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Review of Things that Cause Inappropriate Happiness on Bookly Matters

Wow thank you so much to Terri Portelli of booklymatters for this wonderful, generous review of my upcoming Guernica Editions collection Things that Cause Inappropriate Happiness. I’m so grateful and moved.  It was such a beautiful thing to wake up to this morning. I really, really appreciate it <3

“All I wanted was for you to see me”

“How to capture the joy of reading this, this collection of more than two dozen tiny perfect literary gems? Each story distinct, but at its heart, this is a cohesive collection, - tearing through layers of yearning and isolation, revealing narratives centering on the lost, the lonely and the disconnected.

With heart-in-hand these vignettes, (snapshots really, most just a few pages long) provide glimpses, bordered sharply in time and space, of fractured lives in everyday emotional crisis. Featuring ordinary people, many of them narcissistic, creative, troubled, transitioning or searching for identity, stories are usually voiced (intimately) in the first person, but are sometimes (chillingly) narrated in the third person, to reveal a character seeking the the opposite effect.

Narrators may be displaced temporarily in exotic locales (Hawaii, Miami) or cultures (often moving to or from Canada or Israel), and yet, wherever they land, it is clear that they do not fit in. Internally crumbling with longing and love and sometimes landing on absurd or desperate coping mechanisms, we meet, between the pages: those affected by the cataclysmic horrors of war; artists, writers, ballerinas, and photographers pursuing their “green shiny glittery” spark of promise; young adults dispossessed by parents, un-supported and emotionally outcast; lovers caught up in the poignancy of “what could have been, but not quite” as they experience love lost disproportionately.

Bullied and body-shamed, grieving or emotionally abused, these characters will resonate with anyone who has ever reached out, or desperately wanted to. Exposing and revealing the deeply personal, these beautifully-rendered characters manage to remain detached, restrained, or simply understated in their revelations, leaving the reader all the more touched by the gaping vulnerabilities exposed, amidst the gracefulness of their telling.



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