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The eight stories in Things to Do When You're Goth in the Country paint a vivid image of people living on the fringes in America, people who don't do what you might expect them to. Not stories of triumph over adversity, but something completely other. Described in language that is brilliantly sardonic, Woods's characters return repeatedly to places where they don't belong— The eight stories in Things to Do When You're Goth in the Country paint a vivid image of people living on the fringes in America, people who don't do what you might expect them to. Not stories of triumph over adversity, but something completely other. Described in language that is brilliantly sardonic, Woods's characters return repeatedly to places where they don't belong—often the places where they were born. In "Zombie," a coming-of-age story like no other, two young girls find friendship with a mysterious woman in the local cemetery. "Take the Way Home That Leads Back to Sullivan Street" describes a lesbian couple trying to repair their relationship by dropping acid at a Mensa party. In "A New Mohawk," a man in romantic pursuit of a female political activist becomes inadvertently much more familiar with the Palestine/Israel conflict than anyone would have thought possible. And in the title story, Woods brings us into the mind of a queer goth teenager who faces ostracism from her small-town evangelical church. In the background are the endless American wars and occupations and too many early deaths of friends and family. This is fiction that is fresh and of the moment, even as it is timeless.


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The eight stories in Things to Do When You're Goth in the Country paint a vivid image of people living on the fringes in America, people who don't do what you might expect them to. Not stories of triumph over adversity, but something completely other. Described in language that is brilliantly sardonic, Woods's characters return repeatedly to places where they don't belong— The eight stories in Things to Do When You're Goth in the Country paint a vivid image of people living on the fringes in America, people who don't do what you might expect them to. Not stories of triumph over adversity, but something completely other. Described in language that is brilliantly sardonic, Woods's characters return repeatedly to places where they don't belong—often the places where they were born. In "Zombie," a coming-of-age story like no other, two young girls find friendship with a mysterious woman in the local cemetery. "Take the Way Home That Leads Back to Sullivan Street" describes a lesbian couple trying to repair their relationship by dropping acid at a Mensa party. In "A New Mohawk," a man in romantic pursuit of a female political activist becomes inadvertently much more familiar with the Palestine/Israel conflict than anyone would have thought possible. And in the title story, Woods brings us into the mind of a queer goth teenager who faces ostracism from her small-town evangelical church. In the background are the endless American wars and occupations and too many early deaths of friends and family. This is fiction that is fresh and of the moment, even as it is timeless.

30 review for Things to Do When You're Goth in the Country And Other Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    These stories totally live up to the title, which is so often not the case. First, watch the book trailer. I do not typically bother with them but this is perfect. Goths. In the country. Plus zombies and meth and trailers. It's all in here! Oh yeah and just when you think you're going to read an outsider story with edgy circumstances, that's when things get weird. You have to read it to see it! My favorite stories were "How to Stop Smoking in Nineteen Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty Seven Seconds, These stories totally live up to the title, which is so often not the case. First, watch the book trailer. I do not typically bother with them but this is perfect. Goths. In the country. Plus zombies and meth and trailers. It's all in here! Oh yeah and just when you think you're going to read an outsider story with edgy circumstances, that's when things get weird. You have to read it to see it! My favorite stories were "How to Stop Smoking in Nineteen Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty Seven Seconds, Usama," "Zombie," (truck stop prostitute zombie?) and "Things to do when you're Goth in the Country." This is an author who I will read more of! So fun. Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy through Edelweiss. This will show up on Episode 088 of the Reading Envy podcast.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Book Riot Community

    This is a gorgeously written, brutally honest, darkly funny collection of short stories, many of which have a speculative edge to them. Most of the stories feature queer characters although none are focused on sexuality or gender. It’s so lovely to read strange, sometimes science fiction stories about various stripes of queer characters that aren’t about coming out or being queer. The stories are also a window into poor, white, rural America. Some of the topics include: Baptists over 60 talk (gr This is a gorgeously written, brutally honest, darkly funny collection of short stories, many of which have a speculative edge to them. Most of the stories feature queer characters although none are focused on sexuality or gender. It’s so lovely to read strange, sometimes science fiction stories about various stripes of queer characters that aren’t about coming out or being queer. The stories are also a window into poor, white, rural America. Some of the topics include: Baptists over 60 talk (group) sex. Tweens make friends with a homeless woman living in a cemetery mausoleum. A queer writer returns to her Midwest hometown to crime and strange floating green orbs. A lesbian takes ecstasy with her schizophrenic girlfriend at a Mensa gathering of people with super high IQs. This book gave me that weird out of body feeling that happens when I read something that feels so unbelievably on point to what I know of life but also manages to present it in a way that feels totally fresh. — Casey Stepaniuk from The Best Books We Read In June 2017: https://bookriot.com/2017/07/03/riot-...

  3. 5 out of 5

    David

    I loved this collection of short stories. I forget what podcast I was listening to that proclaimed that it's the book everyone who read J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy should be reading instead. Author Chavisa Woods managed to escape the gravitational weight of her hillbilly backwoods origins but still writes from a place of recognition and compassion. It's the rural poor, bible belt, military heartland that voted overwhelmingly in favour of Trump. Chavisa on the other hand is a New York based, les I loved this collection of short stories. I forget what podcast I was listening to that proclaimed that it's the book everyone who read J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy should be reading instead. Author Chavisa Woods managed to escape the gravitational weight of her hillbilly backwoods origins but still writes from a place of recognition and compassion. It's the rural poor, bible belt, military heartland that voted overwhelmingly in favour of Trump. Chavisa on the other hand is a New York based, lesbian performance artist and poet author. The writing is sharp and with some fantastical elements but for the most part hews close to her experience growing up in rural Illinois. Get out of your East coast liberal, MFA literary bubble, reading about rich white people problems and dive right into this exploration of meth labs, ufos, truck stop prostitutes, fundamentalist Christian sects, Mensa party acid trips and a living replica of the Gaza strip on someone's head.

  4. 4 out of 5

    CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian

    A stunning collection. Beautifully written with honesty, generosity, insight, inventiveness, and a strong sense of voice. These stories hit me in that sweet spot that the rarest of fiction does for me, where the characters and the world and the feel seem at once intimately familiar and as if I'm seeing them for the first time. I guess that's the definition of uncanny, actually. Most of the stories feature queer characters although refreshingly none are focused on queerness. (Including the most s A stunning collection. Beautifully written with honesty, generosity, insight, inventiveness, and a strong sense of voice. These stories hit me in that sweet spot that the rarest of fiction does for me, where the characters and the world and the feel seem at once intimately familiar and as if I'm seeing them for the first time. I guess that's the definition of uncanny, actually. Most of the stories feature queer characters although refreshingly none are focused on queerness. (Including the most speculative of them, which is about a trans guy who wakes up one morning with a miniature version of a piece of the Gaza strip happening on his head). It's so lovely to read strange, sometimes science fiction stories about various stripes of queer characters that aren't about coming out or being queer, where most often being queer is entirely incidental, but also casually present when it's relevant. Most of the stories are set in rural, white, poor America. I won't pretend to really know anything about that part of the US, but from the little I know about current politics there, it does seem urgent for Americans who aren't familiar with this world to learn about what it's like; one of the blurbs says the book "should be required reading for anyone who's trying to understand America in 2017," which absolutely makes sense. Here's a taste of what these stories are about: Baptists over 60 talking sex. Tweens make friends with a homeless woman living in a cemetery mauseleom. A queer writer returning to her Midwest home to crime and strange floating green orbs. A lesbian takes ecstasy with her schizophrenic girlfriend at a Mensa gathering of people with super high IQs. Here are some snippets of Woods's darkly funny, hard-hitting, beautiful prose. If these don't convince you to read the book, I don't know what will. "He kept flipping the blinds open and closed. They made a clinking sounds like plastic change, worthless and desperate to accomplish some impossible purchase, his freedom." "An adamant evangelical Christian with an obsession with perfect grammar, and an unfortunate perm, was a difficult thing to be in junior high." "Since she was young, she'd believed. But also, she'd questioned, and when her husband died, it was like someone had struck her in the face with the knuckled back of a strong hand made of nothing but that question." "But then I thought maybe it wasn't CBGB I missed but being twenty and feeling like I was really doing something drinking with a fake ID... It just doesn't feel the same listening to live rock when you're going to be thirty in a year and your second drink is already making you more tired than drunk and you can't help but worry you're going to feel a little sick and depressed the next day." "There is a moment, for every child, when the adults around them...decide that the child's dreams must be obliterated. Adults do this so that they can replace the noble and ridiculous aspirations of children with the ignoble and ridiculous aspirations of grown-ups. They do this because they too, in a moment where they were on the other end of this awful thing they are doing, were taught that only the most ignoble and ugly things are attainable. For this reason, disappointment with one's life becomes a much more believable outcome. And, as Americans hate failure, this actually becomes the grudging goal of how one's life should be lived--passing time with hated tasks, thankful and even possessive of the most basic aspects of survival: family, roof, clothing, food."

