Book Review: Zoe Zolbrod’s “The Telling”

By J.Z. Manley
the telling

“I am a girl, a female, always in danger of assault,” writes Zoe Zolbrod, quoting Sylvia Plath in her memoir, The Telling, a raw examination of the author’s emotional ambiguity in the aftermath of her sexual abuse. Zoe is four when her cousin, Toshi, first enters her room in the middle of the night and presses his fingers against her crotch. The abuse continues over the next year, but Zoe doesn’t tell anyone until she’s twelve, and even then, she’s not sure whether she’s been traumatized by it or not, whether she’s a victim or not. She uses the word molested, “Because it’s a big deal, right? The happening of it? The naming it? Or is it not?” Can trauma affect her life without completely defining it? Is she strange for thinking this way?

When You’re Somewhere in the Middle: A Review of Jim Gavin’s “Middle Men”

BY CYNTHIA ROMANOWSKI

Nobody dreams about selling toilets when they grow up. It’s something that happens because something else didn’t happen—at least that’s what the young characters in Jim Gavin’s Middle Men might believe. Most of Gavin’s male protagonists are trying to do something, whether the goal is to get a basketball scholarship, find the girl that left, or just get a laugh or two at open mic night. Gavin’s characters are destined to come up short.

On Our Radar: Hum, Stories by Michelle Richmond

by Heather Scott Partington

Hum, Stories by Michelle Richmond
Fiction Collective Two in association with The University of Alabama Press
Trade paper, 168 pages

Michelle Richmond’s Hum is a collection of stories about men and women who are wanting. Like the constant buzz that emanates from the locked second bedroom of the couple in the title story, each Richmond character feels desire in a constant vibration; a sharp undercurrent to his or her actions. They get what they want for moments only, then ache for things they don’t have, striving not to acknowledge their own yearning. Richmond’s stories are humorous yet sad, toeing the line short stories often do, the one between odd and revealing.