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  Short Story Collection Review   

Her Kind of Want: Stories
by Jennifer S. Davis
University of Iowa Press, 2002
Trade Paper, $15.95 (160pp)
ISBN: 0-877450818-9



Each woman in the nine stories included in Her Kind of Want, the 2002 Iowa Short Fiction Winner, has a restless nature. The heartache and yearning in each of these stories is palpable.

Little Hula, Dena, Luna, Bebe, Nadine, and Melly, are women forced by circumstances to grow up too fast. They drink too much, marry the wrong men, and have children -- both wanted and unwanted before discovering the lives they could have had. Their longings for a beautiful life are always somehow just beyond their reach.

Set mostly in small towns around the Alabama, specifically Eufaula and Tallassee, these women know the rural south and have glimpsed the bigger world. Their lives, like the deep south of their childhoods, are raw and uncharted.

In "Ballad of a Redneck Wife," at the age of thirty-two, the narrator learns that "....Before the education, before the money, before the Mercedes, before the exotic vacations, before the annoyingly esoteric vocabulary...," her father was married to a lounge singer. The tensions and yearnings inherent in her DNA are causing problems in her own marriage "to a good man." She can't help imagining her own life would have been happier with less restrained parentage.

Praised by Steve Yarbrough, Pam Houston, Patricia Henley, and Chris Offutt, the author has created a heartbreaking and wise debut collection.

Jennifer S. Davis was born and reared in Alabama. She received her MFA from the University of Alabama in 2001 and currently lectures at the University of Miami.


Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews


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