  5. 5 out of 5

    Evelina | AvalinahsBooks

    Really, the name of Things To Do When You're Goth In The Country is so kickass that when I saw this book and read what it was about, I couldn't fail to hit the Request button. So let me tell you more about it. Things To Do When You're Goth In The Country paints a dark, rural landscape of America – not just one of open and vast spaces outside, emptiness of population, but an inner emptiness too, the lack of morality, the crippled human soul, the weirdness of turning wild and uncivilized. Really, the name of Things To Do When You're Goth In The Country is so kickass that when I saw this book and read what it was about, I couldn't fail to hit the Request button. So let me tell you more about it. Things To Do When You're Goth In The Country paints a dark, rural landscape of America – not just one of open and vast spaces outside, emptiness of population, but an inner emptiness too, the lack of morality, the crippled human soul, the weirdness of turning wild and uncivilized. This is a collection of short stories, all depicting the life of someone different, living in the countryside. Most of the characters you'll encounter will at the least be queer, if not different from the rural norm in more ways than that. Some will have left the darkness of the country and will be revisiting it, some will be challenging the rigid thinking of stereotypical religious fanatics and old-fashioned conservatives. This book is a tour of the dark and creepy in America, and it pairs up well with the polished and the beautiful we always see on the news. (If you’re having trouble loading the images, visit this post on my blog here.) The book starts out with a story of a woman visiting her relatives 'back home' – meth cookers, aliens watchers, constantly on probation, trapped by laws that don't even exist, too weak, dark and hated to be able to crawl their way out of the system. Then we also read stories of runaway junkies, living as pets to local kids in the cemetery mausoleum. Stories of growing up in strict, fanatic Christian sects, the Christian channel telling you that 90's troll figurines will come to life at night and eat your kids because they're of the devil. Of rich Mensa society families whose mentally ill children share the same hallucination with someone on speed. Of the futility of a life in the country, because the only way out is either the veil of alcohol or killing in the army – sometimes shooting your own. And to almost each of these stories, Chavisa Woods adds an element of weirdness, sometimes magical realism. None of the stories are completely down to earth. They are all wacky, but in just the right way. If you love dark stories about the rural reality, and if you're not scared of human darkness and emptiness – this book is for you. I don't normally read collections of short stories, but this one was definitely worth it. It will make you think. It will make you wonder. It will challenge your worldview. I thank Chavisa Woods and Seven Stories Press for providing this book in exchange for my honest review. Read Post On My Blog | My Bookstagram | Bookish Twitter

  6. 5 out of 5

    Marie-Therese

    Surprisingly uneven collection that features a few truly outstanding stories. Woods has a distinctive voice but she doesn't always use it in particularly interesting ways and these stories begin to seem repetitious after a while. Still, the best here ('How to Stop Smoking in Nineteen Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty-Seven Seconds, Usama' and 'A New Mohawk') are exceptionally good and meld horror, sharp-eyed realistic reportage, and outright whimsy in ways that seem very fresh and very relevant. I Surprisingly uneven collection that features a few truly outstanding stories. Woods has a distinctive voice but she doesn't always use it in particularly interesting ways and these stories begin to seem repetitious after a while. Still, the best here ('How to Stop Smoking in Nineteen Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty-Seven Seconds, Usama' and 'A New Mohawk') are exceptionally good and meld horror, sharp-eyed realistic reportage, and outright whimsy in ways that seem very fresh and very relevant. I look forward to reading more of Woods' work.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Robin Bonne

    This spoke to me on a level that few books rarely do. The characters of these stories are recognizable to me; they are my friends, my neighbors, my family. The author’s representation of the Midwest felt familiar and even the bizarre, surreal elements were fitting.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Hayley DeRoche

    This book is cornfields and death and haunted roads and whipped cream, it's teenage endlessness and crooked fingers and bent backs, it is sticky and green and glowing. This book is cornfields and death and haunted roads and whipped cream, it's teenage endlessness and crooked fingers and bent backs, it is sticky and green and glowing.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Laura I.

    Totally strange, even absurd stories. Sort of like if Kafka were a weirdo queer goth girl from the rural midwest.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chessa

    It's been like 20 years since I've lived in a small town, and nothing supernatural ever happened there. But despite that, I still found myself nodding at truths about the sometimes desperate living of small towns that was woven into this amazing little collection of short stories. My favorites were: "How to Stop Smoking in Nineteen Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty-Seven Seconds, Usama" and "Zombie" but there's not a bad one in the lot. You're lulled into a false sense of familiarity with Woods's It's been like 20 years since I've lived in a small town, and nothing supernatural ever happened there. But despite that, I still found myself nodding at truths about the sometimes desperate living of small towns that was woven into this amazing little collection of short stories. My favorites were: "How to Stop Smoking in Nineteen Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty-Seven Seconds, Usama" and "Zombie" but there's not a bad one in the lot. You're lulled into a false sense of familiarity with Woods's stories, only to have the rug ripped out from under you when you realize that the world is at least 1 degree off of our shared reality. Great stuff, I'll definitely be keeping my eye on this author.

  11. 5 out of 5

    LindaJ^

    Very interesting and relevant short stories in this book. There are 8 stories here. I liked them all, except for the last one. The book provides a look at what life is like in rural America for those with few resources, i.e., the poor and the working class, and those that don't quite fit in. The first story is a humdinger. In How to Stop Smoking in Nineteen Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty-Seven Seconds, Usama, the goth, gay, girl, now living in NYC, goes home to see her brothers -- Little-little Very interesting and relevant short stories in this book. There are 8 stories here. I liked them all, except for the last one. The book provides a look at what life is like in rural America for those with few resources, i.e., the poor and the working class, and those that don't quite fit in. The first story is a humdinger. In How to Stop Smoking in Nineteen Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty-Seven Seconds, Usama, the goth, gay, girl, now living in NYC, goes home to see her brothers -- Little-little Brother and Big-little Brother. They are her half brothers, as the three share only a mother. They have dinner at a Mexican restaurant in a strip mall, but then Big Little says he can't go back to his house (a falling apart trailer) because Half-cousin is there (related through his father (making him a non-cousin to Little-little and Half-sister). But Little-little has to go back because he's staying with Big-little and has no other place to go. Half-cousin is not so bright and fears the police are coming to get him on a 2nd degree manslaughter charge. His story is pretty sad, but there's more. Half-sister leaves the two boys to meet a high school friend in the town's bar that looks exactly as it did in the 70's, where she has a little misunderstanding with the bartender. After puking her guts and a green orb out, she joins Little-little and Half-cousin on the couch that is fueled by green orbs. Absolutely great story. Zombie tells the story of two young girls who like to play in the cemetery and the cocaine snorting thief who is living in a mausoleum and who introduces the girls to cigarettes and booze. It's a very good, and chilling, story. Take the Way Home that Leads Back to Sullivan Street concerns the unnamed narrator's relationship with the much better off Kali, whose parents are members of Mensa. Kali is bipolar but stops her meds when she and the unnamed narrator start to live together. One night they take acid before attending a Mensa party at Kali's parents' home. This story is quite a trip. What's Happening on the News is pretty sad. It starts and ends with a soldier visiting the fourth grade in a rural school and showing his trophy from the war. There is a decade between the visits of the two soldiers but both were in Iraq. The story touches on how few are the opportunities for these kids. A Little Aside tells the thoughts of an unnamed narrator who has been arrested and is wondering when the court-appointed lawyer will show up. A New Mohawk tells a strange tale. The narrator wakes up to find a portion of the Gaza Strip in miniature on his head, with bombings, rifle fire, and miniature dead people falling on the floor. Revelations is a story told by Sarah, a widow in her seventies, who is horrified and upsettling stimulated by what she learns from some fellow parishioners when they meet to discuss what their pastor and his wife have asked the congregation to pray about. Things to do when You're Goth in the Country is a compilation of the strange things the narrator has done for entertainment in the rural community.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Autumn

