Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Irish Girls About Town
*** Irish Girls About Town. Chick lit.
- "Soulmates" by Marian Keyes.
Georgia and Joel discover they were born on the same day on the same year in the same city, so they must be soulmates. This story looked at first like it was going to have a point, but it ended up just being a description of some not-very-interesting people.
- "De-Stress" by Joan O'Neill.
When Nigel asks Alex to a restaurant to "talk about their future," she assumes he'll be proposing. Instead, they break up, and Alex finds somebody else.
- "The Twenty-Eighth Day" by Catherine Barry.
This one's a descriptions of everything one wife and mother does and feels on "the twenty-eighth day" of her cycle--that is, the day she has PMT (PMS for us Americans). Other than thinking "only one day of PMS? lucky her!" it was a very cute, and very familiar-feeling story.
- "Thelma, Louise and the Lurve Gods" by Cathy Kelly.
After a breakup, Suzanne and her prettier friend Becky go on an adventurous 21-day trip to the U.S. and find fun and romance. It was an entertaining story, and it was fun to see the U.S. from a foreign perspective.
- "Your Place or Mine?" by Gemma O'Connor.
An Irish family buys a vacation home in France, and they spend a few weeks each summer there. At the end, they come at a different time, and get a surprise. This is another story that went nowhere--just long descriptions of the family's time in their vacation home, and the ending had nothing to do with the rest of the story.
- "A Good Catch" by Mary Ryan.
Tessa is an old maid and too innocent to live. She moves in next door to a prostitute, whose pimp and customers take an interest in Tessa. Things happen to her, but she never learns anything and nothing changes.
- "About that Night" by Sarah Webb.
Kate and Shona are going to Mick's wedding, and apparently Kate had given Mick a lap dance at some point in the past. Which doesn't matter at all, because the entire story is just dialogue between at least a dozen different indistinguishable and uninteresting people.
- "The Cup Runneth Over" by Julie Parsons.
A woman takes a class in art history, becomes obsessed with and then has an affair with the married professor, and golly gee--it turns out he's lied to her. TSTL much?
- "Carissima" by Maeve Binchy.
This story is about the black sheep of the family who's nevertheless the one they turn to when the widowed mother needs help. It's, sadly, very true, but it has a great ending, and is my favorite story of the anthology.
- "The Ring Cycle" by Martina Devlin.
Tara got rid of her husband by divorcing him; her wedding ring turns out to be more difficult to lose. It's a small subject, but just the right size for a short story.
- "The Unlovable Woman" by Annie Sparrow.
Millie believes she's unlovable--that there's someone for everyone except her. Then one day a psychic tells her she's wrong and that love is there if she'll just open her eyes. She looks, but decides he must be nuts. This is more of a character sketch, and while it's heavy on irony, it's also very sad.
- "Moving" by Colette Caddle.
Going through old papers before moving has Sara obsessing about the married lover that she never got over. I liked the ending of this story, but I disliked both Sara and her husband, and so I didn't enjoy how it turned out as much as I might have if I'd cared what happened to them.
- "Playing Games" by Catherine Dunne.
Aunt Delia is demanding and manipulative toward our heroine, and it turns out she has a secret reason why, which is revealed at the end. Not a bad story, but I hated Delia, and I was impatient with the narrator for putting up with her.
- "Girls' Weekend" by Marisa Mackle.
Emma's boyfriend Martin has gone off for a week with the boys, so her girlfriends, tired of her sitting around waiting for him to call, convince her to go off for a girls' weekend.
- "The Union Man" by Tina Reilly.
Laura's husband Peter is all talk and no action--always making promises but never delivering on them--so Laura decides to take matters into her own hand. Cute, but again, very unlikeable characters. I really dislike the concept of manipulating your significant other to get what you want.
- "An Independent Woman" by Morag Prunty.
Bridie was a single mother, but now that her daughter is grown, she's decided to look for companionship in the singles ads. Only to find that the man that seemed so perfect in his ad was... *gasp*... Indian. She learns to be marginally less racist at the end, but she was really unlikeable, and he was preternaturally patient with her racism.
I'm not sure if my problems with this anthology are due to cultural styles--if Irish stories are typically like this--or if it's just short stories in general, which I tend to dislike. Far too many of the stories were just slices of life with no point to them, and, worse, none of the characters grew, changed, or learned anything. Without plot or character development, there really wasn't anything to like.
Categories: Books, 3stars, ChickLit
Marg, that's nice to know--the reviews on Amazon were almost uniformly positive, so I was wondering what I was missing.
Links to this post: