I really enjoyed this collection of eighteen stories about love/relationships, which my boyfriend checked out from the library back in February, and which I’d been meaning to read for months now, since the night when he was reading it and I somehow ended up grabbing the book and reading the story “Rufus” (which is narrated by a dog and is simultaneously funny and poignant) aloud to him. It took me a while to get back to the rest of the book, but I’m glad I finally did. The stories range in length and form (one is a rhyming poem that’s a valentine/anti-valentine; another is a list of bullet points), and some are naturalistic while others have fantastical elements. There’s one about a couple who are stressed about planning their wedding, in a world that is almost ours but definitely isn’t: there’s mention of a family dinner at an Olive Garden and a trip to a Rite Aid, but a lot of the plot revolves around how everyone expects their wedding to have more sacrifices to the Stone God than they were planning on. (That story, “A Most Blessed and Auspicious Occasion,” was one of my favorites.) There’s another that features a theme park called Presidentland and some poorly-thought-out genetic engineering, and another in which a door to a theorized “anti-universe” doesn’t have the results the narrator expects. I like these weirder stories a whole lot, and I like the writing style throughout the book, with sentences like this: “Dorothy quickly whittles the word “furious” into a verb and furiouses at me” (27).

Or something being described like this: “Kind of as a joke and kind of for real, the way eighteen-year-olds do everything” (90).

Or this: “Every conversation was punctuated by long awkward silences—but punctuated the Spanish way, so every sentence was followed by a long awkward silence and preceded by the same awkward silence upside down” (186).

Also: I totally love the last story, which is a play on a misspelled sign about a store being closed, and which describes a day as “a moment, a twenty-four-hour trick of the light” (242). And I totally totally love that the story called “Missed Connection – m4w” was originally posted on Craigslist.

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