I can once again say that I’ve read the entire Curtis Sittenfeld oeuvre now that I’ve completed her latest, a collection of short stories called, You Think It, I’ll Say It. Two of these stories actually previously appeared in The New Yorker and so I’d already read them (“Gender Studies” and “The Prairie Wife“). I don’t typically like short story collections that much; I’m the type of person that, when I love a book, I want ten sequels. So, a short story can feel far far too short if I really like the characters. I actually felt like Sittenfeld’s stories here were sort of the perfect length, so I don’t know if her characters aren’t likeable enough to me or what, but I was perfectly happy with the length of my time with them. Maybe it’s just that most of these characters feel exactly developed enough for a short story and I’d need a little more to want a novel.

 

This collection includes ten stories, and the style and subject matter are pretty similar to the rest of her writing. The Prairie Wife, like her novel American Wife, takes a real world person and imagines a different story for her (like… what’s the real woman’s thing? The Pioneer Woman? I guess that woman is famous enough that defamation would be hard for her to prove…). And a few of these stories include sort of awkward college age women where the style starts to remind me of Sittenfeld’s novel Prep.

Only two of the ten stories are written from the perspective of men, and even then, both are about those men’s relationship to a woman who also features prominently in the story. I think that’s okay; although most of these stories have something to do with romantic relationships, I think almost all of them pass the Bechtel test (so many women! with names! talking to each other about things!). I mean, unless you’ve never heard of Sittenfeld before, I assume you sort of know what you’re getting into here. I’m going to term it, women-centric literature that isn’t as idiotic as most ‘chick lit.’ I’ll work on a catchier name.

Currently reading: Also finished A Time of Love and Tartan by Alexander McCall Smith, haven’t started the next book yet, but maybe Song of a Captive Bird because that is a two week library book… challenge accepted library. Challenge accepted.