True Tales of Lust and Love

Edited by Anna David. Soft Skull (PGW, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-59376-538-5
While there is no shortage of books about the pleasures and perils of dating in the 21st century, David’s all-female collection stands out from the crowd. Based on a popular storytelling show that plays bars and clubs around Los Angeles, featuring writers such as Emma Straub, Laura House, Samantha Dunn, and Alison Agosti, all of the essays are smart, witty, unusual, and yet still (perhaps unfortunately, in some cases) relatable. The collection is divided into three sections: “Casual Sex,” “Dating,” and “Love—or Something Like It.” Humor and awkwardness feature throughout, but there is enough sweetness, especially in the latter two sections, sprinkled in to inspire even the most jaded to take a second look at their list of potential mates. Among the best stories are Agosti’s “Sex Playlist” (it’s hard not to laugh out loud at an awkward sex scene involving 12 different versions “Stand by Me”); Sara Benincasa’s “The Kid”; Sara Barron’s “The Clown”; Dunn’s “The Republican” (arguably the sweetest in the entire collection); Vanessa Marshall’s “Fresh Step”; and House’s “My Very Own Stripper.” None of the stories here fall flat; it’s a hysterical and touching read perfect for young women still figuring out their way in the dating world, though recommended for everyone. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/21/2013
Release date: 01/01/2014
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