Barbara the Slut & Other People – Lauren Holmes

I was talking the other day about whether I’d like to be young (in my twenties perhaps) again and the general consensus was yes – but not these days. We had our problems in the 80s but youth today seems to be an absolute minefield! With property ownership being a distant dream for many, young people are often reliant on their parents for many years longer than we were and with jobs hard to come by in their chosen field they may end up with all kinds of unusual work-experience.

barbaraThe stories in this collection seem to illustrate this odd kind of existence. They focus on young women (principally, although one story is from a young man’s point of view and one from that of a rescue dog) who are not fully independent of their parents, who are not yet settled into their relationships, or, indeed, their sexuality. They are not stories full of great drama – in fact, to be fair, very little really happens – but that also seems quite true of reality for young people these days. I’m not going to join the ranks of the middle-aged who knock the young for not being dynamic enough – we, frankly, didn’t exactly set the world on fire – and I think I can understand how a mundane and boring life presents its own problems. In these stories, as in life, the answer to boredom appears to be sex. What makes them even more realistic is the almost total lack of eroticism to their sexual experiences.

Don’t read these stories if you need excitement in your literature. But they are an interesting volume to flick through if you want to appreciate some of the more apparently mundane aspects of modern life, and to see how they can be described with a certain amount of dry humour.

Jane

 

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