    I had never heard of this author, but the title came across Goodreads and it was an automatic library hold for me. Like Chavisa Woods, who seems to be around my age, I grew up in the rural midwest, and always felt like a weirdo, never at home in my surroundings. All of her characters seem to have that in common: not quite at home in their surroundings. Some of her stories fall into the "weird" fiction category, like a Kelley Link story. An ordinary story involving ordinary characters turns weird I had never heard of this author, but the title came across Goodreads and it was an automatic library hold for me. Like Chavisa Woods, who seems to be around my age, I grew up in the rural midwest, and always felt like a weirdo, never at home in my surroundings. All of her characters seem to have that in common: not quite at home in their surroundings. Some of her stories fall into the "weird" fiction category, like a Kelley Link story. An ordinary story involving ordinary characters turns weird in the first story, "How to stop smoking..." and by the end the main character is flying through the air. If you need a lot of plot or explanation, stories like that won't work well for you. The same goes for "Mohawk" a story about a trans man who develops a mohawk on his head that is a miniature scale replica of a section of the Gaza strip, complete with death and destruction. I love that kind of stuff- but don't try too hard to understand why this would happen. I guess you have to suspend your disbelief a bit with stories like that. My favorite story in the collection was "Zombie"- a couple of preteen girls, having nowhere else to go, start hanging out in a graveyard and befriend an odd (homeless? criminal? drug addicted) woman. The blending of is-this-fantasy-or-is-it-reality was beautiful to me. The innocence of the characters, combined with the nostalgic tone it's written in, was fascinating. The tone of that story, and its execution, really showcase the author's writing style. I didn't totally love every story, but overall this is very good stuff. I will be reading more from this author.

