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The Girls of Usually (Contemporary Nonfiction) Paperback – January 12, 2015
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Reading Lori Horvitz's "Girls of Usually" feels like calling up an old friend and talking late into the night. Deeply intimate and wickedly funny, these are essays to be treasured. --Stephanie Elizondo Griest, author of "Around the Bloc: My Life in Moscow, Beijing, and Havana"
When I first heard Lori Horvitz read some of her memoir essays, I laughed so hard my jeans burst open at the waist. The Girls of Usually may be like nothing you've ever read. But as in all the very finest writing, you'll see yourself and maybe find yourself. --Lynda Schor, author of "Sexual Harassment Rules" and "The Body Parts Shop"
These smart, witty, and heartbreaking essays are pure magic and Lori Horvitz is, truly, a magician of the form. --Lee Ann Roripaugh, author of Dandarians
About the Author
Lori Horvitz s writing has appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies including "South Dakota Review", "Southeast Review", "Hotel Amerika", and "Chattahoochee Review". She has been awarded writing fellowships from Yaddo, Ragdale, Cottages at Hedgebrook, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Blue Mountain Center. A professor of literature and language at UNC Asheville, Horvitz also directs the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program. She received a PhD in English from SUNY at Albany and an MFA in creative writing from Brooklyn College.
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There’s little to critique in the author’s writing style; she’s all too aware of how to string opening “hook” passages, meaty passages of story, and ironic ending sentences into publishable confessionals. However, despite the author’s adventurous early life, the prose is sometimes bland, cautious in glossing over her inner life. As I read piece after piece, the author traveling from exotic place to familiar haunt, extrapolating from home in New York to unfamiliar locales, having sex with multiple males, then females, I had to ask, "Why?” What was she avoiding in seemingly superficial sexual encounters, some lasting for several years? Why the constant urge to travel? What subterranean wounding led her to run from family, from sexual partners, from commitment? What was it she finally had to confront about herself? and how did she, in the end, grapple with it? I don’t think it was her journey from heterosexuality to bisexuality to lesbianism, but if it was, how did her inner life change as she went through this sexual odyssey? And perhaps more could have been made of the parallels between travel and sexuality.
As a result, one gets the feeling that it was simply age and perhaps becoming jaded with her adventurism that resulted in her coming to rest in academia as an outed lesbian. Still, with the contemporary focus on gay marriage, teens coming out, and the transgender phenomenon, this book, despite its flaws, is perhaps as good a place as any to begin yet another conversation on sexuality in modern society.
My rating: 15 of 20 stars
I thoroughly enjoyed this book from Lori Horvitz. Her writing is tight and clever, her scenes are vivid, and her prose was a pleasure to read. She is a very skilled writer and I look forward to reading more of her work. Unlike so many books I read, not once did I find myself skimming pages or even paragraphs out of boredom. Her writing was solid and focused, and I very much enjoyed it.