This is another book I found for $.89 at the Goodwill. I didn't have any particular burning desire to read it. Actually, I didn't even know what it was about. However, I flipped it open and saw an Elizabeth Bishop poem on the first page, so I decided I'd splurge the dollar.
The first story was great. I'm biased, though, because I was in the first story. Julia, the protagonist's brother's older girlfriend, knocked me upside the head because she is awkward and literary and uses words too big for the conversation at hand. This girl knits on the beach in a one-piece swimsuit while people make grandma jokes. She is passionate about publishing and books, and she becomes animated when discussing things interesting to her. Appearances aside, had Melissa Banks not made Julia rich, she would have summed me up nicely.
I was determined to love this book after that, and it was all right. I wish it could have kept the interest I had in the beginning, but I'm not fond of stories about women who can't grow up or make decisions. Out of nowhere, this narrator became incapable of making basic life decisions like "should I find a new job? Should I date a man my father's age? Should I get my own apartment?" The first two stories, she was fine. After that, she spent the rest of the book doubting herself, and it just annoyed me. It detracted from some of the stories she was trying to tell. And for the ones where that was the focus, I just looked at the book in disgust.
So: well-written and a bit diverting, but also depressing, irritating, and occasionally moralistic.