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 Literary Classic Review   

 
My Life & Dr. Joyce Brothers: A Novel in Stories
by Kelly Cherry
University of Alabama Press, A Deep South Book, 2002
Softcover, $18.95 (221pp)
ISBN: 0-8173-1243-9
 
 
 

Kelly Cherry is one of the great undiscovered treasures in American writing. Proficient in all genres -- poetry, fiction, prose, drama, and translations -- her short stories are masterful. First published in 1990, My Life and Dr. Joyce Brothers has been reissued in paperback as part of the University of Alabama's "Deep South" series. 

Nina Bryant's life is complicated. Now middle-aged, she has emotional baggage. Divorced and childless, she's alone again after having been dumped by a man she assumed was the great love of her life. Taking matters into her own hands, Nina's decided to have a child with the help of a doctor and a young sperm donor from Memphis. The Wisconsin winters are depressing her and she longs for the warmer climates of her native South. 

Nina's most recent break-up has forced her to revisit and re-examine her past in the hopes of making a home for herself, her dog, and her much wanted child. Her self-help regime forces her to confront her older brother, who has dominated her imagination most of her life; a sexual violation that occurred before the days of date rape; and her aging parents. Nina's inherent kindness and good-heart bring about one of the funniest "reconciliation at a funeral scenes" in recent fiction. 

Written with a light touch, Nina's stories are filled with the age old battles between the sexes. Not only does the heroine overcome her past, there's the hint of the triumphant future Cherry creates for Nina in 1999's The Society of Friends (University of Missouri Press, ISBN: 0-8262-1243-3).

 

Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews

 

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