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Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self Paperback – September 6, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
BEFORE YOU SUFFOCATE YOUR OWN FOOL SELF is the third type. Each of the eight stories in Danielle Evans's debut collection is completely unique. What's more, each features characters and situations that are so real and true to life that I almost felt as if I was a part of them.
The first story, "Virgins," features two teenagers discovering what it means to be women earlier than perhaps they should. Originally published in The Paris Review, it may appear to be the average story of a young girl getting into a tough scrape, but what's different about it is the intelligent voice. Erica, the narrator, has a wisdom that she doesn't know she possesses and begins to discover it throughout the story.
"Snakes" is a discussion of family, the biracial experience, and the process of growing up. There is some part of the story for any reader to identify with, regardless of what personal qualities he or she shares with the narrator. It takes shocking turns and plays with race perception; when we are first introduced to the narrator's grandmother, knowing whether she is white or black requires a double-take. Evans's ability to play with the nuances of race in "Snakes" and other stories is reminiscent of Toni Morrison's treatment of the issue in "Recitatif."
"Harvest" is unexpected, although it shouldn't be.Read more ›
This is collection of 8 short stories is Evans fictional debut. Now if you are thinking to yourself "I don't like short stories" this book isn't for me. Trust me when I say, you're wrong. I haven't always liked short stories. A few years back I finally read a collection that made me appreciate them. Before that I was reading incomplete short stories, with endings that left me far from satisfied.
These stories are short, though very far from incomplete. With most collections there is always one story that is not up to the standard of the others. That was not the case here, I loved every single story. Evans manages to make what could easily be sad stories very funny. Between the laughter, I was moved by these quietly complex and beautifully layered stories.
The dialogue and language are perfect. The characters fully developed. Like all good short stories, there is no excess, every word count. I loved each story from beginning to end.
Evans pretty much crushed this collection. Her transitions to move the stories along were clinic good. I always try to keep my vernacular proper. So when I start straying from the true Webster definition that means I loved a book hard.
My favorite stories were Virgins, the coming of age story of Erica and Jasmine. In their 15th summer, a difference in how their virginity is viewed separates the pair. Snakes, a story of a young girl who spends the summer with her grandmother and cousin. This summer arrangement proves to be a diffiuclt one and perhaps an arrangement that should not have happened. Finally, Robert E Lee is Dead, the class nerd and the most popular girl becomes best friends. Is it loyality or gratitude that keeps this friendship going? Does one have to dumb themself down to maintain a friendship? How far do you go for a friend?
I think Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self is a good book to pick up. I only named thre of the stories, but there are 5 others that may pique your interest.
That brilliant quote, ladies and gentleman, is from Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self. Specifically from my favorite story, Robert E. Lee is dead. I related to this story the most, because I too felt ostracized for being the smart black girl and quiet. All of the stories were great and really made you think about life, the human condition and how our view on life greatly affects how we live.
At first I was under the impression that these were essays by different people on their experiences, until I see the "this is a work of fiction" disclaimer. I couldn't believe one person, Danielle Evans, was able to tell eight different stories that felt so real. Even if I personally didn't go through what each character went through, I empathized with them so greatly.
One thing I noticed in review for this book were about the endings. Yes, not every ending was clear or the story had a lot of ambiguity, but life is all about no clear ending. And you don't immediately get a happy-ever-after. You have to overcome personal hurdles before you get that luxury just like the characters in this book.
Every story in here is interesting and really makes you think about the people in your life and how the characters deals with their problems and makes you wonder: would I do that? Have I? Will I?
I was feeling, feelings reading this book! I'm so glad I gave this a chance. It's a great coming-of-age book, for all races. I'm sure many adults will be reminiscent of their adolescent or new adult years while reading.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Absorbing. Worth a read. Tends to slow at some parts but definitely worth reading . Something to lighten and balance would have improvedPublished 1 month ago by Cynutb
Wonderful collection of short stories!! So many different perspectives and situations. The common theme between the stories are different stories about women of color. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Arvind
A required reading for a college elective that will not easily be forgotten. Unique writing style combined with moving personal experiences.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great twist and endings, that leaves you in deep thought. Flows naturally and continually peaked my interest on a variety of topics we face in our CulturePublished 6 months ago by Tonjanika
I just finished reading this collection and cannot wait to read more by Ms. Evans. The title led me to expect more of an African-American vernacular, but the voices in the stories... Read morePublished 7 months ago by J. Michael
Such an awesome, well written, creative collection of short stories!Published 9 months ago by Joshlyn