Boys and Girls Like You and Me: Stories
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Boys and Girls Like You and Me: Stories

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by Aryn Kyle
     
 

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ARYN KYLE, whose award-winning novel The God of Animals was hailed as "reason for readers to rejoice" (USA Today), turns her gift for storytelling to the lives of girls and women in this spectacular collection. These eleven stories showcase Kyle’s keen eye for character, her humor, and her uncanny grasp of the loneliness, selfishness, and longing

Overview

ARYN KYLE, whose award-winning novel The God of Animals was hailed as "reason for readers to rejoice" (USA Today), turns her gift for storytelling to the lives of girls and women in this spectacular collection. These eleven stories showcase Kyle’s keen eye for character, her humor, and her uncanny grasp of the loneliness, selfishness, and longing that underlie female experience.

In "Nine," a young girl given to exaggeration escapes a humiliating ninth birthday celebration with the help of her father’s new girlfriend. The dubious benefits of sleeping with one’s boss are revealed when a bookstore manager defends an employee from an irate customer in the hilarious "Sex Scenes from a Chain Bookstore." A raid on a neighbor’s meth lab strengthens the unlikely friendship between a solitary woman and a Goth teenage girl in "Boys and Girls Like You and Me." And in a notable exception to the rule, "Captain’s Club" features a boy whose devotion to a lonely woman transforms his cruise vacation.

In moments electric with sudden harmony or ruthless indifference, the girls and women in this collection provoke, beguile, and entertain. Writing with remarkable tenderness and wisdom, Kyle gives us a collection radiant with bittersweet revelations and startling insights, and secures her reputation as a major young talent.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This sure-to-please collection by Kyle (The God of Animals) probes the frequently wrongheaded choices girls and young women make to feel happy and loved. Girls growing up with fathers whose wives have vanished, girls perilously desirous of acceptance, young women enthralled by unsuitable men: these are the characters inhabiting Kyle's low-key tales. In “Nine,” the young protagonist tells elaborate lies to deflect the pain of her mother's absence, though her attempts at befriending her father's new girlfriend go terribly awry. “Allegiance” depicts the ruthless extent the new girl will go to get invited to a sleepover party held by the popular girls, especially as her mother offers suggestions for tormenting the weak. Similarly, in “Brides,” the new girl in the high school play learns how to ingratiate herself with the lead and the pervy theater teacher. Meanwhile, dallying with married men only brings grief to smart women, as in “Sex Scenes from a Chain Bookstore” and the moving title story. There's no shortage of heartache, and Kyle's varied approaches to it consistently reveals new ways of feeling bad. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
The complex emotional lives of women and girls are explored in this riveting collection. Betrayal as the weapon of choice for the female of the species is a recurring theme in these 11 free-standing stories. In "Brides," a teen appearing in a high-school production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers gets used by both the ruthless leading lady and the drama teacher besotted with her. "Allegiance" features a young British-born girl who, after moving to an American suburb with her troubled parents, gets an unforgettable lesson in the costs-and rewards-of becoming a mean girl. Self-destruction, too, has its place in Kyle's world as Lilly, the bright but unhappy young woman at the center of "Company of Strangers," exemplifies. On the day her father dies, she takes her brother's children to a theme restaurant and ends up in a kinky clinch with their pirate-costumed waiter, while the kids are in the next room. There is also the hard-drinking underachiever of the title story who hides out in a dead-end town waiting for her married boyfriend to come visit, only to be shocked out of her lethargy by an unlikely friendship with her troubled teen neighbor. The most conventionally hopeful story is told from an adolescent boy's point of view, as he comes of age (but not like that) during an incredibly awkward cruise vacation in "Captain's Club." Throughout, Kyle (The God of Animals, 2007) shows a talent for exposing the hurt at the heart of our worst impulses. And she doesn't judge. Her haunting characters, with their vulnerability and cruelty, live on in the imagination. A strange, darkly humorous trip into the female psyche.
From the Publisher
"[A] sure-to-please collection....There's no shortage of heartache, and Kyle's varied approaches to it consistently reveals new ways of feeling bad." —Publishers Weekly
Library Journal
Ever been the new girl at school? Know anyone who had an affair with a married man who kept promising he would leave his wife and didn't? Met women stuck in dead-end marriages who pin their hopes on their daughters? These are just some of the situations faced by the characters in this collection from Kyle, best-selling author of The God of Animals. In "Economics," a young college student takes a part-time job to make ends meet. She is hired by Red but really works for his daughter, Amy. Red thinks his daughter is a stellar business student, not knowing that the narrator is covering for her. Reality hits hard in "A Lot Like Fun" when Leigh lives the high life with her husband only to find out one day that he has left her. She turns to teaching second grade and trying to find love again. This book is filled with stories of women and girls trying to fit into society and find love and happiness. VERDICT Kyle has written an engaging collection of tales. Fans of Lorrie Moore or Alice Munro's short stories will find much to appreciate in these moments of female experience. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/09.]—Robin Nesbitt, Columbus Metropolitan Lib., OH

