The First Hurt: Stories

by Rachel Sherman | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1890447412 Global Overview for this book
Registered by msjoanna of Columbia, Missouri USA on 9/7/2007
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by msjoanna from Columbia, Missouri USA on Friday, September 07, 2007
This copy is autographed by the author.
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From Publishers Weekly
In a highly promising debut collection of stories, Sherman writes of alienated lower-end white suburbia in a manner that shifts perspectives with an effortlessness that mitigates her characters' sad stuckness. In the opener, "The Reaper," Beth's assignment for a high school psych class—correspond with a soldier stationed abroad—yields not only the expected ("SEND ME A PICTURE OF YOUR NAKED TITS," he writes, claiming to be possessed by the title figure), but an ending reasserts her fantasies of her future with a starkly intimate tenderness. In the tale that follows, an already bad marriage is pushed to the breaking point by having children (twins with birth or genetic defects—it's deliberately left unsaid), by the hot neighbor girl (with intentionally stereotyped hot black boyfriend) and by other facts of life in a nascent exurb; there, everyone's longings feel as shoddily and provisionally housed as the denizens themselves. By the time one reaches the last story, the weirdly anachronistic, cross-cultural sex-with-spinster tale, "Jewish Hair," one has given up any resistance to Sherman's grotesques and settled all the way in to a very uncomfortable place.

Journal Entry 2 by msjoanna at Columbia, Missouri USA on Monday, June 10, 2019
I wish I could remember where I got this book or why or anything about who recommended it. My copy is autographed by the author, but I have no memory of meeting her or attending a reading. This book has been sitting on my shelf unread for at least 12 years (yikes! how is that possible?).

I loved these stories. The characters are real. They're vivid. And a little crazy. But Sherman captures something here about the way that people lust after inappropriate partners (e.g., the schoolgirl's crush on her teacher, the odd girl's strange friendship with a lacrosse player, the au pair). In some ways, her writing reminds me of [author:Mary Gaitskill|11214] -- the straightforward, grimy, sexy-but-not examination of female sexuality.

I read the whole collection over one weekend. Highly recommended.

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