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Baby & Other Stories Paperback – December 15, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Many stories deal with the angst and existential loneliness of people, even (and maybe especially) those in relationships. Those with families feel alienated and frightened. Nothing comes out like expected and the ideal does not exist except as a fleeting idea.
The characters are mostly affluent and educated people, disenchanted with their lives and their families. They are graduates of Smith, Middlebury, and Connecticut College. Unlike the wonderful writers Donald Ray Pollack and Raymond Carver who write about the poor and disenfranchised, and the cultural calamities that they face, Bomer examines the dysfunction and poverty of life of the more affluent and educated.
There is the wife who can't get her husband to leave home until she holds a knife to her neck and threatens to kill herself, the man who believes that his life's trauma results from having to watch his wife give birth. There is a woman trapped in a loveless marriage, governed by her own anger and alcoholism. She can only feel anger, rage, resentment and disappointment. These are typical feelings shared by many of the characters that people Bomer's stories.
Many of the stories deal with the dynamics of marriage once children are present. There is the family where one child 'belongs' to the father and the other to the mother. In another story, the father is the odd man out. In yet another, a mother tries to appease the child she loves by paying more attention to the child she loves less.Read more ›
I started the book on a late Friday evening and finished early Saturday morning. Far from what I thought the title hinted at in terms of the content, Bomer took me into a land of contemporary human suffering and the psychology that motivates people to act in reaction to their given circumstances.
From a analytical perspective Bomer takes the "Baby" and uses that, in her series of short stories, as a fulcrum to test the characters in her book. She did not hold back. In her work, Bomer weaves all the tangential elements of relationships. She explores the roles of sex, economics, education, sibling rivalry, paternal interference and class mobility in away that is shockingly accurate.
And disturbing. Yes, disturbing. The characters are believable and well developed. Bomer also plays with the reader by not fully resolving the conflicts entirely but leaving the reader only to speculate on how things ultimately turn out. I felt it was like hear a musician playing a scale and leaving the last note out - leaving it to me to mentally play the last note.
This book is not for the faint of heart. There is some rather explicit sexual content. The sexual content however is absolutely necessary to understanding the motivation of her characters and the pain that they are experiencing.
Bomer is a writer. No question about it. She put on paper the dark truths that exist on some conscious level (which are neatly put in some corner of the mind) and guides the reader on how those thoughts unwittingly command her characters to act.
Would I recommend this book to someone? Already have.
My only criticism, which is minor, lies in the hype of the book's marketing; I myself write horror stories. The only thing that should shock people about this kind of writing is that, when they read the title "Baby," their expectations wind up a bit different from what they arrive at after they've put the book down--whether they've finished it or not. The idealistic hermits that can't handle Baby don't deserve the kind of insight that Bomer provides in her stories. However, in my case, when you've written tales involving gory murders, mass genocide, and introspective, suicidal self-loathing, reading Baby is a stroll in the park: albeit, a very, very insightful walk. I'd recommend this book to anyone that isn't pregnant.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
From a craft perspective, these aren't poorly written short stories, but nothing about them strikes me as interesting, unique, or special. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Sara
The theme of these stories is how children can change a marriage. Being a parent I agree that having children is a big adjustment for any marriage but generally a happy one. Read morePublished on November 22, 2013 by Mary Tara Harrison
A bit dark. Cringeworthy. Abrupt endings. Meanings not evident. Something I look forward to deleting off my ipad. Do not recommendPublished on May 27, 2013 by SS
After I finished reading this book I actually felt rattled. It's such a brutal, unflinching, dark yet honest look at family life. Read morePublished on March 25, 2013 by H.A.F.
This book is why I read fiction. To examine the inner life of other human beings. To measure the depth and height of our emotions. And to awaken from a strange and perfect dream. Read morePublished on June 8, 2012 by Pat Pujolas
After reading the first story, was not sure I wanted to continue .. Glad I did ...Paula Bomer gives the reader a raw world of emotions, and feelings seldom seen.... Read morePublished on August 11, 2011 by Herschel
Paula Bomer is a brave writer and these stories will move you, stun you, and make you stop and think about everything that really matters. Don't be afraid, go ahead and read them. Read morePublished on June 28, 2011 by READER GIRLIE!
In spare and unsparing prose, Paula Boer has written a dark, brilliant collection of stories that's as compelling as good gossip, as insightful as a wise therapist.Published on March 30, 2011 by Thelma Adams