08 October 2007

Local Girls

Alice Hoffman is a wonder. Her sentences are so compelling that you just want to keep turning pages, regardless of the subject matter. While I don't think she ever writes "once upon a time," her narratives have a fairy tale quality, and her frequent use of hyperbole seems to rise naturally from this tone, so that you take the exaggerations literally and enter more deeply into her imagined world.

Local Girls, which was misplaced on my bookshelf (among novels instead of short story collections) consists of linked stories about a family that's falling apart--during the time covered by the stories, the parents divorce, the A-student son becomes a drug addict and dies in the street, the mother sickens and dies of cancer, and the daughter falls in love with a dope dealer. From this material, Hoffman manages to create a book that you don't want to put down.

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