July 28, 2017

The Female of the Species by Joyce Carol Oats

Female of the Species is a collection of short stories about women, and all of them are either a bit of a thriller or a bit disturbing! I’ll admit I read this a few months ago, and have only just got around to reviewing it – and revisiting it now I realise how several of the stories have been occupying my thoughts every now and then since I read it. I quite like that in a book – so I’d definitely recommend reading it if you come across a copy.

So Help Me God is a seriously disturbing, yet really rather normal story. It’s about a young girl who marries the manThe Female of the Species her father disapproves of, then things go so wrong that doesn’t matter anymore (I can’t describe it much more than that without giving away the story). Much stronger opening story than that of Bang Crunch.

In The Banshee we learn why rich parents shouldn’t get divorced when they have young children – OR – why you shouldn’t leave a confused yet well-meaning and young child around a baby… This story ends at the perfect moment – leaves you dwelling on it for a long time!

Doll: A Romance of the Mississippi explores a very disturbing relationship between a girl and her step-father (not how you’re thinking) who travel around the States seemingly running from something. As with the other stores Joyce Carol Oats leaves out just enough to leave you wondering – superb writing.

The next story, Madison at Guignol, is an extreme shopper getting a sneak peak of something she really didn’t want to see. A bit like when a child begs and begs for some liquorice because it looks sweet and tasty – and then finds out it’s vile. Grusome.

The Haunting is the weakest story in the book, about a wife murdering her husband (or not) told through the memory of her daughter.

Hunger tells the story of a married woman’s holiday romance that goes to take the most extreme route to them getting together. And it’s all about the beach – some lovely landscape descriptions.

In Tell Me You Forgive Me? we travel back through a lady’s life, exploring her mental illnesses, her alcoholism, how it all came about, and what the consequences were.

Angel of Wrath is a bit hard to follow but yet a powerful journey through the history of two women.

Finally, we go into the world of a killer nurse in Angel of Mercy. Another different style of story – and a good one to end with.

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