  13. 5 out of 5

    rosamund

    This selection of short stories set in rural US is a mixture of absolutely phenomenal writing, and curious blunders. The first story "How to Stop Smoking" typifies this: it begins with a queer, educated woman returning to her home town to spend some time with her two younger brothers. Once home, she is faced with the grinding poverty and crime that typifies her brothers' lives. Woods' observations are excellent here: our narrator struggling to find her feet in this world, and realising that her This selection of short stories set in rural US is a mixture of absolutely phenomenal writing, and curious blunders. The first story "How to Stop Smoking" typifies this: it begins with a queer, educated woman returning to her home town to spend some time with her two younger brothers. Once home, she is faced with the grinding poverty and crime that typifies her brothers' lives. Woods' observations are excellent here: our narrator struggling to find her feet in this world, and realising that her education doesn't get her very far when faced with the reality of her brothers' lives. Then the story is brought to a close with a bizarre magic-realism ending that feels entirely out of keeping with the rest of the story. This problem keeps coming in Woods' stories: she has an vivid imagination, and is very interested in exploring the weird, but she isn't always in control of it. However, when it works, it really works: the story "Mohawk" was the strongest in this collection, and has the weirdest central concept: a man wakes up one morning with a section of the gaza strip on his head. Woods uses this idea to explore the ways in which we have become inured to violence, and even blase about it, and yet how individual death remains shocking and even inconceivable. Woods is a fresh writer, and it feels like she has a lot of interesting things to say: I'll definitely be seeking out her work in future.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    "Beginning my eighth-grade year, each year, one student in my school would die, and also, one girl would get pregnant, so I guess it evened out. It was a stable population."  Two teenage girls, who like to hang out in a cemetery, befriend a coke-sniffing, homeless woman, who lives in a busted down masoleum. Two goth, lesbians, attend a Mensa party, while on acid. An elderly Evangelical sect, finds theraputic relief, in group sex. This is a terrific collection of eight, dark, slightly twisted sto "Beginning my eighth-grade year, each year, one student in my school would die, and also, one girl would get pregnant, so I guess it evened out. It was a stable population."  Two teenage girls, who like to hang out in a cemetery, befriend a coke-sniffing, homeless woman, who lives in a busted down masoleum. Two goth, lesbians, attend a Mensa party, while on acid. An elderly Evangelical sect, finds theraputic relief, in group sex. This is a terrific collection of eight, dark, slightly twisted stories, focusing on meth-heads, goths, queers and other folks, who live on the fringes of rural society. Woods is a sharp and bright new voice in short fiction. I will be watching this author closely.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I really enjoyed these stories. They don't go the way you think and they are just dripping with sarcasm. The premises are really good too - two girls making friends with some lady who lives in a cemetery? A lesbian couple who end up on acid trips at a Mensa meeting? It's all fabulous. Definitely worth a look if you're into something a little off beat. I really enjoyed these stories. They don't go the way you think and they are just dripping with sarcasm. The premises are really good too - two girls making friends with some lady who lives in a cemetery? A lesbian couple who end up on acid trips at a Mensa meeting? It's all fabulous. Definitely worth a look if you're into something a little off beat.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bill Hsu

    I was nervous about this. That title just seems to try too hard. But it's a very pleasant surprise, with endearing characters, surprising narrative twists, and black black humor. The ending of the first story is sublime, though the last two didn't do much for me. I was nervous about this. That title just seems to try too hard. But it's a very pleasant surprise, with endearing characters, surprising narrative twists, and black black humor. The ending of the first story is sublime, though the last two didn't do much for me.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Flo

    One of the best short story collections I've read in a while. Intimate, original, mystical, and darkly funny. Woods breaks open the country, pulling out those people and places that are often invisible or marked as "other." The stories are full of magical realism and dark humor, and like the best fiction, they speak Truth with a capital T. Here you'll find a world populated by the different, the queer, the marginalized, the dreamers, the ordinary, the powerless, the forgotten, the hopeless, and One of the best short story collections I've read in a while. Intimate, original, mystical, and darkly funny. Woods breaks open the country, pulling out those people and places that are often invisible or marked as "other." The stories are full of magical realism and dark humor, and like the best fiction, they speak Truth with a capital T. Here you'll find a world populated by the different, the queer, the marginalized, the dreamers, the ordinary, the powerless, the forgotten, the hopeless, and the hopeful.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Basil

    this one was bizarre ... some of these stories i couldn't tell if they were deep or just stupid ... and then some i really liked. this was sort of my first Really Out There collection of short stories and i enjoyed the experience a lot. there were some triggering things, especially in the titular story. faves include: “how to stop smoking,” “what's happening on the news?” “revelations” and “things to do when you're goth in the country.” the sense of place was incredible and i'm only just now rea this one was bizarre ... some of these stories i couldn't tell if they were deep or just stupid ... and then some i really liked. this was sort of my first Really Out There collection of short stories and i enjoyed the experience a lot. there were some triggering things, especially in the titular story. faves include: “how to stop smoking,” “what's happening on the news?” “revelations” and “things to do when you're goth in the country.” the sense of place was incredible and i'm only just now realizing how so much of what i like to read and what i like to write is contigent on place/setting. so. cool how this book helped me realize this. not sure if i would recommend unless you're into weird sh*t. also weirdly i really hated “zombie.” i'm just saying, this book had some writing i thought was incredible and some that i thought was aboslutely moronic. don't regret reading but not sure if i would read again... obviously the work was very crafted though and you could tell. would probably read more by this author.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alvin

