bizarre but in my experience short stories seem to be a place for experimentation for authors and often have rather bizarre themes.

I had a few favorites from the books. I really enjoyed the first story 'How Am I Supposed To Talk to You?' which is probably what encouraged me to continue reading the rest of the book. It was essentially a coming out story and a story about estranged family and had a very interesting setting in Mexico and left a lot unsaid about the exact history of the family but the reader still understands because family is complicated.

I really enjoyed Desert Hearts which follows a young woman who has graduated from law school and passed the bar but doesn't really want to work as a lawyer and ends up working at a sex toy shop under the guise of being a lesbian even though she is living with a long time boyfriend. I don't know why I liked it but I think I really felt like it captured that 20-something dissatisfaction and trying to find direction in life and shows that you never know where you'll end up in life.

There were two stories that involved dogs that I really enjoyed. These stories were 'Pearl and the Swiss Guy Fall in Love' and 'My Humans'. I really enjoyed both though I think the former might have been a little better. I liked how it started out with the girl really smitten with the guy and her dog unsure and then the dog likes him more and more as she starts to like him less. 'My Humans' is actually from the perspective of a dog - this is what I mean when I say that short stories are a good platform for experimentation - and it worked better than it should have.

And then the title story. It was really good. It was in turns enraging and empowering and and I think it was a good way to close the collection.

In the end, I think it was a really good collection of stories that reflect all kinds of relationships. The relationship between mother and daughter, boyfriend and girlfriend, friends, classmates, brother and sister. It's not a book strictly about romantic relationships and in fact that relationship often ends up being the least satisfying or important for the protagonist of the character. There is in fact a theme of dissatisfaction throughout the book and imperfection is very apparent and not shied away from.

All in all, worth a read. I'm glad it was a selection for my book club because I probably wouldn't have picked it up otherwise. ( )
  winterdaisies | Dec 29, 2015 |
Barbara the Slut is just one of the numerous realistically nuanced characters you will come across in this collection of short stories by Lauren Holmes. Each story conveys human emotions, interactions, and relationships that I swear I have witnessed in real life, either from observation or from personal experience. Lauren Holmes has a freshly simplistic voice that can draw humor, poignancy, and intimacy out of her parade of characters with envious ease, and she will leave you wanting to hear more details about their life stories. Barbara the Slut and Other People is a light and honest collection that is perfect for summer reading and for celebrating a wonderful literary debut. ( )
  auroragoryalice | Dec 25, 2015 |
The title of the book is one of several well conceived and written stories in the book. I was really impressed with the wide variety of subjects and characters portrayed in the entertaining survey including one told from the perspective of a dog. Whenever I finished one story I couldn't wait to see what Ms. Holmes had in store for me in the next one. Some are sexy, some are thought provoking and just a bit troubling. All in all I eagerly look forward to seeing what this author has up her sleeve in her next book. ( )
  muddyboy | Dec 3, 2015 |
This is a book of short stories, more precisely, vignettes of life. However, the stories were meaningless. They had no overarching purpose in their telling. I read half of them and then decided to spend my time elsewhere. I do not recommend this book. ( )
  kageeh | Nov 6, 2015 |
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A "debut collection about family, friends, and lovers, and the flaws that make us most human"--

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