Let's Do is a deeply unsettling -- yet always engrossing -- first collection of stories. With stunning translucence, Meacham dissects emotional terrain that is intimate and familiar in characters marked more by loss than good fortune. Estelle, in the title story, used to be "the kind of girl who looked forward to things." Years later, jettisoned by her husband after the death of their infant son, she wonders how she arrived at a point in her life where there are no longer beginnings, just endings.
While the women in Let's Do are hard on themselves, they're also without self-pity. They weather life's quotidian tragedies with grit and determination. But it's not just Meacham's women who are wounded. Bill, in "Good Fences," newly retired and vaguely unhappy, ponders where a line has been crossed after meeting his new neighbor, a young single mother. For other men, like Carter in "The Assignment," such reflection turns malevolent when his girlfriend, frightened by a near-assault, demands that he attack her so that next time she'll be better prepared.
Meacham's stories have a novel's heft; crafted with immediacy and candor, they reveal her uncanny precision in locating those points from which to propel her characters to a different and unexpected place -- a place where there's no second-guessing, and all bets are off. (Spring 2005 Selection)