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She: Fiction

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A nameless fifteen-year-old runs away to Los Angeles, seeking life beyond the harsh constraints of her evangelical upbringing. She is the narrative of her passage, from her escape on a bus through her quiet, determined progress across the city’s unforgiving terrain. The journey takes her into and around the lives of Angelinos from all walks: a dancer whose hyperactive sens A nameless fifteen-year-old runs away to Los Angeles, seeking life beyond the harsh constraints of her evangelical upbringing. She is the narrative of her passage, from her escape on a bus through her quiet, determined progress across the city’s unforgiving terrain. The journey takes her into and around the lives of Angelinos from all walks: a dancer whose hyperactive sense of smell makes her fiance’s presence insufferable; a penniless botanist who earns her keep creating sugar-icing flowers to decorate glamorous wedding cakes she can never afford; a dentist lamenting the abuses done to the teeth of a patient for whom he has cared dutifully. Her odd encounters, set against the backdrop of Los Angeles’s flagrant wealth, cast into relief its eccentricities and the everyday trials faced by its collection of lost souls. Together these stories reflect and refract one another, illuminating a poignant, unflinching portrait of loss and the search for identity in its wake.


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A nameless fifteen-year-old runs away to Los Angeles, seeking life beyond the harsh constraints of her evangelical upbringing. She is the narrative of her passage, from her escape on a bus through her quiet, determined progress across the city’s unforgiving terrain. The journey takes her into and around the lives of Angelinos from all walks: a dancer whose hyperactive sens A nameless fifteen-year-old runs away to Los Angeles, seeking life beyond the harsh constraints of her evangelical upbringing. She is the narrative of her passage, from her escape on a bus through her quiet, determined progress across the city’s unforgiving terrain. The journey takes her into and around the lives of Angelinos from all walks: a dancer whose hyperactive sense of smell makes her fiance’s presence insufferable; a penniless botanist who earns her keep creating sugar-icing flowers to decorate glamorous wedding cakes she can never afford; a dentist lamenting the abuses done to the teeth of a patient for whom he has cared dutifully. Her odd encounters, set against the backdrop of Los Angeles’s flagrant wealth, cast into relief its eccentricities and the everyday trials faced by its collection of lost souls. Together these stories reflect and refract one another, illuminating a poignant, unflinching portrait of loss and the search for identity in its wake.

30 review for She: Fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    Laura McNeal

    The sentences in this collage of stories are almost painfully beautiful, and the strange structure, though alienating, makes a clear artistic point about alienation. Fortunately, the broken-apart novella about the 14-year-old runaway is not alienating at all; it is, in fact, a strikingly realistic fairy tale interspersed with stories of men and women who find themselves adrift and lonely through no fault (or complete fault) of their own. The girl's story is so riveting, sweet, strange, and lumin The sentences in this collage of stories are almost painfully beautiful, and the strange structure, though alienating, makes a clear artistic point about alienation. Fortunately, the broken-apart novella about the 14-year-old runaway is not alienating at all; it is, in fact, a strikingly realistic fairy tale interspersed with stories of men and women who find themselves adrift and lonely through no fault (or complete fault) of their own. The girl's story is so riveting, sweet, strange, and luminous that I abandoned all chores for two days to keep reading about her, and while I felt the impatience other readers felt when I was made to enter the lives of characters who had less to hope for, there was something incredibly satisfying about seeing her find the one Angeleno whose love of beauty and simple kindness could make the world right.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

