FORMER VIRGIN by Cris Mazza

FORMER VIRGIN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A third collection from the ``postfeminist'' author whose previous works (Dog People, 1997, etc.) have established her as one of the quirkier voices on the scene today. As an editor of the Chick-Lit anthologies, Mazza has demonstrated great sensitivity to women's voices and women's cares, and these elements are certainly not overlooked here. Some of the pieces, like ``The Cram-It-In Method'' (which portrays a rather unworldly girl's preparations for her wedding to an even callower boy), examine feminine obsessions with men and families in tones that would be perfectly at home in Seventeen. Others, like ``The Career,'' which describes in a frank, harsh tone a naive teenager's extended affair with a brutish married man, will probably end up in one of Andrea Dworkin's footnotes somewhere along the line. ``The Something Bad'' follows a ``coupla-white-chicks-talking'' mode, in which three friends spend an afternoon ranting at each other about how their husbands have all turned out to be child molesters, and when will their boyfriends ever leave their wives, anyhow? Some of the works read more like fragments than stories: ``Dog & Girlfriend'' is the interior monologue of a girl dosing herself for a yeast infection she believes that she caught by sleeping with her best friend's father, while ``Laying Off the Secretary'' reads like the thought balloons for a comic strip on sexual harassment. The more ambitious stories work better: ``Adrenalin'' is an extraordinarily subtle portrait of how adultery saves the marriage of an unhappy young couple, and ``Copterport on Cowell's Mountain'' manages to make something out of the hopelessly overdone patient- and-shrink-scenario. A very mixed bag, but with some nice bits buried down deep. Mazza's talent can be striking when she chooses to exercise it.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 1-57366-033-7
Page count: 145pp
Publisher: FC2/Northwestern Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1997




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