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416594819
Publisher:
Scribner
Publication date:
04/05/2011
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
1,131,786
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"[A] sure-to-please collection....There's no shortage of heartache, and Kyle's varied approaches to it consistently reveals new ways of feeling bad." —-Publishers Weekly

Meet the Author

Aryn Kyle is the author of the bestselling novel The God of Animals and a graduate of the University of Montana writing program. Her short stories have appeared in Ploughshares, The Georgia Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Best New American Voices 2005, Best American Short Stories 2007, and The Atlantic Monthly, for which her story "Foaling Season" won a National Magazine Award. She is also the recipient of the American Library Association's Alex Award, the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’Award, and others. She lives in New York.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Missoula, Montana
Date of Birth:
January 22, 1978
Place of Birth:
Peoria, Illinois
Education:
B.A., Colorado State University, 2001; M.F.A. in Fiction, University of Montana, 2003

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Boys and Girls Like You and Me 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TimBaldwin More than 1 year ago
Aryn Kyle’s Boys and Girls Like You and Me is the female perspective within our post modern world. This collection of short stories is a must read for anyone interested in the trials and trivialities of the female adolescent and beyond, attempting to make sense of this world. Kyle keeps the reader glued to the pages through the emotional familiarities she establishes that are brutally realistic. Even I, as a male reader, felt an empathetic connection to the characters, while adding a new perspective of what it can mean to be a female. The many themes of love, coming-of-age, rebellion, hatred, beauty and dysfunction rings through as the reader proceeds through the stories. Kyle creates a tone for each story in order to keep variety and to present each character – or lack of character – with a new set of experience, strife, and personality. This undoubtedly keeps the reader anticipating what the next story will hold. No need to have handy the dictionary for this one, Kyle uses diction for effect not as an sophomoric utensil to wow the reader. The characters voice – or tears – is created largely created through descriptions of the particular scene and through the thought dialogue of the characters. This allows the reader to visualize not only the setting but feel as if he/she is right there next to the character. You can feel the tension when the protagonist is unnerved or you can feel the awkwardness between a distant mother and her daughter, as in the end of Allegiance. Although this book is easy to read through, I would caution readers younger than the high school age to read this, as it does have some pretty crude and sexually explicit descriptions. However, literature is an art form that reveals the reality in which we live just as any painting does, so who am I to sensor this book. Now, back from a tangent, Boys and Girls Like You and Me does not need to force its way into the shelf next to books that address the struggle to cope with society – like Catcher in the Rye – but is welcomed and mingles nicely among the classics. This book is a piece of true modern literature that illustrates what goes on behind the eyelids of females and the cause and effect that plays a large part in their actions. Kyle also paints a picture of school dynamic in a way that is both alarmingly accurate and begs many questions, asking: what is wrong with our society to allow such social battering?! So, the only way to get a feel for what I am talking about is to pick up Aryn Kyle’s Boys and Girls Like You and Me and read just one of the short stories. This book leaves you with the undeniable truth about what it means to grow up in this modern world and will provoke you to look deeper into the actions and emotions of those that surround you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
msteachCO More than 1 year ago
Aryn brings to life the trials and tribulations of adolescence and young adulthood. The short stories are thought-provoking and remind the reader of his/her own coming of age experiences.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago