Lately I've been trying new genres on for size in an attempt to broaden my book-reading horizons. One that I've been exploring has been short stories- bite-sized glimpses into the world of another. I was so excited to read Holly Goddard Jones' new book of short stories because I was able to read a preview back in the summer. The story I previewed, Life Expectancy, was about a high school student who gets pregnant by her basketball coach, and was a good indication of what I could expect from the rest of this book.
The stories in Girl Trouble take place in the fictional small town of Roma, Kentucky and they cover a wide range of topics from murder and rape to finding love after a spouse dies. There are stories about a parents' love for a child, stories about moving on and many stories about deep loss. Parts focuses on the loss that a mother feels after her child is raped and brutally murdered. Proof of God is the story of this girl's accused murdered, and the facts of what happened in the moments leading up to this horrible crime. An Upright Man is the story of two friends who grow apart after one life-changing event rocks both of their worlds. My favourite story was Retrospective, the story of an older woman reflecting on events of her past and how things could have been different for her. One line in particular I loved:
"There were moments no one told you about in a marriage: how proximity and time eventually added up to meanness. How two decent people could eventually bring out the worst in each other, simply because the odds were in favour of it." (Page 241)
I love this line because it dives straight for the truth of the matter. This truth is representative of this book in general. There are hard truths and unpleasantness throughout, because this is the stuff that we deal with on a daily basis. Life is not always easy, and sometimes there are hard decisions to be made. These decisions, if the right ones are not made, can change life as you know it forever.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book of short stories. The subject matter was not always pleasant, but it was always necessary. Holly Goddard Jones writes so that the reader is immersed in the story from the beginning, and sad to see it end. Thank-you to Deanna at HarperCollins Canada for this review copy. If you'd like to read a little of the book you can browse inside of it here.