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The Kissing List Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • ISBN-10: 0307951847
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307951847
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Born and raised in Boise, Idaho, Stephanie Reents has lived in a shared flat in Oxford, England, a tiny studio on the wrong side of the tracks in Idaho Falls, a fifth-floor walk-up in Manhattan's West Village, an adobe near the Sonora desert, a garden apartment in the Upper Haight of San Francisco, and the old Hamilton Watch Factory building in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Her fiction has been included in the O. Henry Prize Stories, noted in the Best American Short Stories, and has appeared in numerous journals. She teaches in the English department at College of the Holy Cross and lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

Customer Reviews

Like most short stories style novels there were some entries I enjoyed more than other.
I just read few lines and try imagine the rest of the story using the cover as the starting point.
Parker Knight
She kissed someone I was kissing whilst I was kissing someone else I shouldn't have been kissing.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E.B. Bristol VINE VOICE on June 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
My only major quibble with "The Kissing List" is the title, which makes it sound like a chick lit novel, which it's decidedly not. It's actually twelve short stories, loosely connected by a handful of young women who appear and reappear throughout. In the title story, Sylvie tells us about the men and women she has kissed, none of whom we have met before. Names pile upon names. The point of the story isn't too clear, but it begins to make sense, as you read on. Other stories feature characters from Sylvie's circle of friends: Frances (called Goldy), Maureen, Vita and Anna. They vary in viewpoint from first to third, to even second, which makes it confusing for the reader to pinpoint which narrator is which. But there's an impressive array of different styles, even if it makes putting everything together difficult.

The characters in "The Kissing List" are young women in their twenties who are taking their first steps into the adult world; who are educated and capable but in some ways, still feel like "kids playing dress-up." As they negotiate the business world and the more personal one of intimate relationships, they deal with sexual harassment, breakups, infidelity, and other issues, sometimes successfully, sometimes less so. In "Temporary," Vita learns that being a temp is "like being in the witness protection program." In "This Is Just to Say," the narrator deals with jealousy upon learning her high school best friend, a successful writer, is writing a memoir about their youth; wondering if she will be mentioned inaccurately or even not at all.

If you enjoy short fiction about these topics, I'd recommend "The Kissing List." It's definitely not your sex-and-shopping chick lit novel.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Fern P. on May 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I loved this collection! I'm a huge fan of Lorrie Moore, and Reents does a great job of portraying the complexities of post-college life for her characters with that same wit and intelligence.

Some of her insights are amazing. The story "None of the Above" captures the thoughts of a young woman who writes multiple choice test questions for a living, and who's recently lost her brother. It's so moving, in part because you can readily access the acute trauma of those silly tests, which then obviously pales in comparison with the trauma of losing someone whom you love deeply. Another of my favorite stories was "Animal Cruelty," which is about a woman who's trying to wrap her head around the state of her relationship and the discovery that she's pregnant...while staying in an off-season vacation cabin that's been invaded by mice. I can still hear the mice scrabbling days later!

Many of the stories have something a little surreal or formally experimental in them, but it's not off-putting. The stories are always engaging and surprising. Looking at this stage of life seems to be the rage right now following the advent of HBO's new series "Girls" (...which got a nod in a recent issue of the "New York Review of Books," so confused young women must now be taken seriously absolutely everywhere). And a book where the female characters don't get punished for being sexually adventurous? Sign me up.

Anyway, I could not put this book down. Reents represents the fantastic, the baffling, and the irrational as real people experience it. She so perfectly captures the tenor of those first years of adult independence. This will be my "go to" gift for friends this summer...even though many of us are not quite in the same age bracket as her characters!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kaylin Goldstein on June 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There's something distinctive about that moment in your post-college life when you're living in a series of crappy apartments, working at improbable jobs, hooking up with all sort of odd people. Stephanie Reents captures it exactly in The Kissing List. In each story, we get a glimpse into the lives of one of several connected characters. These young women are smart, self-aware and fumbling their way through. They're at an age when they believe, as one of the character says, "you'll change and become a better version of yourself, but really, you just wind up being a little more tolerant of the person you've always been." It's a joy to read lines like this (and the book is full of them) that demonstrate the gifts of an author who has an incredible ear for the things people say - and the things people think but don't often admit.
I was excited to read this book, plowed right through it, and only wished it could have gone on longer! It's a great read for a twentysomething who is living through this time of life - or anyone else who wants to re-live it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Caitlin Van Dusen on May 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I read The Kissing List more quickly than I have any book in a long time; it's a true page-turner. It will transport you to the highs and lows of your postcollegiate years: the heartbreak, the changing friendships, the career woes, the thrilling moments of connection, and the shattering disappointments. Most of all, it reminded me of the breadth of choices we are asked to make at that age and how their outcomes surprise ourselves more than anyone else. The tone of the writing is perfectly poised between darkness and humor--much as our minds are in those years. The dialogue is pitch-perfect. The Kissing List is the perfect book to tuck into your beach bag this summer.
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