    An interesting choice to alternate chapters between a central story and unrelated short stories. A creative approach, but in the end felt as pointless as most of the forgettable short stories. Glimpses of genuine talent, but not enough to recommend you read it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    In She, author Michelle Latiolais writes: “... the problem was also Los Angeles, and you didn’t talk about being down and out in Los Angeles, it just wasn’t what anyone wanted to hear, realism, in a town where projections were the main industry.” L.A. is known to most as a fantasy land, a world of glitz and glamor. What’s real is buried beneath the billboards and botoxed faces that populate the city’s sprawl. In this collection - is it a collection? - of loosely connected stories, Latiolais peel In She, author Michelle Latiolais writes: “... the problem was also Los Angeles, and you didn’t talk about being down and out in Los Angeles, it just wasn’t what anyone wanted to hear, realism, in a town where projections were the main industry.” L.A. is known to most as a fantasy land, a world of glitz and glamor. What’s real is buried beneath the billboards and botoxed faces that populate the city’s sprawl. In this collection - is it a collection? - of loosely connected stories, Latiolais peels back L.A.’s superficial surface to reveal what’s true, what’s genuine, what’s real. “I took my leave this morning of everything I have ever known” admits our nameless protagonist, the “she” of She. Escaping a strict evangelical upbringing she arrives in Los Angeles with hardly anything but a pair of white tennis shoes, years of built up tension and a desire to release this tension. She’s a lost soul wandering in a town made up of them; the folks she interacts with throughout her short journey are nothing short of soulmates, albeit temporary ones. Latiolais weaves her primary narrative throughout She, countering this central tale with a hodgepodge of others, some connected to her protagonist, some not at all. The affect is middling, at times a bit disjointed; I found myself often wondering how certain characters fit into the story, until I realized She was more than about its title character. It’s a novel about alienation and the connectivity the alienated so desperately seek. It’s, in a sense, a novel about Los Angeles itself. After all what is L.A. other than a place the alienated go to escape, to connect, to “find themselves”? The she in She is everybody: naive, desperate, lonely and longing; she is both the realism and the projection. If anything, what Michelle Latiolais teaches us is that in a town like Los Angeles - and perhaps only in Los Angeles - one can’t have one without the other.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    Reading this collection reminded me how vulnerable we are as human beings and how, if we acknowledge this and accept that it is our responsibility to care about everyone in our chosen communities, therein lies our strength. What more could you ask for from fiction? Oh, and the book beautifully captures exactly how it feels to live in Los Angeles right now, giving voice to those whose lives generally go unnoticed behind the billboards.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Joel

    (Note: I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads.) The main narrative of this book concerns an unnamed teenage girl who has just fled a stultifying- not to mention abusive- religious upbringing by jumping on a bus to Los Angeles. We follow her, with no home and nobody to turn to, on a picaresque journey that spans her first day in the city. Her narrative is cut into pieces, though, and interspersed with stories about other people in or from Los Angeles, most of whom don't (Note: I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads.) The main narrative of this book concerns an unnamed teenage girl who has just fled a stultifying- not to mention abusive- religious upbringing by jumping on a bus to Los Angeles. We follow her, with no home and nobody to turn to, on a picaresque journey that spans her first day in the city. Her narrative is cut into pieces, though, and interspersed with stories about other people in or from Los Angeles, most of whom don't intersect with the main protagonist's story at all. People seem to have trouble deciding how to bin this book- is it a novel? a book of short stories?- but that's more a question about how we categorize things than about the book itself, so let's leave that aside. The striking thing about this book is how- despite occupying a dense urban environment with many millions of people- the characters are all very alone, walled off from everyone around them, anonymous in the crowd. The whys and hows of their isolation vary, but there's a sameness to it nonetheless, reinforced by the fact that every story has at least one unnamed female character- not always the main character- referred to only as "she". At the end of the book, when two characters do manage to connect- in a way which may actually be lasting- it feels like a rare and precious thing; and also a vulnerable, fragile thing. The author ends the story there, and the reader can only imagine how things turn out. It's a lovely, ambiguous book. Definitely recommended.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Allies Opinions

