cover image Throw Like a Girl: Stories

Throw Like a Girl: Stories

Jean Thompson, . . Simon & Schuster, $13 (291pp) ISBN 978-1-4165-4182-0

The women protagonists of Thompson's hard-hitting latest collection of stories (The Gasoline Wars ; 1999 NBA finalist Who Do You Love ) have, like the young army wife of "It Would Not Make Me Tremble to See Ten Thousand Fall," secret plans to wrest control of their life from husbands, boyfriends and mothers. Kelly Ann Pardee, a high school dropout stuck at home with a child while her army grunt husband is sent to the Middle East, wants to be a warrior, too. The teenage Jessie in "The Five Senses" has run off to Florida with an older man she is beginning to realize is violent and scary, and yet she is disappointed that her new fugitive existence isn't more exciting than her upper-middle-class life. Older women in these stories have been through the mill—of marriage, adultery, child-rearing. Mid-40s Melanie of "A Normal Life" marries Chad after a long affair, only to wonder if this new version of her lover is one she wants. In "Holy Week," seething sales agent Olivia Snow is too worn down by her job and single mom drudgery to upgrade her "subemployed musician" boyfriend or realize how at risk her 17-year-old daughter is. Thompson's talent is on full display. (June)