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To Begin Again

4.5 of 5 stars 4.50  ·  rating details  ·  38 ratings  ·  16 reviews
2011 Next Generation Indie Book Award WINNER, Short Fiction.
2011 Readers Favorite Award WINNER, Women's Fiction

To Begin Again is a collection of short stories and narrative essays. Each piece herein focuses on those small decisions that can, often unexpectedly, lead to monumental transitions in a person's life.

Knox examines the beauty of unexpected and unconventional roma
Paperback, 139 pages
Published February 28th 2011 by All Things That Matter Press (first published February 18th 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 715)
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David Katzman
Jen Knox has written a short story collection that unveils the souls of its characters through simple vignettes and everyday experiences. She finds a kind of painful poetry in the mundane choices we make, or the paths we find ourselves stumbling down as the result of decisions we didn't even realize we were making.

Even when her characters speak rationally, they seem driven by emotions of which they aren't fully aware. There is an admirable lightness of touch on display here, no showboating, no
Jen Knox
Sep 01, 2011 Jen Knox added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: wrote, short-stories, 2011

In this book, I attempt to capture those pivotal moments that we (powerful word, we, I know) can all look back on in our lives; those moments that prove that sometimes the small decisions lead to the most monumental transitions. Stories and narrative essays from this collection have been published in Annalemma, Bananafish, Flashquake, Superstition Review, and elsewhere.

Some of the stories:

In “Soft like Snow”, a young girl thinks about running away from an abusive home, but as she reflects upon
Jenny O.
Knox's To Begin Again sizzles and crackles with the stuff of life.

I've been guilty of gravitating to mostly popular novels. A great number of them are watered down versions of writing, cotton candy visions wrapped in saccharine adjectives and banal adverbs.

This collection of short stories and essays made my fingers tingle and my feet fidget. I always have a physical reaction to excellent prose; it is something to which I have never been able to become desensitized. But Knox's stories were diff
A reflective, compelling, and evocative collection of short stories.
The first story in the collection really drew me in. It's a story that makes you question human nature and really makes you think. After reading that I was sure I was in for a very interesting journey reading this anthology. All of the stories have a 'fly on the wall' feel to them, as if you are watching events unfold that you would not usually be made privy to. I use the word 'watch' as it really felt to me as I read Jen Knox's
Melissa Studdard
To Begin Again, by Jen Knox, is an exercise in virtuosity, with Knox demonstrating mastery of every literary instrument. This collection, comprised of both essays and short stories of varying lengths, exhibits equal comfort in both genres, as well as incredible skill with the many elements of craft. Knox’s handling of plot and characterization is both natural and compelling, as page after page brings new insight and fresh surprise. Just like the people we know in our own lives, these characters ...more
Robert Rubenstein
Mar 08, 2011 Robert Rubenstein rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: young adults-adults
Before Jen Knox becomes a cult figure, I want to get up to the plate and take a few choice swings. I want to go to an outdoor beer fest, a barbecue on Fourth of July at places where men still pat their little girl’s behind and mom’s dream of reality T.V. female truckers. I want to follow a desperate young lady who is going far away with the cash receipts rather than face the promise of being in the grip of her would be boss's lecherous arms—there are mother and daughter reunions with tight fists ...more
Kenneth Weene
Jen Knox is a writer of lyrical beauty and great sensitivity. This book of short fiction kept me fascinated and haunted. The theme of restarting ones life resonates in the soul. I highly recommend and hope that she will provide us more great reading in the future.
Meg Tuite
This is one of the most exciting collections I've read in years!!! I was unable to put it down! And I keep it with me now for inspiration when I write!!! Jen Knox gives us real situations that we are pulled into with such compassion for the characters and insight into the internal world as well as a twist of the external throwing us new light on every story we read!!! I highly recommend you picking up a copy of this outstanding collection, "To Begin Again." I immediately bought her memoir "Music ...more
A Book Vacation
3.5 stars.

It’s always difficult to write a review of a book of short stories since it’s not one solid story, but multiple short stories that somehow connect together and it’s up to the reader to make those connections. Knox’s stories look into the human psyche, showing us our own humanity and depravity as her stories unfold. I particularly enjoyed “At the Window” as it looks at the phenomena surrounding witness apathy during violence. A woman is struck in the street by a madman, but those who w
Holly Weiss
Surely you can look back on a pivotal moment in your life and say, “Thank God I decided to…” Author Jen Knox brings us To Begin Again, a collection of short stories that invite us to fill in that blank.

Knox’s voice is distinct and honest. Her stories are hard-hitting and biting, her prose crisp and direct. Knox’s stories explore pivotal moments in people’s lives and elicit strong feelings in the reader. Some are framed around the harsher side of life, but each is told with candor. One female cha
Marta Bishop
I love Jen Knox’s writing; her books draw us into the lives and stories of those we might consider ordinary. These tales of duplicity, drug dependence, and marital issues are skillfully told. Ms. Knox has a rare ability to draw the reader into the lives of others without dampening down the message.

These short stories and essays pull one into the emotional imbalances of all ages. Each story will leave you wishing you could meet the character and know them better. Whether she is writing of the swe
Glenn Parkhurst
I knew that All Things That Matter Press Author Jen Knox was a talented writer from the awards and kudos she had received from her peers but I had never read any of her writing. Jen’s collection of short stories in To Begin Again turned me into a fan. Jen’s stories are filled with characters that have been bruised and battered by life, some fighting their way through, some surrendering. The stories give a view of lives diverse from what I would consider the norm but fear may be more common than ...more
This collection of short stories actually gets better as the book goes on.

To Begin Again touches on the lives of many people in many places of all ages.

I've never read a short story compilation with such short stories. Some stories are barely a page. I found this to be both novel and annoying. I was impressed that an entire story could be developed in so small a space. But I was bothered to come to the end of a stories that had only begun.

Also I know one shouldn't judge a book by it's cover.
Lisa Walker
I guess I found out I'm not a fan of short stories. Just when something might be getting interesting it would end.
Humorous in a subtle way. Love this book. It's too short.
Jul 15, 2011 Carrie marked it as to-read
Won in a Goodreads giveaway - new writer for me!
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