O Street: Stories

Corrina Wycoff, Author . OV $17.95 (145p) ISBN 978-0-9767177-2-0

Wycoff works over an idée fixe in her debut collection, 10 stories about a young woman's difficult transition to adulthood after an abusive childhood. Most of the stories catch fragile protagonist Beth at a precarious moment in her unlucky life: from the fatherless childhood spent in Jersey City tenements and ramshackle motels ("Where We're Going This Time") to graduating from high school and fleeing at 17 to Chicago. She returns five years later, in "The Wrong Place in the World," upon receiving (bogus, she later learns) news of her mother's terminal illness. Beth is poised in each story for monstrous disappointment orchestrated by her manipulative and mentally ill mother, Angela, who blames Beth for ruining her life. "September 1981" chronicles Angela's downward trajectory, and the eerily parallel "Afterbirth" delineates Beth's own struggle with single motherhood after having gotten pregnant while prostituting herself at a Days Inn. Other stories develop Beth's failed lesbian relationships, and the title story exposes Beth's damage: a gang rape as a teenager at the hands of her mother's stoned boyfriends. Over and over these degradations and disappointments are sounded like elements in therapy, and the result is a straightforward look at pain and renewal. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 01/08/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
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