Title: Difficult Women
Author: Roxane Gay
Series Status: Standalone
# of pages: 256
My rating: 4/5 stars
Award-winning author and powerhouse talent Roxane Gay burst onto the scene with An Untamed State—which earned rave reviews and was selected as one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post, NPR, the Boston Globe, and Kirkus—and her New York Times bestselling essay collection Bad Feminist (Harper Perennial). Gay returns with Difficult Women, a collection of stories of rare force and beauty, of hardscrabble lives, passionate loves, and quirky and vexed human connection.
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 marriage of one of them. 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 reminiscent of Merritt Tierce, Jamie Quatro, and Miranda July.
*I received a free copy in exchange for a honest review*
This book was really interesting. I have recently been wanting to branch out of my comfort zone when it comes to reading and this seemed like a great place to start. It deals with some of my interests: feminism; but is also not a fantasy, YA, or much like anything that I read on a day to day basis. This combination seemed to work well for me plus I had heard amazing things about Gay’s work which made me pretty eager to read this.
While I said I enjoyed this book, which I did, I do feel like perhaps this book didn’t grab my attention fully. I really enjoyed the majority of the stories but anytime the story progressed for too long I began to find myself losing interest. These were incredible short stories and I definitely enjoyed some more than others but I felt like maybe this was “too adult” or that I was just not interested enough to connect to some of the characters/situations.
However I did love Gay’s writing style because she created a prose that was easy to read and understand but had an underlying flow that I couldn’t help but enjoy her work. It’s definitely making me want to check out some of the other things she’s written.
I also loved how this was a collection of short stories that were each so unique in every way but also had the connecting thread of women. This book was difficult to read at times but I have a feeling that was the point Gay was trying to make. It was still an incredible read and even if I didn’t get everything out of it, I think a reread in the future when I’m older will definitely make me happier with this book overall.