    To see my full review of this title and many others, check out my blog AlliesOpinions on Wordpress! She is the insightful tale of a fifteen year old girl escaping a life that was intolerable. She flees to Los Angeles where she flits through the city like a wraith through a variety of peoples lives. These people seem to have nothing in common but all have a yearning for something. An unfulfilled goal. She slips into their lives and takes crumbs of each encounter with her as she glides through the To see my full review of this title and many others, check out my blog AlliesOpinions on Wordpress! She is the insightful tale of a fifteen year old girl escaping a life that was intolerable. She flees to Los Angeles where she flits through the city like a wraith through a variety of peoples lives. These people seem to have nothing in common but all have a yearning for something. An unfulfilled goal. She slips into their lives and takes crumbs of each encounter with her as she glides through the best and worst of this giant city. Latiolais’ writing is introspective and charged with emotional turmoil. These are characters you will find yourself very invested in. From the first page, the reality around me faded and my mind guided me along with the story. I felt what She felt. I saw the dumpy apartment and the sugar flowers littering every surface. I could smell the old mans home and see his loneliness float in the air like dust motes. I could hear the murmur of voices at the art opening and feel the pretentiousness tighten the air. Latiolais has written a study of humanity. This story is intense and so beautiful in its rawness. This may well be one of my new favorite authors.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    A fifteen year old girl flees her abusive father for the streets of L.A. We see contemporary L.A. through the lens of a girl whose life has previously been shrouded within the confines of an extremely conservative religion upbringing. The book moves back and forth between the story of the girl's path and vignettes of other women lives. I loved this book so much. Latiolais is an incredible writer. The characters leap to life. Highly recommended!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Laura.125Pages

    This review was originally posted on www.125pages.com She sounded so great. A modern day Go Ask Alice where a 15 year-old runs from an abusive home to the mean streets of Los Angeles. A nameless everygirl, the titular she could have been a powerful literary figure that could have spoken to a generation. Unfortunately her story was interspersed with those of other nameless women inhabiting the city. Those other stories broke up the lovely narrative and confused the story. The plot of the main stor This review was originally posted on www.125pages.com She sounded so great. A modern day Go Ask Alice where a 15 year-old runs from an abusive home to the mean streets of Los Angeles. A nameless everygirl, the titular she could have been a powerful literary figure that could have spoken to a generation. Unfortunately her story was interspersed with those of other nameless women inhabiting the city. Those other stories broke up the lovely narrative and confused the story. The plot of the main story was fantastic; a young girl striking out on her own and depending on strangers for assistance. The other stories filling out the plot detracted from the main plot and muddied it rather than enhancing it. The writing of Michelle Latiolais was very good in the main sections where there was a coherent storyline. In the other shorts, it was looser and did not seem to match. The pacing was spot on in the main section and confusing in the others. The world built was very nebulous with few locations described. The emotions matched the rest of the sections, in the main story line they were great and I really felt with her and in the other stories had no connection. The characters in She were confusing. Due to no names being used, just the pronoun she, I was thrown off when the story turned from the main arc as I was not expecting it and thought it was still the main character. I was so evenly mixed on She. I really enjoyed the main arc, but was confused by the side stories. I liked the writing of Michelle Latiolais but could not wrap my brain around the changing plot and characters. I am not generally a lover of short stories for just this reason, I don't have the time to sink into the story and connect with the characters. I would recommend this for those that love shorts and know going in that the characters are not differentiated. Favorite lines - Was her mother even capable of worry? Was that love? Could that be love? Her mother resided so deeply inside that passivity she could not find who or what her mother was. Biggest cliché - I am an enigma.  Have you read She, or added it to your TBR?This book was most likely received free from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Larissa

