Book Review: Women in Bed by Jessica Keener
Despite my English degree, I have embarrassingly little experience with reading a collection of modern short stories, especially in the form of adult female fiction. So when I dove into Women in Bed by Jessica Keener, I tried to stay keenly aware of how the length of each story shaped the characters' tales and my interpretation and enjoyment. That being said, I was surprised by how quickly I latched on to the staggering reality Keener so poignantly shares in mere pages.
Arguably, I think the weakest aspect of this collection is its title: Women in Bed. When I first heard the title, I was turned off, but it certainly caught my attention--a decent marketing strategy at least. And after reading these nine stories, I understand that what links them all together is that they each share the tale of a woman who, of course, is in bed at some point. But there's so much more depth to each situation and why she ends up in bed (alone or not) which is why I feel the title is lacking. It doesn't accurately capture the beautiful honesty Keener delicately weaves together.
There are many authors who don't take the risk to explore the truth deep below the surface of human nature, especially when it comes to love. It's an ugly, confusing, and often fearful place, and most people don't like to admit that it's there. But Keener exposes it from the very beginning, highlighting the unconventional and "unpretty" relationships, thoughts, and questions from within.
Women in Bed is a collection for readers in all stages of life because every person can find themselves mirrored back in at least one aspect of the stories, whether one is prepared to look or not.
*Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from Keener's publicist to review, but all opinions are my own.
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