I greatly enjoyed this collection of short stories from Susan Jackson Rodgers. I first heard about it by reading about the Book Reviews from Manhattan Mercury’s column. I wanted to give it a try after hearing that Rodgers was a Kansas State alumnus.
The short story that collection gets its title from is about the thoughts, feelings and emotions going through a divorcee’s heads as she does late night grocery shopping and encounters an ex-boyfriend. The ex-boyfriend is stoned, happy and in the arms of a new younger lover. The story avoids becoming overwhelmed by bitterness. Instead, it embraces a sardonic and humorous outlook on the situation that sounds like a cross between a Sex in the City and Bridget Jones narrator. To get a taste of this story, a reading is available on youtube.
Another of the stories which stood out to me, was entitled “What Happens Next.” This story, is a collection of story beginnings that don’t really go anywhere and have only circumstantial connections. The beginnings are told with longing and sadness that I was left really wanting to know what happened to them. An example of part of the collection is entitled, “Taking a Geography,” and it says “This is what they say at AA meetings when someone moves away, tires a new life in a new place instead of staying in the old place with all the old problems.”
This collection of short stories is very melancholic. It’s the kind of sad that’s not afraid to laugh. Most of the stories are centered around women in their mid 20s to late 30s. The issues explored include ugly divorces, old friendships, children and romance. They are the kind of stories that are quick to read, but hard to forget. I found myself returning to some of them over and over again re-examining hidden meanings and re-exploring her language.