BARBARA THE SLUT by Lauren Holmes
Kirkus Star

BARBARA THE SLUT

And Other People
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

This sharp, sensitive debut story collection introduces us to a parade of people (and one dog) grasping their ways through complex relationships with family, friends, lovers, strangers, and, of course, themselves.

Don’t let the title put you off. Holmes’ unwaveringly perceptive debut collection of short stories about young people (mostly women and girls but also the occasional man and beast) at various stages of their early lives—middle school, high school, college, and beyond—is eminently sympathetic, insightful, and revealing, never regarding its characters with ridicule or derision, always with respect and compassion. The general narrative outlines may sound familiar—a young girl tries to find friends and fit in at a new school, a college grad parses her plans and loyalties as she seeks her place in the world—but the details bring dimension and color, making the characters and their stories pop. Lala, the protagonist of “How Am I Supposed to Talk to You?” travels from California to Mexico in hopes of bridging the gulf that separates her from a mother who serially disappoints her. In “Weekend with Beth, Kelly, Muscle, and Pammy,” the only story told from a guy’s perspective, a feckless, clueless, but not entirely unsympathetic dude is paid a visit by an old college roommate and wonders why, despite his persistent loneliness, he does not want to sleep with her. The title character in “Barbara the Slut,” meanwhile, is, yes, a victim of bullying but also a young woman dedicated to her autistic brother and actively shaping her own destiny, deciding whom to sleep with and how often before she decamps for her freshman year at Princeton. The people limned here are people we know. They may even be the people we are.

A first-rate first collection from a young writer you’ll want to hear more from.

Pub Date: Aug. 4th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-59463-378-2
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Riverhead
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2015




10 QUICK READS:

FictionBARBARA THE SLUT by Lauren Holmes
by Lauren Holmes
FictionACT OF GOD by Jill Ciment
by Jill Ciment
NonfictionALFRED HITCHCOCK by Michael Wood
by Michael Wood
FictionTHE DIVER'S CLOTHES LIE EMPTY by Vendela Vida
by Vendela Vida

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

FictionYOU ARE HAVING A GOOD TIME by Amie Barrodale
by Amie Barrodale
FictionTHE BED MOVED by Rebecca Schiff
by Rebecca Schiff
FictionRICH AND PRETTY by Rumaan Alam
by Rumaan Alam