Take the title story, in which a middle-aged mother is determined to see her daughter through the rigors of a sex-change operation. Jane puts up a good front, almost but not quite earning the title of Transsexual Mom of the Year, and supports her "handsome boy-girl" every step of the way. Yet the strain shows. And when she meets a supernaturally nice man, she can't quite credit her good fortune--even his appearance at her door with an armload of flowers touches off a fresh round of ambivalence:
And standing on the little porch of the condo, barely enough room for two medium-size people and forty-eight roses, Jane sees that she has taken her place in the long and honorable line of fools for love: Don Quixote and Hermia and Oscar Wilde and Joe E. Brown, crowing with delight, clutching his straw boater and Jack Lemmon as the speedboat carries them off into a cockeyed and irresistible future.The inclusion of Some Like It Hot's Joe E. Brown, who's gotten both more and less than he bargained for in his cross-dressing sweetheart, is a typically marvelous touch. And lest we think that Bloom has weighted the scales too heavily in favor of disillusion, Jane's new lover gets in the last word, citing the South Carolina state motto: "Dum spiro, spero.... While I breathe, I hope." Just keep breathing, the reader wants to say.
"Stars at Elbow and Foot" and "Rowing to Eden" are no less effective in their mingling of tragedy and sublime trivia. In two other stories, Bloom revives the Sampson clan, which she first introduced in Come to Me, and beautifully extends her mini-epic of mixed-race life without a grain of namby-pamby PC hesitation. And last but not least, there's "The Story," a tricky number in which Bloom seems to shoot to hell her own reputation for Chekhovian decency. Here we have a narrator who lies and dissembles, destroys her rival, and lives to tell the (metafictional) tale: "Even now I regard her destruction as a very good thing, and that undermines the necessary fictive texture of deep ambiguity, the roiling ambivalence that might give tension to the narrator's affection." In the end, though, Bloom is simply too gifted a writer to banish all seven types of ambiguity from her work. She understands that we are hopelessly divided creatures and cuts us the necessary, unsentimental slack. Or to put it another way, she forgives all--but forgets nothing. --James Marcus --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
I found this depressing and seemingly written by an angry & very jaded person who aimed to shock. I never wish to read anything more of Amy Bloom's!Published on April 19, 2008 by Terrell M. Griggs
This is a beautiful collection of emotionally resonant stories, written with an eye for detail and an ear for dialog. Read morePublished on September 21, 2007 by Pasiphae
Being a psychotherapist, Ms. Bloom focuses on stories of people with...certain ailments. But not to worry, these are not 'disease of the week' soap operas--her stories are witty,... Read morePublished on May 24, 2005 by John Farrell
I remain somewhat ambivalent towards this book, an ambivalence that is reflected in the points I gave this collection. Read morePublished on November 30, 2004 by Tsila Sofer Elguez
A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You: Stories by Amy Bloom covers how typical love can be in atypical situations (for some, of course). Ms. Read morePublished on July 29, 2004 by jmz
In Amy Bloom's second collection of short stories, some of her characters include the mother of a transsexual, a teenaged girl with a dying mother, and a man who is tormented by... Read morePublished on June 18, 2004 by Livia J Kent
In Amy Bloom's second collection of short stories, some of her characters include the mother of a transsexual, a teenaged girl with a dying mother, and a man who is tormented by... Read morePublished on June 17, 2004 by Livia J Kent
Amy Bloom is such a talented writer that I have a hard time understanding why she so often sinks to writing about weirdness to make her stories fly. Read morePublished on January 12, 2003
Amy Bloom has a gift for writing about rather repellent characters in a way that makes them very sympathetic to the reader. Read morePublished on September 2, 2002