Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
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)
"Let's Do, has been selected by judge, Pete Fromm, as the winner of the 2005 Anne Powers Book-length Fiction Award sponsored by the Council for Wisconsin Writers."
Council for Wisconsin Writers
New talent soars in 9 stories
A kiss laced with arsenic, "Let's Do" marks the notable debut of Wisconsin's own Rebecca Meacham, who teaches creative writing, literature and women's studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
Sometimes comic, sometimes upsetting, and always heartbreaking, these nine stories concern ordinary Midwestern characters dealing with extraordinary pain.
"Let's Do" won the 2004 Katherine Anne Porter Prize and has been selected for the Spring 2005 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Program. And it's no wonder - these good, powerful stories mark the unveiling of a major talent.
Special to The Capital Times, April 11, 2005
The stories in Let’s Do, Rebecca Meacham’s debut collection, are complex, poignant, and often funny. Jonis Agee, who selected Let’s Do as the winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction, describes the stories collected herein as "deliciously subversive, brave, and outrageous." This is an apt description, and one that could easily apply to the characters Meacham portrays in her work. Lonely ex-wives and widows, grieving parents, well-meaning drunks, and not-so-well-meaning stalkers-the breadth of characters and themes gathered in Let’s Do is simply remarkable. Like all great first collections-one calls to mind Lorrie Moore’s Self Help-nothing is off limits in these pages, and nothing is taboo.
Mid-American Review, Volume XXV-Number 2
Meacham explores the familiar terrain of love and loss in her debut story collection, but her distinctive voice charges these nine stories with an intriguing combination of sardonic humor and emotional depth. In the sharply funny "Trim and Notions," a newly pregnant teacher tries to find her balance after the baby's father leaves her and she negotiates the process of introducing her new addition to her erratic, flighty sister and straitlaced mother. In the much soberer "Weights and Measures," Meacham frames the harrowing story of a teenage girl's descent into bulimia after her parent's separation as a series of steps in a macabre, ironic how-to guide. Breakups and impending splits are frequent plot elements: in "The Assignment," a photographer's athletic girlfriend asks him to replicate the circumstances of her attack after a near-mugging, and the request brings his penchant for jealousy and stalking to the surface; in "Good Fences," a struggling suburban couple moves to the country and the husband faces unlikely temptation in the form of a destitute but comely neighbor. The balance between dialogue and exposition remains impeccable throughout, and Meacham's well-drawn, quirky characters help add definition to the spare narrative lines. Several of the stories dealing with loss fall into a similar pattern, but this is a strong debut from a writer who has just begun to scratch the surface of her talent. (Dec.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.