    Woods stories often pit damaged but essentially sane, smart, and morally upright protagonists (often queer goths!) against a fascinatingly fractured small town world filled with drug addled degenerates and religious nuts. The set-up generally produces good - even great - stories. Woods' occasional forays into surrealism don't quite come off, but she more than makes up for these failures with her impressive originality. Woods stories often pit damaged but essentially sane, smart, and morally upright protagonists (often queer goths!) against a fascinatingly fractured small town world filled with drug addled degenerates and religious nuts. The set-up generally produces good - even great - stories. Woods' occasional forays into surrealism don't quite come off, but she more than makes up for these failures with her impressive originality.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    3.5. I liked the stories in the first half of the book a lot, but a few others not as much. There’s a lot that is sad, and a lot that is funny. The stories range from realistic to vaguely supernatural, with the best one being about 2 preteen girls who befriend a homeless women who lives in the cemetery. My favorite line: "It was just like any other slumber party I'd ever been to except it was being hosted by a homeless adult, and we were in a cemetery hiding in a candlelit one-room mausoleum." 3.5. I liked the stories in the first half of the book a lot, but a few others not as much. There’s a lot that is sad, and a lot that is funny. The stories range from realistic to vaguely supernatural, with the best one being about 2 preteen girls who befriend a homeless women who lives in the cemetery. My favorite line: "It was just like any other slumber party I'd ever been to except it was being hosted by a homeless adult, and we were in a cemetery hiding in a candlelit one-room mausoleum."

  21. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This book lives up to its title. I really liked this author's writing style very detailed without being long winded. As I was reading the author's words easily painted a picture in my mind. I don't usually read books of short stories but I found this one enjoyable. Awesome subject matter not usually covered in mainstream stories. Fantastical in nature sometimes but exploring real-world feelings and emotions of the characters. This book lives up to its title. I really liked this author's writing style very detailed without being long winded. As I was reading the author's words easily painted a picture in my mind. I don't usually read books of short stories but I found this one enjoyable. Awesome subject matter not usually covered in mainstream stories. Fantastical in nature sometimes but exploring real-world feelings and emotions of the characters.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    I'd say, like 90% of the reason I bought and read this book was because of the title. I have never read anything else by Chavisa Woods, although I know that will soon change. This book is tender and weird and real and fantastic; a better short story collection I have not come across in a while. Highly recommended. I'd say, like 90% of the reason I bought and read this book was because of the title. I have never read anything else by Chavisa Woods, although I know that will soon change. This book is tender and weird and real and fantastic; a better short story collection I have not come across in a while. Highly recommended.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ashleigh

    This was so weird to read because I feel like I know these people. I grew up in this place!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    I am historically meh on short stories, but lately am being converted by some really strong collections. (Kij Johnson, Kelley Link) In this case, some of the story concepts were promising, but I just didn’t feel like the writing was strong enough or compelling enough to keep going.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jay Outhier

    no book has ever meant so much to me as this one

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline

    chavisa woods: and they were dykes. me: oh my god they were DYKES 😍

  27. 4 out of 5

    Isabel Boratav

    this was soooo so so good && i dont usually love short story/essay compilations but i was obsessed w this and totally devoured it. WOULD READ AGAIN

  28. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Some of the best short stories I've read in a good while! Full of surprises, such inventive mix of writing styles. My favorite was "Zombie." Some of the best short stories I've read in a good while! Full of surprises, such inventive mix of writing styles. My favorite was "Zombie."

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    Hint: Smoke a lot of cigarettes. My favorite story was "Zombie." (****) Hint: Smoke a lot of cigarettes. My favorite story was "Zombie." (****)

  30. 5 out of 5

    ems

    pitch perfect american weirdness

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