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Barbara the Slut and Other People by Lauren Holmes
Short stories

Barbara the Slut and Other People

Debut
We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Lauren Holmes, on your first book!

by Lauren Holmes

Quick take

_This collection sees everything through the lens of the young, the sexually alive, the humorous._

Why I love it

When I first heard about this short story collection, I remember giggling nervously. Why had the author decided to title the book so provocatively? Did it need a shtick to help it stand out, or is the book actually as salacious as it sounds? There are short fiction writers who tackle the whole breadth of human experience—love, morality, parenthood, heartbreak, angst, mortality, prejudice—and while this collection has its share of existential ennui, it sees everything through the lens of the young, the sexually alive, the humorous. It is irreverent in a way that turns a gray day bright, because it reminds us that even in the most humdrum or painful situations, humor can save the day. Still, it doesn't skimp on acute observation or on the poignancy of the human condition. What Holmes gets at in all the stories is the struggle to come to terms with say, a parent's selfishness, a boyfriend's tendency to behave like a jerk, a friend's propensity to disappoint. What's especially fresh is Holmes' ability to take the vernacular of youth and pop culture and use it to underscore what a slog life can be, and then make the reader laugh at the absurdity of it all, which is why somehow we come away feeling hopeful and alive. I don't really understand people who say they don't like short stories. To me, stories—when they're good—are perfect little creations, managing to capture something essential about people in all their glorious quirkiness. Within a few pages of Lauren Holmes' debut work, I realized not only that I was entering the realm of an extraordinary new talent, but that she was making me laugh out loud. So put your feet up, pour a glass of wine, and savor this first series of escapades by Lauren Holmes. My guess is we'll be seeing a lot more from her.
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69 ratings
  • 26% Love
  • 52% Like
  • 19% Dislike
    November 2015
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