June 1, 2014

Library Journal on Inside Madeleine

This second story collection from Bomer, also author of the novel Nine Months, offers a study of women who make all the wrong choices for all the wrong reasons. Bomer focuses on young women, from small Midwestern towns and big-city suburbs, who struggle for control over their own lives. This struggle often has heartbreaking results, including anorexia, date rape, and alienation. For instance, the narrator of “eye socket girls” says, “You may think that I don’t know I’m emaciated. I know every curve and angle of my rib cage.” In “outsiders,” Ruthie enters prep school with “a suitcase full of wrong clothes and heavy metal albums” and ends up being called white trash despite her efforts to fit in.VERDICT The stories are often brutal, disappointment being the mildest outcome, with Bomer capturing her characters’ anger and helplessness in a graphic and gritty style. For readers who enjoy their short fiction explicit and tough.—­Joanna Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Libs., Providence

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