Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Irish Girls About Town: Anthology of Short Stories

Irish Girls About Town (2002)
Anthology of Short Stories, 310 pages
This edition: Simon & Schuster, Inc. for Barnes & Noble (2006)

As with the U.K. and Irish edition, Barnardo's and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul will benefit from the sale of this edition of Irish Girls About Town.

Another review that has been languishing on my desk since October. Ay yi yi.

No sooner did I recuperate from the Read-A-Thon, than I began preparing, and then became immersed in, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). As a first time participant, I had no idea what I was getting myself into - and yes, that would be par for the course.

I had decided early in the marathon, that short stories were the way to go, and so I read Interpreter of Maladies , this book, and a little bit of The Book of Lost Things.

I flew through this book of 15 stories, all written by Irish women. The theme throughout is that of relationships, ranging from familial to marriage, and even though there is a single theme, there are enough variations of it to make it easy to read and just as easy to enjoy.

My personal favorites were "Soulmates" by Marian Keyes, "The Twenty-Eighth Day" by Catherine Barry, and "Thelma, Louise and the Lurve Gods" by Cathy Kelly. Don't get me wrong though, there is not a bad story in the bunch, it's just that I felt compelled to list the ones that stick out in my mind the most.

"Soulmates" is an interesting tale about two 'perfect' people fated to meet and be together because they are, yes, soulmates. Everything is just right when it comes to these two: their meeting, their courtship, and subsequent marriage. But when trouble looms on the horizon, their friends harbor a secret hope that all will unravel, and do so badly. I will leave it for you to read the story to find out what happens.

"The Twenty-Eighth Day" is for anyone who has suffered through PMS – and I just don't mean the woman:
I am being tormented and tortured by some unknown force I cannot touch or feel. It's like somebody else has taken over my body, mind, and soul. There is a demon spirit inside me, telling me to do inappropriate things, prompting me to say hurtful, offensive words, urging me to be the meanest b---- that ever walked the earth.
"Thelma, Louise and the Lurve Gods" initially appears to be a story about a woman who needs a vacation from her boring life, to experience something more exciting than "not having a Chinese takeaway on Friday nights but…shock, horror…having pizza instead." No sooner does the vacation begin than a snag threatens to destroy all her hopes. However she eventually learns that the trip she is on is one of self-discovery, for as she notes, "Although my own world had shifted on its axis after the holiday, in the office nothing had changed." Things around her remained the same, it was she who had changed - who needed to change - so she could see those things, and herself, more clearly.

I am giving this book a 5 star rating as per my system that states a book earns this because I could not put it down. And I couldn't.

1 comment:

Tea said...

I love Maeve Binchy. I haven't read many of her short stories.