MAYBE TODAY

At their best, these poems offer engagingly sardonic and witty observations

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

A debut volume of poetry takes a comic view of contemporary life with a sometimes-serious edge.

In his collection, which features some poems that were previously published in literary journals, Dickson often skewers the jargon-y language of advertising, apps, and marketing. “Dear Citibank,” for example, is a sardonic prose-poem note of thanks for the company’s many so-called “Last Chance!” credit-card offers: “Five last chances! If only we all had such patience in our human intercourse. / But wait, there’s more! / When my sixth last chance arrived this morning, I could hardly contain myself. Is there no limit to your indulgence?” The speaker’s hyperbolically polite appreciation hilariously exposes the bank’s naked attempts at manipulation. In other pieces, the poet also displays a keen ear for the rhythms of speech. Dickson’s humorous but real exasperation with himself is plain in “Yet Another If-I-Had-Life-To-Do-All-Over-Again Poem”: “Speaking of which, this time I will not let Lucinda Gluck go, / just because I thought her ultimatum was ‘too soon.’ / Too soon for what, Barry? Too soon to be loved? / … / Clearly it wasn’t too soon to be an asshole.” The piece ends with a soberer yet not didactic reflection on taking risks. Not all the verses are comic. The title poem, for example, considers hate crimes: “Maybe today will be the day / no one is dragged behind a truck / because he’s black / or kicked to death because he’s gay.” Perhaps expecting things to be different is a form of insanity, asserts the poet, but “Maybe it / defines optimism.” Maybe it does, but is hope an especially fruitful response to tragedy? The poem could grapple more deeply with the darkness of its subject instead of rushing toward a think-positive conclusion.

At their best, these poems offer engagingly sardonic and witty observations

Pub Date: March 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62549-374-3

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Cherry Grove Collections

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2021

THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 119


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

IT STARTS WITH US

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 119


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

Close Quickview