This collection of short fiction, shortlisted for the 2019 Rubery Book Award, opens a door on ordinary worlds turned extraordinary, where deeper meaning hides beneath everyday conversations and the possibility of tragedy—and redemption—is always close at hand.
In the title story, Jody catalogues her parental failures as she worries whether her ballet-crazed teen daughter will make it onto the stage. C.J. adopts his dead grandmother’s dog, risking eviction but opening himself to the possibility of love. Brianna uses a spoonful of pudding as a weapon. Judy begins a secret life as an erotica writer. Jake’s Bar Mitzvah preparations reveal tensions that threaten to split his family.
The women, men, children, dogs, and cats in these stories fight their worst impulses, circle each other warily, and occasionally connect. They struggle to make sense of the world and their place in it, with results sometimes tragic, sometimes funny, and always relatable.