THE PORNO GIRL by Merin Wexler

THE PORNO GIRL

and Other Stories
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Observant debut stories about women make up for in style what they don’t achieve in range of subject.

Another batch of tales about women living, if not in New York, then somewhere on the East Coast under that city’s long shadow, might not, at first blush, seem the thing that literature has been crying out for. And indeed it isn’t. Here, though, the quite talented Wexler more than makes up for her somewhat hackneyed settings with the freshness of her language. The title story is the brashly hilarious telling of a youngish mother who, looking for ways to keep herself sane during the long days of walking around with a child strapped to her chest, starts inexplicably visiting a local porn shop. Less successful is “The Nanny Trap,” essentially a long interior rant by a ridiculously spoiled working mother who hates her nanny for her (apparently infuriating) competence. In “What Martha Wanted,” Wexler presents a limpid portrait of the licentious goings-on at a Massachusetts mansion, while “Helen of Alexandria” is the story of a teacher at a private girls’ school and her ultimate humiliation at the hands of her monied charges. Few writers can present such powerful emotions in Wexler’s clean, direct manner. But at the same time, unfortunately, her take on life, at least for now, is so limited that the working classes are seen almost uniformly as freakish, crude. and overweight, or simply pathetic. In the end, the project suffers from too little knowledge of the world beyond the hallowed halls of privilege.

Wondrously written, but hobbled by the sort of tunnel vision that leads to thoughts of class war.

Pub Date: June 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-312-31057-9
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2003