    SHE is not what I expected, but altogether really lovely. A kaleidoscope of brilliant, broken, beautiful characters and situations: dentists, masseuses, botanists-turned-bakers, families in hospital waiting rooms, the rich and the empoverished, the lonely and the misunderstood. SHE, reading more like a novel, follows a nameless young girl running away from an abusive home on a journey toward a place she can finally belong. From the shock of a knife blade, to the quiet grief of an elderly widower SHE is not what I expected, but altogether really lovely. A kaleidoscope of brilliant, broken, beautiful characters and situations: dentists, masseuses, botanists-turned-bakers, families in hospital waiting rooms, the rich and the empoverished, the lonely and the misunderstood. SHE, reading more like a novel, follows a nameless young girl running away from an abusive home on a journey toward a place she can finally belong. From the shock of a knife blade, to the quiet grief of an elderly widower, to the gleeful abandon of masked wrestlers flinging caca, Latiolais paints a portrait of Los Angeles that makes SHE one of the most cohesive collections of short fiction I've ever read. When I recommend this book to others, it will be with a soft, warm fondness.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

    Sweet music in these stories.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Golda

    great collection of stories.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Siel Ju

    “You have to be able to be a little delusional to live, it seems to me, to be a little devil-may-care.” * Michelle’s story mostly follows a runaway teen girl through her first day in LA who tries to survive in Santa Monica by offering to do random little errands for rich people. Her story is intercut with chapters featuring other colorful LA characters, from a cake decoration artist to a volunteer at the LA Times Festival of Books. There was a part of me that wanted the stories to interconnect mor “You have to be able to be a little delusional to live, it seems to me, to be a little devil-may-care.” * Michelle’s story mostly follows a runaway teen girl through her first day in LA who tries to survive in Santa Monica by offering to do random little errands for rich people. Her story is intercut with chapters featuring other colorful LA characters, from a cake decoration artist to a volunteer at the LA Times Festival of Books. There was a part of me that wanted the stories to interconnect more, but I enjoyed the kaleidoscopic view of LA. It made me want to revisit all my old haunts in a state of nostalgia —

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

    I received this book free from Goodreads giveaways. This book is the story of a girl who runs away from her abusive home to the city. In between this story is a collection of short stories about different people. I read this book and it left me with a lot of questions but not in a good way. There was no closure to the story. I found this book just okay. I would really recommend it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sheryl

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Rather abrupt ending, but I was very much enjoying the stories.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sam Sattler

    She, the new short story collection from Michelle Latiolais, has a way of sneaking up on you. I have to admit that when I began reading the book I thought I had picked up a short novel about a runaway teenager fleeing to Los Angeles to escape her mentally abusive father. It was only three or four segments into the book that I realized that I was reading a book of short stories exploring diverse facets of life in that city. It is as if Los Angles is the main character in She, not the runaway we m She, the new short story collection from Michelle Latiolais, has a way of sneaking up on you. I have to admit that when I began reading the book I thought I had picked up a short novel about a runaway teenager fleeing to Los Angeles to escape her mentally abusive father. It was only three or four segments into the book that I realized that I was reading a book of short stories exploring diverse facets of life in that city. It is as if Los Angles is the main character in She, not the runaway we meet in the book’s initial pages. But, as it turns out, my initial impression of She was not completely wrong because Latiolais has so cleverly constructed the collection that, taken as a whole, it does read very much like a novel. Every other story in the collection shares the same title, "She," each of these following the young runaway's progress after she escapes Needles with a little help from a sympathetic bus driver and a few of her fellow passengers. The in-between stories, each individually titled, introduce other Los Angles residents, most of them struggling just as hard as the runaway to make a life for themselves in the big city. Some of these characters will cross paths with the girl (aka “She”), others will not. Read as a novel, She is a rather optimistic take on one girl's efforts to break free from the stifling life her harshly religious father is determined she will live. With some encouragement from her grandmother (who dies before the girl runs away), the girl finds the courage to strike out on her own for a place where she can become the person she wants to be - not the one her father wants her to be. And with the help of a few sympathetic souls, who in reality are struggling just as hard as she is to figure out who they are, she just might manage to do it. But there are also some outstanding stand-alone short stories in She, stories that serve to illuminate the dangers and quirks of this new world our young runaway has entered. Among my favorites is one titled "Gas" in which a young man flirts his way into the good graces of a long-legged beauty at an adjoining gas pump successfully enough to convince her to join him for a cup of coffee at the cafe across the street - with tragic consequences for the woman. Another favorite, "Parking," features the empathetic botanist who makes her living by almost perfectly replicating real flowers as cake decorations for a famous pastry chef who takes full credit for her key contribution to his expensive cakes. Even one of the "She" stories, taken on its own, will stay with me for a long time. In this one, the girl comes across an old lady sitting all alone at a bus stop shelter. When the old lady invites the runaway to sit beside her, the girl, who can barely stand the old woman's odor, is terrified by the thought that if she doesn't find a place to stay soon she will end up smelling as bad as the woman she can barely tolerate. I'm still taken with the image of that old woman and the portable paperback library she kept inside the wheeled-suitcase she was dragging around with her - and how willing she was to share her precious books with a stranger. She is a dark, moody look at a city of extremes, one in which some live almost unbelievable lives of luxury while others live day-to-day on the city's dirty streets. And none of them seem particularly happy to be where they are.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Esther Bradley-detally

