I usually don’t read anthologies because I like to stick with one character throughout a novel, however Jessica Keener’s book, Women in Bed showed a growth in her characters that made it feel like I was watching one woman continue to grow.
The first short story didn’t give much detail into the character (we never learn her name) and it was pretty short. I wasn’t used to reading a story that didn’t put a name to a face but it was interesting to read. As the stories continue they get more and more detailed, becoming more like stories I usually read.
I enjoyed the last three stories the best because they were focused on one woman, Jennie, and showed her growth from the heartbreak of an ended relationship, to visiting her sister and remembering her past and her abusive father, to her finally finding what she needed and letting go of her fear of repeating the past.
Though I loved Jennie’s stories the best she wasn’t my favorite character. My favorite had to be Elizabeth in the “Recovery” story, who’s battling cancer. I loved her attitude and the way she handled her situation. She was such a strong character and I was sad when her story ended. I wanted to know more!
The other four stories involve a woman who lost her brother to suicide, a college dropout who goes to be with her not so loving boyfriend, a hard working woman who was so busy taking care of others she never took a chance to take care of herself, and a woman who left her husband realizing she needed to end her marriage before she could truly move on.
Truthfully, Keener’s writing style is very different from what I’m used to. As I said the stories get more and more detailed as they go on but it was still not a book I’d regularly pick up. That being said I did enjoy most of the stories. I found them to be interesting and also thought provoking. It raises a lot of questions about marriage, forgiveness, love, acceptance, and strength (mental, physical, and emotional). Overall I thought the book was good and a nice read.
Stars: 4 out of 5. It took me sometime to get used to the writing style but once I did I really enjoyed the stories. I found some to be more appealing than others but I think that’ll vary by each reader.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. As I said, there’s a story in it for everyone. It’s only $7.99 on the Kindle and I think it’s worth it.