ZZ Packer, “Drinking Coffee Elsewhere”

I loved ZZ Packer’s piece in the New York Times Magazine a few weeks ago, and it prompted me to pick up her book of short stories from the library straightaway.

Published: 2003, 288 pp.
Obtained via: Library
Date started: 6.20.08
Date finished: 6.25.08
What I liked: Each one of these short stories is a universe unto itself. They draw you in from the very first line. For example:

By our second day at Camp Crescendo, the girls in my Brownie troop had decided to kick the asses of each and every girl in Brownie Troop 909.—”Brownies”

“Opportunities,” my father says after I bail him out of jail.—”The Ant of the Self”

Doris Yates stood in the empty sanctuary and wondered if the world would really end in a matter of hours.—”Doris is Coming”

The stories are often from the perspective of a black woman, which I haven’t encountered a lot of in my reading. You fall in love with each of the narrators a little—you empathize with their plights and understand their motives.
What I didn’t like: That each of these stories wasn’t a full book. Maybe I’d feel differently if this book was actually eight novels, but I’ll have to wait until ZZ Packer comes out with her novel.
What I learned: A lot.

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