    I received this book from Goodreads, a free giveaway, to read and review. I remember I picked it up and was intrigued by its beginnings, thinking is a novel. I was turned off by the interspersion of other short stories, and the book just slithered off my bed. I moved, couldn't find it, and just this week found it and started re-reading form the beginning. My suspicion is that authors get tired of the traditional and the short stories interspersed with the main characters meanderings caused me to I received this book from Goodreads, a free giveaway, to read and review. I remember I picked it up and was intrigued by its beginnings, thinking is a novel. I was turned off by the interspersion of other short stories, and the book just slithered off my bed. I moved, couldn't find it, and just this week found it and started re-reading form the beginning. My suspicion is that authors get tired of the traditional and the short stories interspersed with the main characters meanderings caused me to put this under nontraditional. That said, as I read along, I started to appreciate the fugue state, the lost and roaming states of all the characters as if they wee on escalators going off to audition characgters in Kafka's stories. She also had a Carveresque tone. Carver was bleakly funny. Latiolais shows the bleakness of wandering; homeless the most severe condition, and all the other characters equally lost to the point in their lives. it was intriguing. Ms. Latiolais is a very good writer, and I suspect she wanted to write in this form. I remember Toni Morrison jumping chapters in Sula which I adored. But as a reader I had to stretch my acceptance level. I was reminded of my reading Rob Grillet; can remember spelling. The same walking out on fogged air type of feeling in my brain. She captured the ethos of homelessness well, the magnitude of space, so many different worlds swirling around LA, all with a sense of lostness. (This past sentence is not well written, but it is the way people who really hoof around think and express themselves. I have taught Homeless Women creative wriging for the past 5-6 years, and a printed anthology and e-book/anthology came from our workshops. I prefer working with the underserved in this area. Homeless nips at our heels in my world. It's easy to get there. You don't have to be mentally ill or on drugs. But a day on the streets is not for the faint hearted. The author gets this side of society acutely. I appreciated reading this book, and have put "want to read" on several of her other books.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Naima

    ** I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley and W. W. Norton & Company in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the both of them. ** DNF @ 111/168 I think the worst part about this book is that I really wanted to enjoy it. I'm not saying that as a copout or anything- the first chapter had me hooked and I was completely ready to enjoy this narrative of a young girl running away from an abusive home. The issue was, was that it just became difficult to read. The writing was good, fa ** I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley and W. W. Norton & Company in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the both of them. ** DNF @ 111/168 I think the worst part about this book is that I really wanted to enjoy it. I'm not saying that as a copout or anything- the first chapter had me hooked and I was completely ready to enjoy this narrative of a young girl running away from an abusive home. The issue was, was that it just became difficult to read. The writing was good, fantastic, even, but it struggled from a heavy reliance on purple prose (trying to fill in the emptiness with fluffy language) and far too many characters. While not naming the main character, I assume, was to make her more relatable, all of the off-shoot chapters in between her story confused me whenever I came back to her narrative (especially since the women in those chapters aren't named as well). The book suffered from an extreme case of non-sequitur writing, and while, from the description, I thought it would be well-blended in with the story, I was practically dumped in an ice bath every time I was forced to adjust to another narrative. The issue with that is that I can not remember a single one of their stories. They weren't memorable, honestly, and, as a writer, you can't afford to have your reading trying to skip around twenty pages of your story just to get to the main plot again. That being said, the main plot was so lackluster that I often times just... set the ARC down and walked away. It's the main reason I dropped it- the plot is so skin-and-bones that nothing really happens. She meets someone, they help her a little, she leaves- lather, rinse, repeat. On top of a confusing set-up, I couldn't suffer myself to the very end. Three stars for good writing and what could've been a good main plot, if more attention had been put towards it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dirk

