Various Men Who Knew Us as Girls

Overview

Would her life have been better if she'd had sex with her supervisor when she was 23? Hester Smith is a woman who always played life near the sidelines-until she decides to rescue a teenage Mexican prostitute. She's up against the border sex trade in Southern California that works like a drug cartel, where the smuggled contraband is teenage girls forced to work as prostitutes in undeveloped canyons just outside suburbia. Law enforcement agencies know it happens, as do investigative journalists, yet the illegal ...
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Overview

Would her life have been better if she'd had sex with her supervisor when she was 23? Hester Smith is a woman who always played life near the sidelines-until she decides to rescue a teenage Mexican prostitute. She's up against the border sex trade in Southern California that works like a drug cartel, where the smuggled contraband is teenage girls forced to work as prostitutes in undeveloped canyons just outside suburbia. Law enforcement agencies know it happens, as do investigative journalists, yet the illegal sex trade continues to exist. Most people, comfortable in their homes only miles away, express some brand of shock in the moment they hear about it-and then they go on with their lives, assured there's nothing they can do.

While she prepares for the rescue, Hester discovers that the man with whom she almost had an affair-her mentor when she was a 23 year-old student teacher-had been simultaneously having a sexual relationship with a 16 year-old student. Hester mines her own memories of the would-be affair and ultimately tracks down the former 16 year-old. When these two women with a shared scandal in their pasts confront one another, the meeting coincides with the last step necessary to rescue the teenage prostitute Hester has tried to protect. It is only this mayhem that allows Hester to finally take ownership of her decisions and regrets.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Cris Mazza takes no prisoners—and we wouldn’t want it any other way. Powerful, provocative, this novel is a complex blend of first-person narrative, journal entries, letters, newspaper articles, and the richly imagined life-of-another, all steered by a fully conscious narrator who interrogates her past, the nature of memory, desire, social conscience, jealousy, responsibility, regret. The result is a compelling read that pulls us backwards and forwards through time, causing us to reconsider everything we thought we knew about sexual politics and oppression. Various Men Who Knew Us As Girls will make you uneasy, in all the best ways of fiction.”

—Rilla Askew, author of Kind of Kin

“Cris Mazza has interwoven the stories of three contemporary women—one tempted, one involved, and one enslaved—in a fiercely honest novel about the continuum from flirtation to abuse. The story is feminist in the best sense. It wipes aside the pieties around the subject of harassment to probe the multiple realities of desire.”

—Janet Burroway

“It's not just the title that's provocative. The genius of Cris Mazza is to overturn every applecart she can reach. This is one of her finest moments.”

—Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Devil’s Highway and Into the Beautiful North

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780975362389
  • Publisher: Emergency Press
  • Publication date: 1/10/2011
  • Pages: 282
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Cris Mazza is the author of over a dozen books, including Trickle-Down Timeline, Waterbaby, and Is It Sexual Harassment Yet?. A native of Southern California, Mazza grew up in San Diego County. She currently lives 50 miles west of Chicago and is a professor in the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Find out more at cris-mazza.com.

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