cover image We Love Anderson Cooper

We Love Anderson Cooper

R.L. Maizes. Celadon, $25 (176p) ISBN 978-1-250-30407-0

Maizes depicts characters who feel ostracized from their peers under an array of circumstances in her delightfully eclectic debut collection. In the title story, a boy comes out as gay during his bar mitzvah speech. “Yiddish Lessons” tells the tale of a young Orthodox Jewish girl whose desperate need for attention leads her to commit a horrible act involving a young child. In “The Infidelity of Judah Maccabee,” the protagonist is jealous of his cat’s affection toward his wife. Maizes excels in humanizing the characters through their occasionally self-destructive flaws. Tattoo artist Trey lets his obsession with outward appearance destroy lives in the magical realism–inflected “Tattoo.” In “No Shortage of Birds,” middle-schooler Charlotte allows her jealousy of her mother’s new pet to fill her with violent resentment. United under the loose common theme of isolation, the stories meld together nicely, giving the collection a satisfying cumulative feel. Maizes’s direct manner of storytelling and her imperfect yet unmistakably human characters are sure to win over readers.[em] (July) [/em]