    Michelle Latiolais is, among many other things, painstakingly precise when it comes to word choice. The cover of this book provides a fine example: the title (one word), the author's name (two words), and, in cursive so small as to almost escape notice, the single word "fiction". That last word is innocuous and yet also anomalous, because, as is apparent from the criticism and confusion of a number of other reviewers, most readers expect creative narratives to be labeled by a pair of words, eith Michelle Latiolais is, among many other things, painstakingly precise when it comes to word choice. The cover of this book provides a fine example: the title (one word), the author's name (two words), and, in cursive so small as to almost escape notice, the single word "fiction". That last word is innocuous and yet also anomalous, because, as is apparent from the criticism and confusion of a number of other reviewers, most readers expect creative narratives to be labeled by a pair of words, either "a novel" or "short stories". This work, She, is not clearly one or the other, although it shares qualities with both. As in a novel, She has a main character, a 15-year-old anonymous runaway, who appears throughout the work, although intermittently, from beginning to end. Interspersed in her transit through Los Angeles are other scenes in which she/She does not appear, some of which involve characters who later cross paths with her while others do not. The reader who opens the cover of this book--or any other portal into life--expecting an either/or world is practically inviting disappointment. Cast off the expectation and you encounter in She the worlds of Los Angeles and Angelinos in various shocking, disturbing, gritty, strange, touching, surprising, thoughtful and thoughtless moments. Latiolais is an astute observer of the human condition in general and her characters in particular, in nuanced detail and with a care that is deeply heartfelt without pandering to sentimentality. Whatever She is, it is extraordinarily well done, although I take exception to the author's choice of "fiction". It's too faithful to life to think of as untrue.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cai

