Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

November 2, 2017
Intorilex, Book Review, Difficult Women, Roxane Gay, Shory Story, Grove Press Published By: Grove Press on January 3, 2017 
Format Read: ARC Edition (272 pages)
Genre: Short Stories/Feminism/Contemporary
Series: Standalone
Source: Goodreads Giveaway
Rating: FIVE STARS
The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail. A pair of sisters, grown now, have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children, and must negotiate the elder sister's marriage. A woman married to a twin pretends not to realize when her husband and his brother impersonate each other. A stripper putting herself through college fends off the advances of an overzealous customer. A black engineer moves to Upper Michigan for a job and faces the malign curiosity of her colleagues and the difficulty of leaving her past behind. From a girls' fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America.

VERDICT:

REVIEW:

These stories broke my heart  and wrung me out. The best writers make characters speak to you  and these characters pulled on emotional threads. The different stories find ways to remind you of what makes us all human. These women struggle through unimaginable pain, and find a way to survive. They are sad but they have not resigned themselves to the tragedy they experience. I was refreshed to read one story told from the "wrongdoers" side. The story made me sympathize with someone who acts evil out of selfishness and that is a powerful thing.
"It was a dark, ugly thing to see such greed cloaked in false good."
I cried while reading. I had to stop in places because words pulled at me when I wasn't ready. Over and over these women's lives are described as seamlessly crafted around others at the costs of themselves. Many of these stories describe the uncomfortable need to satiate others and leave scraps for yourself. Black women too often find themselves trying to ignore and survive so many layers of oppression. These stories describe how oppression can intersect and how women strive to live with the consequences of it.
"Instead of speaking, I remained silent. Words cannot fill the faithless with faith."
Read these stories if your ready to take a hard look at how heartache affects women's lives. Roxane Gay has left a lasting impression on me and I'm excited to read more of her work. All of these short stories engaged and challenged me in a positive way. I'll be thinking about these characters for a long time. I would recommend this for fans of diverse contemporary stories with feminist themes.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Roxane Gay’s writing appears in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many others. She is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. She is the author of the books Ayiti, An Untamed State, the New York Times bestselling Bad Feminist, the nationally bestselling Difficult Women and the New York Times bestselling Hunger. She is also the author of World of Wakanda for Marvel. She has several books forthcoming and is also at work on television and film projects.
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