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Going Away Shoes

3.48  ·  Rating Details  ·  635 Ratings  ·  122 Reviews
Skirmishes on the Domestic Front. Famous for her unrepressed swagger as much as for her sly humor, Jill McCorkle presents eleven brand new stories fairly bristling with both wit and weight. From "D-Day," which compares marriage to service in the armed forces, to "Me and Bigfoot," an idyll about finding the ideal man, McCorkle's latest stories are the genuine articles, the ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published September 22nd 2009)
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Apr 20, 2010 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I took a class with Jill McCorkle (at the past Tennessee Williams Fest just a couple months ago) before I really read anything by her, and I immediately fell in love with her as a teacher and a person -- she's got this great vibe about her. I got a chance to speak with her when I found her alone waiting to go into a panel on the last day of the Fest and she couldn't have been more gracious.

These stories remind me of something, yet it escapes me what that something is. And while they might not be
Before starting this book of short stories I read the praise on the back (still have yet to see a book with horrible, yet true things on the back). The three reviewers raved about how funny and lighthearted these stories were. After reading Going Away Shoes, I am left scratching my head. Did I read the same book as the reviewers? Some of the stories were funny and others were down right depressing. I liked how the stories were connected through death, divorce, abandonment, but these topics are n ...more
Jan 09, 2010 Donna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The thing with short story collections is that unless you're familiar with the author, you have to be careful because you're not going to know what you're getting into. My favorite short story author is Flannery O'Connor. That woman can do no wrong with the short story. They're so dementedly elegant that you can't put them down. But she is only one of a very few whose short stories I like. The rest . . . meh.

This is one of the meh. I'd never heard of Jill McCorkle before I snagged this book at B
Apr 19, 2010 Ellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thesis-research
I really loved this. The epigraph is by Gloria Steinem ("If the shoe doesn't fit, must we change the foot?"), and every story in the book has a quiet feminist sensibility to it. I heard McCorkle read back in February, and I'm interested in reading more of her work.

Favorite quotes:

"This fear of nothingness is why many people stay put even when unhappy and disillusioned, daily sidestepping the problems and debris. It is why they ask the four questions again and again as they seek their own answer
Feb 08, 2014 Gina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Two stars is generous for how much I hated this book. Eleven short story collection of "women and love and complications therin"-should have known by the description on the back that the writing would be choppy. Stories were random. I knew within the first story I wasn't going to enjoy this, but I suffered through a few more before throwing down the book before reading the final two. No recommendation here.
Jul 23, 2009 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The strength of a short story collection is how many stories you remember afterwards. For me there were two stand outs "PS" and "Intervention." The author's writing is solid, though some times the subject matter seemed a bit repetitive with the well-to-do wife (middle aged or older) pondering her life post-divorce, during marriage, or otherwise.

One story had an interesting take from three different POVs (a young girl, a middle aged woman embarking on an affair, and an older woman) but still man
Aug 11, 2011 Potassium rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
This is a collection of short stories about a series of women across the country. As much as I usually love short stories, I was a bit unimpressed with this selection. The point of short stories, in my opinion, is to provide the reader with several in depth (but short) vignettes about various characters. I thought these stories were really boring because they skimmed the surface. All the women have something obviously wrong in their lives (divorced, cheating on their spouses, hate their kids, wh ...more
Nov 22, 2010 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short stories can be challenging reads. Too often I finish a short story and think “what does this mean” or I am longing for more story, or more character development. In Jill McCorkle I have found the perfect author of short stories. Her latest short story collection, Going Away Shoes, is quite simply delightful. Deftly combining wit and pathos, the stories in this collection superbly illustrate the various roles of women; single mother, daughter, sister, and second wife. McCorkle has a keen ey ...more
I loved this. I liked some stories more than others, but I liked them all so much! What a wonderful collection of short stories. I can't wait to read more by her.
Carla Panciera
Jul 27, 2015 Carla Panciera rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I am late arriving to this party but thank GOD I finally read McCorkle. This book also makes me wonder why people don't read more short stories. In a world where everyone's in such a hurry, why not get your fiction in these brilliant small doses? I loved all the stories, but Surrender was especially strong -- I don't know how she does it. This story is both laugh out loud funny and heartbreaking. My favorite was Intervention. When I said to my husband, You've got to read this, he said: I a ...more
Aug 02, 2014 Mick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this collection, each story focuses on a female narrator. These women are flawed and human and honest and funny; McCorkle, I feel, writes women extremely well. I adored this collection, reading one story each night before bed so that I could really savor each one, and after each ending, I inevitably let out a sigh, gushing to my husband about how good it was.