    Michelle Latiolais’ book SHE says on the cover “fiction” and I can see why. Calling it a novel would be a misnomer, and it is more cohesive than most short story collections. These stories are definitely linked, but so far the publishing industry does not seem to have a graceful word for that—or perhaps they’ve found no word they see as commercially viable. But this book is masterful under any rubric. It begins with a young woman who has left her highly religious and abusive home life in Needles Michelle Latiolais’ book SHE says on the cover “fiction” and I can see why. Calling it a novel would be a misnomer, and it is more cohesive than most short story collections. These stories are definitely linked, but so far the publishing industry does not seem to have a graceful word for that—or perhaps they’ve found no word they see as commercially viable. But this book is masterful under any rubric. It begins with a young woman who has left her highly religious and abusive home life in Needles, California, to come to Los Angeles where she knows no one and has no place to stay. Nor does she have any money to speak of. Her meanderings bring us into contact with a variety of people (mostly women) in the course of a day. One of the women who we visit several times is a biologist who has come to be the creator of detailed flowers for the cakes of a high-end baker. Some of the stories are standalone stories; all feature women as their central characters. What stands out about Latiolais’ work is her careful observation of everything (from the interactions between the characters to the details of street life in LA and Santa Monica), along with her understanding of the peregrinations of human thought. There is so much pain in these stories, and so much resolute moving on from that pain. Latiolais’ work deserves to be widely read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    This book surprised me in a positive way. I thought it would be a story about a teenager running away to LA with bumps, twists, turns, and a possible happy resolution or a sad outcome. Instead, I read a beautifully crafted portrayal about prototypical female wanderers--physically moving from one location to another, a woman going about her day anonymously when an accident occurs witnessed by passerbys who happened to be at that spot on that day in that second. The runaway girl is never named; th This book surprised me in a positive way. I thought it would be a story about a teenager running away to LA with bumps, twists, turns, and a possible happy resolution or a sad outcome. Instead, I read a beautifully crafted portrayal about prototypical female wanderers--physically moving from one location to another, a woman going about her day anonymously when an accident occurs witnessed by passerbys who happened to be at that spot on that day in that second. The runaway girl is never named; there are pieces of dialogue that don't congeal to make a full paragraph and I was left wondering what to believe. The sense of alienation is emphasized by the chapters which are, in a sense, short stories tied together by virtue of their brokenness which felt like deep emotional shards flying through the pages. In my mind, the Beatles' Eleanor Rigby song became a sort of anthem. Reading this prompted me and continues to prompt me to look at all the people who come and go into and out of my line of vision with more recognition of shared humanity. Is that woman waiting to cross the street harboring some intense yearning, joy, sorrow? I will never know and so we walk along often unaware of the mortality of our lives.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    ‘She’ is an odd little book, neither novel nor short stories. Nameless women populate the chapters-stories? – with one girl, a fifteen year old runaway from a strict, abusive, fundamentalist family wandering in and out throughout the book. She has no idea what Los Angeles is like, but manages to have a charmed arrival, encountering good people who wish her no harm- which strikes me as very unrealistic. One woman faces cancer; another knows her husband has yet another girlfriend, and this one may ‘She’ is an odd little book, neither novel nor short stories. Nameless women populate the chapters-stories? – with one girl, a fifteen year old runaway from a strict, abusive, fundamentalist family wandering in and out throughout the book. She has no idea what Los Angeles is like, but manages to have a charmed arrival, encountering good people who wish her no harm- which strikes me as very unrealistic. One woman faces cancer; another knows her husband has yet another girlfriend, and this one may be serious; her friend makes elegant, super realistic floral cake decorations yet is low paid for them and the baker she sells to claims to make them himself. One woman meets a man at the gas station who flirts with her and asks her to have coffee with him; the result of her decision there is horrifying. There is no time in these vignettes to get a deep feeling for these women. We see them pass by but they don’t linger, although the end story gives us the feeling that a longer chapter may be starting. Kind of an enjoyable read but sort of fluffy.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joy Wilson

    A collection of short stories about many "anonymous" or "everyday" women in Los Angeles. The main story is of a young girl escaping abuse by running away to LA. She is not nearly afraid enough due to her naïveté, but her story and the people she encounters is the main arc of the book. While the ending is not what I might have hoped for in terms of resolution, it is a very fitting end in this book. The other chapters flesh out other women and their daily lives which are filled with fear, hope, jo A collection of short stories about many "anonymous" or "everyday" women in Los Angeles. The main story is of a young girl escaping abuse by running away to LA. She is not nearly afraid enough due to her naïveté, but her story and the people she encounters is the main arc of the book. While the ending is not what I might have hoped for in terms of resolution, it is a very fitting end in this book. The other chapters flesh out other women and their daily lives which are filled with fear, hope, joy, and tragedy but these are the stories of everyday people who have their own everyday struggles. None of the characters are named as they are all called "she". The author has painted stories that could be from any woman, and yet are uniquely each characters own. I really did enjoy the stories and I was sad that they ended all to quickly.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Ayala

