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Girls in the Grass Hardcover – June 25, 1991

3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Although the young characters in these 11 coming-of-age tales represent diverse racial and regional backgrounds, their experiences, hopes and fears prove universal.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In these 11 stories, whose settings range from Boston to suburban Arizona to rural Idaho, Thon captures her characters at a moment of sudden revelation. She portrays young men and women edging warily from adolescence to adulthood. Whether they are fearful of or eager for adult reality, they are pushed by circumstances beyond their control into new ways of perceiving themselves. In the title story, a young girl discovers she has outgrown the games of childhood. "Sisters" is a story of the ambivalent love that binds two sisters, one of whom resentfully assumes the burdens her wild and irresponsible sister refuses. Pushed to her limit, she finally realizes that she can never break the bond that binds them. In "Small Crimes," a middle-aged poet fails in the seduction of a young woman, and this failure forces him to confront a painful failure in his past. Thon writes with sympathy and authenticity about recognizable situations that confront us all.
- Marcia Tager, Tenafly, N.J.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st U.S. ed edition (June 25, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394576632
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394576633
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,264,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
Now that I've read Melanie Rae Thon's GIRLS IN THE GRASS, I know what's possible from truly great short stories--and there's no reason to settle for anything less.
I first read one of Thon's stories, "Iona Moon," in a small literary magazine a few years ago. Used to short fiction that lacked engaging plots, complex characters, and that left me ultimately dissatisfied, I was startled by Thon's sustained, narrative energy, bold characters, and lyrical prose. But there was something else that, at the time, I couldn't quite identify--now that I've read her collection, I realize that Thon is a writer with a moral vision out of which she creates characters of great vitality and vulnerability who struggle with questions of faith, guilt, power, desire, redemption, love. For me, this kind of depth and craft makes reading short fiction incredibly rewarding.
A few examples--There are three best girlfriends in Thon's title story, "Girls in the Grass," teasing with the pleasures and confusions of sexual desire and friendship. There's the twelve-year-old girl in the chilling story "Punishment," who is haunted throughout her lifetime by her complicity in the hanging of a slave in 1858 on her family's plantation. There's the young girl in "Repentence," whose resentment of her senile grandmother leads her to discover her own wickedness and desire. There's the aging male professor in "Small Crimes" whose clumsy seduction of a promising, younger woman poet opens up her painful, revealing past.
Each story is in itself fully realized, but each gains meaning and power from its arrangement in the collection.
Beautifully crafted and large in their scope and emotional complexity, Thon's stories offer readers a powerful, transforming experience.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert S Michaels on November 29, 1996
Format: Paperback
The majority of stories that make up this collection by one of Granta Magazine's "Top 20 American Novelists Under 40" are weak and more than a little doe-eyed in comparison to the gritty, moving tale that appeared in the Granta issue. The tales that do work best all seem to feature a recurring figure at their center, the title character of Thon's later novel, Iona Moon. Given the time that a novel's length allows, Thon can transform the quaint into the unrecoverably beautiful, develop a pang into an ache, but most of these pieces don't seem to quite stand by themselves. After all of this less than complimentary talk on my part, let me say that, given the strength of the Granta piece, I definitely plan to check out her soon-to-be-released collection, "First, Body"
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is short fiction near its best and a book well worth reading. Not many short story collections that came out in the 90's are worth reading now as they seem dated. The stories here are all about women and the complex lives they lead. Lives often fraught with classic mistakes in judgment: teen sex and pregnancy, drug use, drinking, but seen through the lens of honesty and even empathy. The last story "Sisters" is about a good and bad sister on the surface but by the end of the story the distinctions are more blurred than one would think and the entire collection is just that: food for thought. Late to the party but hopeful for the next;this is an author I'll be watching.
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