Saturday, November 03, 2007

Short Story Week, #7

All in Together Girls / Kate Sutherland
Saskatoon : Thistledown, c2007.

I can't have a full week of celebrating great story collections without including the marvellous All in Together Girls, by our very own Kate!

This is another collection of stories set mostly in Saskatchewan, and the setting was a large part of my enjoyment. The girls involved in these stories were recognizable as everyday teenagers, living their teenage lives with that mix of boredom and restlessness energy that so captures those years.

I especially like the story (the title escapes me, and my copy is not in my hands today; I'll have to append it when I get the book back!) in which a young girl visits her cousin in the city, and ends up going to a rock concert and then they all stay overnight at a male friend's home with no parents around. As they all get up in the morning, they panic a bit as an RCMP car pulls into the driveway; what have they done? But it is only the girl's father, whom she has called to come and pick her up so she isn't late for church. I laughed, because I related to this girl so much. I think I may have even done something similar to that myself. Kate has expressed the lives of girls in that specific place and time so precisely, so enchantingly.

There is a wonderful story, Cool, about the various influences of friends; Beth gets her head turned by Eva, the new girl at dance class. The story reveals how she deals with Eva, and how her long-standing friend Lorrie still exerts influence as well. There are other stories that are not strictly about girls, for one about the interactions of women who have known each other since their teenage years, you can read Aerial View of A Dinner Party.

These stories have an energy running through them as they detail moments in the lives of girls, and of women. They will absorb you as you are given glimpses of changing lives. This would be a wonderful collection of stories to share with your sisters or girlfriends.


  1. I really enjoyed this collection too -- she describes what it's like to be young and rebellious so well!

  2. I also have to say how much I enjoyed these stories, how much I felt like Kate captures that whole restless teenager feeling so well, and how she writes awkward in ways that make it seem like growing pains rather than being social outcasts.

  3. Thanks for sharing all these collections. I have enjoyed my short story reading tremendously and now I have new authors to look into.

  4. I really enjoyed your Short Story Week. Now I have a bunch of new books to add to my wishlist!

  5. I am halfway through this collection right now--I've been reading a story each day. I have been thoroughly enjoying it. I think what I like is that some of the stories seem to be set at about the same time I grew up, so I can relate to them really well.


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