Book Review: Barbara the Slut and Other People by Lauren Holmes ***

UK Publishing Date: 13 Aug 2015. 272 Pages

Its probably a bit quirky but I find short stories fundamentally unfulfilling. You just start to get under the skin of a character and then the story ends. Next you are launched into a different setting and a new bunch of characters. Lauren Holmes has written a series of character studies in this anthology of short stories as her debut.

The opening tale has a daughter visiting her mother with the intention of announcing that she is gay. It is a sweet tale with infinite possibilities and then it stops. As a story-line this was one that could have worked as a full length novel. The relationship between mother and daughter was fairly intriguing and the idea of the black market lingerie used as a way of keeping in touch was quite interesting. Sadly though it just fizzles out.

Similarly as you move through the book you get the story of Beth and Jason and just as it starts to get interesting it is over

The title story falls last in the book. Barbara the Slut is set in a High School and the heroine is a hyper intelligent student who has just been accepted at Princeton. Barbara has commitment issues and won’t sleep with the same guy twice. Hence the name. However this is really just a backdrop to the real relationship which is with her autistic brother George.She understands him better than her parents or his teachers and it is her relationship with him that is most telling.

The stories are interesting but I can’t get to grips with an anthology of short stories.They are essentially just frosting on what could be a very tasty layer cake.

Supplied by Net Galley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

You can get the book here: Barbara the Slut and Other People

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