I felt a deep connection with almost every narrator, and that is not easy to establish in such a short number of pages. If you're not re
While short story collections aren't my thing, Jill McCorkle is, and I was thinking it was kind of crazy that there are books, in my house, by one of my all-time favorite authors, which I haven't read. So I decided to tackle it.

Now, because short stories aren't my thing, they take me forever to read. I don't think you should read a collection just one after the other after the other, unless the book is actually a collection of short stories that make up a novel (like The Joy Luck Club or Olive K
Jun 08, 2009 Kari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm generally not a reader of short story collections, and I have mixed feelings about them. On the one hand, I finish a story feeling unsatisfied and wishing to know more about the characters that I got to know so well. On the other hand, I understand short stories, from a literary perspective--how all it takes is several pages to make a point. And generally, I remember short stories long after I read them.

I was most excited to see Jill McCorkle at BEA, as I have read some of her other novels.
Aug 04, 2010 Elise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Admittedly unfair, I've always compared Jill McCorkle's short stories to Lee Smith and McCorkle's work has always come up a little short (wow, that was a bad pun). Anyway, something about these stories struck a chord with me, almost seeming more real to me than the funniest Southern gal that Lee Smith has conjured in recent memory.


From "Midnight Clear"

The downside in incorporating knowledge and an open mind and respect for all religions in young children is the blurring of facts. Though I see
I enjoyed McCorkle's prose and some of her observations on life as portrayed in the beings of her characters. At the same time, I can't say enjoyment is the right word to use for my thoughts on the collection as a whole. There was a certain ennui on the whole that wears in a short story collection where it wouldn't in a novel. To see one character or set of characters suffer can be enlightening, cathartic, heart-wrenching or any other number of adjectives we attribute to great literature. To see ...more
Collection of 11 short stories about women and different relationships in their lives, being a daughter, mother, wife, divorce, singleon. Each story portrays a slice of the womans life and the challenges she faces. The characters and problems are all very relatable. The stories are unrelated, yet they fit well together as they are all about the struggles of love and relationships.

The title story is a type of Cinderalla story about a single woman caring for her very ill mother, and her sisters le
Mar 24, 2013 Alyssa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed most of these stories very much when taken individually, but reading them one after the other in the context of a collection made them a bit tedious. Most of the stories centered around a sad divorced woman, so to read so many similar stories one after the other got a bit redundant. Obviously a collection should have an overarching theme that ties all the stories together, but this was a bit overkill, especially in the first half. The stories in the second half of the book had a bit mo ...more
Jan 08, 2016 Jae rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Yeah I didn't get these stories at all. Too many characters and not enough development in each story. Plus they all had really generic names. I felt like I was missing something the whole time. Maybe I'm just not cultured enough to get the joke but these were not "laugh out loud funny" like the reviews on the back say. Or maybe I'm just not old enough or been married enough times (never) to enjoy stories about middle aged divorcees.
Apr 04, 2014 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014
I've been reading Jill McCorkle's books since Tending to Virginia came out in paperback in 1987. She's one of my favorite writers, whether she's writing short stories or novels. This book of short stories is as good as anything she's ever written. Her characters are heartbreaking and funny, and she writes great dialogue. The title story really will make you laugh and cry at the same time.
May 29, 2013 Melody rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The last and shortest story "Me and Big Foot" is the only good story and the only reason I kept this book instead of donating it back to the same library I bought it from. All the other short stories are horribly depressing. Divorce, domestic abuse, dying spouses, terminal illnesses and more devastate the lives of all these poor innocent Southern white women and their terrible children.

