My original plan had been to cross-review this with [b:Blueprints for Building Better Girls: Fiction|8711905|Blueprints for Building Better Girls Fiction|Elissa Schappell|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1327930584s/8711905.jpg|13584771] which I'd started reading around the same times I'd started reading this.
This, however, I read during my half-hour lunch breaks so it took me a really, super, amazingly long time to get through it whereas I read the Blueprints book at home in, like, five days and now I've forgotten what I was going to say to compare the two, other than both are books of short stories that explore relationships females have with other people, specifically mother/daughter relationships.
So, instead, I'll just give my thoughts on this book and then go write the review for that book and it won't be half as clever and erudite as I'd planned.
Because I'm not an artistic-thinking individual, I was confused by the layout of this book. Now, I must remind you that I was reading this during lunch breaks and was often interrupted in my reading so it took me three stories to realize that I was reading about the same girl named Ruby. I was thrown off because the first story, "Shout her lovely name," is about a nameless mother whose nameless daughter is suffering from an eating disorder and they're trying to navigate teenagehood and parenthood around this serious illness. But then the next story, "Ruby Jewel," starts in with the Ruby stories. She's a teen coming home from college and having to deal with her drunk father and her distant mother after having tasted her own life for a semester, or however long it's been. Then there are two more Ruby stories, then a story about a woman on a plane with her husband and their baby. Then it goes back to Ruby stories, only now Ruby has a daughter named Nora. Slowly, we move into Nora stories and then the book ends with a woman named Cassie who has two teenage children and they are planning a birthday party for the soon-to-be-50-year-old dad.
Why was this book set up that way? Why were the bulk of stories about Ruby and then Nora, making a sort of novel, only to have the stories bookended and bisected by unrelated stories? I mean, I get that ther reader gets to know Nora after the woman on the plane (not snakes on the plane) story, but why are the three non-Ruby stories random, as in they are not about anyone related to the Ruby stories and they don't seem related to each other, either. I do not understand what I'm supposed to get from that.
The stories were fine. I didn't really connect with any of them. I'm not a mother. I am a daughter, but I didn't connect on that level, either. Ruby is a teen in the 70's, I believe. I was a little kid in the 70's. My experiences were way different, even if I did recognize the environment. Nora's childhood wasn't totally different from mine, but dissimilar enough that I didn't really sympathize with her, either. It was like I was just watching these people in these stories, never truly feeling their feels.
Even so, the stories are well-written and describe moments of life that are worth reading about. They explore relationships women have with other women, with their mothers, their daughters, with siblings and friends, with men and I always find such things interesting.