Mothers, Tell Your Daughters

Bonnie Jo Campbell. Norton, $25.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-393-24845-6
After 2011’s novel Once upon a River, National Book Award–finalist Campbell returns to the realm of food stamps, liquored nights, and deadbeat men in an aptly titled short story collection populated by beleaguered mothers and their tetchy, trouble-courting offspring. In “To You, as a Woman,” a gang-rape victim and single mother laments her later irresponsible choices and contemplates the fate of her two young children while waiting for STD lab results. The paranoid maternal figure in “Tell Yourself” drives away her new beau after wrongfully accusing him of showing an interest in her teenage daughter. In “My Dog Roscoe,” a hormonal and pregnant new bride imagines her dead ex-fiancé inhabiting the soul of a stray dog in need of adoption. The title story unfolds as a sprint-down-memory-lane rant from a hospice-bound, cancer-ridden woman to her daughter. “Forgive me, even if I can’t say I’m sorry,” she says—an apology uttered in one way or another by many of the mothers in this collection. Campbell has made a career chronicling the triumphs and hardships of the perpetually marginalized, with an acute talent for airing the dirty laundry of tough-as-nails, ill-treated women. And though this new batch traverses similar territory instead of, perhaps, something new, most of the stories succeed so thoroughly that it’s hard not to think: if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/03/2015
Release date: 10/01/2015
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-393-24846-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-62231-978-7
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-393-35326-6
Show other formats
Discover what to read next