I agree with several of the other readers, this is NOT a funny collection. Not even in the slightest. "Me and B
May 14, 2016 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes when my attention span isn't great, a short story collection is just the ticket. I went into this thinking it would be good to pick up whenever I had a minute and after the first two stories, devoured the entire thing in less than a day. Amazing. Now adding her other stuff to the to-read list.
Carly Berg
Jan 13, 2015 Carly Berg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
I really enjoyed this book. I read another one of her collections, Crash Diet, years ago and like that one too. For the lady baby boomers especially, she really has a way of writing everyday stories that have a deeper meaning underneath. I have two more of her short story collections ready to start on now.
Sep 16, 2013 booksandcarbs rated it really liked it
This book was on my "currently reading" shelf for several months. An early story in the collection, about a grandmother and granddaughter, had me ugly crying so hard at the end that I was afraid to experience that kind of emotional annihilation in every story. I'm glad I returned to the collection though. The stories were well-crafted, the characters felt real, and the underlying theme of beauty/truth in the everyday resonated with me. Loved the story about the septic tank angel. Found one of th ...more
Oct 14, 2009 Wes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shoes figure somehow in each of the 11 stories here, sometimes prominently and sometimes not. What ties these tales together, though, is McCorkle's clear-eyed evocation of romantic love in its changing forms and stages. In "Intervention," the main character frets about confronting her husband about his drinking several decades after perhaps she should have; "Driving to the Moon" finds its footing when the central character realizes that the sweet boredom of domesticity outweighs her longing for ...more
Jan 16, 2016 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of short stories. All filled with very interesting characters. I especially liked the story about the women who had trouble with her septic system and the man who came to fix it.
Dec 13, 2014 Hillary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Short stories need to grab you fast and for the most part, these did not. There were some lyrical and even haunting elements in some of these stories, and much of the writing is very evocative.
Nov 05, 2009 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shortstories
This was darker, but also funnier, than McCorkle's other work. Most of the stories dealt with regret and/or the capacity of family members and spouses to drive you completely insane (which is where the humor came in). McCorkle's writing is truthful and poignant, and I decided on five stars because I could see myself reading this over and over. Intervention is one of my all-time favorite stories, but Surrender, Another Dimension, and Magic Words were also exceptional. And finally, if you ever hav ...more
Jerry Landry
After hearing Jill McCorkle speak to the Charlotte Writers’ Club, I had to check out her work for myself. The collection was a delightful series of stories with a common theme of female main characters and their relationships, both familial and romantic. The stories that stand out the most in my mind are “Surrender,” “Another Dimension,” and “Intervention.” The characters and the plots of those three grabbed my attention the most. McCorkle talked about her inspiration for “Surrender” while speak ...more
Adult Reader Reaction: It is hard to describe my reaction to this book in a word. Each story is very well written, but none of them wowed me. That said I kept "feeling" something between Shirley Jackson's The Lottery and Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Pros: Thought-provoking, emotion-tugging stories will keep readers thinking about events and outcomes in each of the stories in this collection.

To read our full review, go to The Reading Tub.
Feb 20, 2014 Naomi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eleven stories - based on women in various situations based on their relationships.
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Five of Jill McCorkle's seven previous books have been named New York Times Notables. Winner of the New England Booksellers Award, the Dos Passos Prize for Excellence in Literature, and the North Carolina Award for Literature, she has taught writing at the University of North Carolina, Bennington College, Tufts University, and Harvard. She lives near Boston with her husband, their two children, se ...more
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