Always Happy Hour

Mary Miller. Liveright, $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-63149-218-1
In Miller’s stellar new collection of stories, a series of women who are struggling to figure out their lives must learn to cope with unsatisfying relationships and complicated friendships. All of the stories feature intimate, first-person narration from a woman who is in some form of trouble. In the title story, a college composition teacher has trouble maintaining her relationship with her boyfriend, mainly because they both drink heavily and he has a young son. In another story, “First Class,” a young woman tags along on expensive trips with her wealthy, bored friend even though neither of them especially want to be together. “Big Bad Love” concerns a narrator who works at a shelter for abused children. She cares about the neglected kids and dotes on one of them in particular, hoping the child will remember that someone loved her once. The women in these stories worry about their weight, how they look in bikinis, if they will ever have children, and whether they are living the life they should be. Miller’s collection feels so true because it never glosses over the desperate or unflattering portrayals of its narrators, but neither does it exploit their faults. These stories acutely explore boyfriends, exes, poor choices, and the sad fallout of so many doomed relationships. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 09/05/2016
Release date: 01/10/2017
MP3 CD - 978-1-5200-7299-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-5200-7265-4
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-63149-397-3
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-63149-219-8
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