    I loved the actual story that was here, but I was thoroughly confused about the short stories that interspersed the core one. They didn't seem to add anything to the main plot, let alone anything substantive. It honestly kind of made me think that the author was trying to showcase her writing; let us know that she's successful as both a novelist and as a short story writer. It's a short easy read, though. It should have only taken me a day but I had a busy weekend and didn't get to read as much I loved the actual story that was here, but I was thoroughly confused about the short stories that interspersed the core one. They didn't seem to add anything to the main plot, let alone anything substantive. It honestly kind of made me think that the author was trying to showcase her writing; let us know that she's successful as both a novelist and as a short story writer. It's a short easy read, though. It should have only taken me a day but I had a busy weekend and didn't get to read as much as I would have liked. It's worth picking up, just maybe know to expect a lot of deviations away from the main portion. I won this in a First Reads giveaway, yay!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mrs. Palmer

    I had to make a new shelf for this one, and I think it's a genre of sorts-LA is magical. I love stories about Hollywood and California, and this one, while not at all about the glitz and glam of Hollywood, is about LA and all of its quirks and personalities and characters. It takes place mostly in Santa Monica, a place that I have been to a handful of times. I have a special affection for it. The actual story is about a girl-nameless-She-who leaves her abusive family to start a new in the city o I had to make a new shelf for this one, and I think it's a genre of sorts-LA is magical. I love stories about Hollywood and California, and this one, while not at all about the glitz and glam of Hollywood, is about LA and all of its quirks and personalities and characters. It takes place mostly in Santa Monica, a place that I have been to a handful of times. I have a special affection for it. The actual story is about a girl-nameless-She-who leaves her abusive family to start a new in the city of lights. There's not much of a plot and it reads in some ways as one of those meandering writing experiment style books but it hit the spot for me. I read it in an afternoon/evening.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Dean

    I won this ARC in a Goodreads contest. This is more a compilation of short stories, rather than a novel. I found the story about the main character very intriguing and I wish more of the story had focused around her. Often the story would jump into another character and I had to go back and re-read to figure out where they came into the story. The details and tone that the author uses are excellent. I would have enjoyed this more had it flowed better and had she delved more into the main charact I won this ARC in a Goodreads contest. This is more a compilation of short stories, rather than a novel. I found the story about the main character very intriguing and I wish more of the story had focused around her. Often the story would jump into another character and I had to go back and re-read to figure out where they came into the story. The details and tone that the author uses are excellent. I would have enjoyed this more had it flowed better and had she delved more into the main character.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Blaise Morita

    She: Fiction captures the tale of an anonymous teenage runaway dealing with the concrete jungle that is Los Angeles. Encompassing the vastness and ambiguous hierarchies that marks the historical makeup of Southern California. Author Michelle Latiolais strives to paint a portrait of the search for identity in a land where true identity can be hard to come by. *Review to be updated upon receipt and completion of book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    * I won an advanced reader copy in a goodreads giveaway The main plot of this book was good, I was interested, but the alternating short stories within felt like they were trying too hard to be edgy. The dialogue felt awkward and stilted in most places (hopefully fixed before final release!). There were glimpses of good writing and enough for me to finish, but not enough for me to say I liked this book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Pattie Nauheimer Ekman

    Rather than a novel, this is a series of related short stories/vignettes. And I normally don't like that kind of book. This was intriguing though as the author wove the stories together. The common thread is a teen runaway who finds her way to LA. She encounters several people and the interconnectedness of their lives is the point of this book. Parts were really interesting, parts were quite forgettable.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    ARC provided by W.W. Norton & Company and NetGalley I found this book to be a bit of a mixed-bag. I liked the concept of the unnamed females and their stories, but it ended up making their voices a little indistinct. At times I could see how this was useful in showing the shared experiences of these women when they're coming from very different backgrounds, but it meant that it was at times a little flat.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Adrienne

    Alternating chapters about a young girl, She, escaping to Los Angeles, fleeing an abusive father and interesting Angelinos and their stories. Not sure I felt the stories tied in as well as the stories in Olive Kitteridge, almost felt like the author had a short novel and then these short stories that she interspersed in between to make it longer. Well written.

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