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Women and Other Animals: Stories

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  195 ratings  ·  29 reviews
The stories in this prizewinning debut collection encompass train wrecks, circus acts, river journeys, transspecies transmogrification, and growing up and growing old around the small towns of Michigan. Without glamorizing poverty, Bonnie Jo Campbell details a vision in which shabbiness, beauty, brutality, and wisdom all coexist -- and yet the stories can be surprisingly o ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published September 1st 2002 by Scribner (first published 2002)
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Melki
The softness of their kiss gives me the seasick feeling that I'm with my sister and the groom on their honeymoon bed. After all, I shared a room with her until I left for college. ...I fear that this kiss will not end, that time will freeze and abandon me in this orbit. My sister's eyes are closed, her lashes spread out over her cheeks. Even after they've opened again, her eyes remain in the sleep of that kiss as though covered with a milky effluent, something the fairies would make in their mou ...more
Pamster
First of all, please check out her author page: http://www.bonniejocampbell.com/about...

So awesome!

Loved these stories. I'd recommend them to anyone, but I'd say you should skip Old Dogs because it is too fucking sad and I wish I could unread it. These stories of poor rural women and girls, Michiganders all, are great. Some are amazing. I had to reread the first one after I finished it, and I never ever read like that, but it had hooked me intensely from the first sentence and I needed to go th
...more
Dan Trudeau
I'm a little prejudiced when it comes to Bonnie Jo Campbell. When I was in the Creative Writing program at WMU, she was the star grad student. That said, this is one of the best story collections I've ever read. Characters that would come off as "bigger than life" in the hands of other authors feel compelling and real in hers. The stories I enjoyed the most were "Gorilla Girl", "Eating Aunt Victoria", "Sleeping Sickness", "The Fishing Dog", and "Bringing Home the Bones."
Peter William Warn

Nothing much happens in Bonnie Jo Campbell's stories, or very much does. Her writing in Women and Other Animals is as vibrant and evocative as a fine oil painting. It invites one to see carefully captured details and to ponder their context.

If you look at Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa and see a smiling woman, you will find much to enjoy in Campbell's stories. If you wonder why she is smiling and what the smile led to, you will find much more.

In one of Campbell's stories, a girl's trip with her
...more
Matt
I shied away from reading this book for a lot of years, having seen some of the stories in workshop and feeling like I wasn't all that interested in then. But way turns on to way, as we all know, and finally it's time to read these, and maybe it was the time away, but I really enjoyed these, even some of those that I remember, which seem better now, more realized and interesting and fuller and stranger than I remember.

This isn't a perfect collection: Bonnie writes two kinds of stories here, comi
...more
Shannon
A stunning collection. Campbell sets most of these stories in her home state of Michigan, particularly its blink-and-you'll-miss-it towns and endless expanses of rural nothingness, and as a native of one of these very places, I found them all too relatable. Many of her characters struggle with their circumstances and the feeling of being stuck in an eternally unsatisfying existence, and she nails this sense of malaise and apathy so well that it's downright chilling and more than a little depress ...more
Jim
Apr 03, 2014 Jim rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jim by: Deborah
I am very happy to be introduced to author Bonnie Jo Campbell. This is a strong collection where the excellent stories outnumber the average.

I read this prior to attending an author reading at College of DuPage. I will read more of her work.
Linda
Bonnie Jo Campbell has become a favorite author for me. I read American Salvage first and was absolutely amazed by the stories. Her use of language to set the scene is amazing. This book of short stories are focused on women, although not to the exclusion of men. One of the stories about the girl who is the main character in Campbell's novel Once Upon a River. The characters in these stories struggle - theirs are not easy lives. Some might call the stories dark, which they are, but they are also ...more
Angie
I give this short story collection 4.5 stars out of 5. I really enjoyed all of the stories and many left an emotional impact, particularly 'Old Dogs', 'Eating Aunt Victoria', 'The Fishing Dog', and 'Sleeping Sickness'. This collection was published in 1999 so I hope that means there are many more stories by this talented author to read.
Izabela
Now this was a great short story collection -- the stories were interesting and they were told well. The stories were also really focused, and even though nothing much happens in some of the stories, they were all interesting.

My favorite story is 'The Fishing Dog' in which a girl lives alone in a house right by the river. She has no money and can only get around by rowing on the river. Her growth as a character is really beautiful; she transforms from a untrusting rough girl to a woman who begi
...more
Alissa
An excellent story collection!

Favorite quote:
"It should not surprise anyone that P.T. Barnum himself pioneered the modern beauty contest, recognizing that striking beauty was fundamentally no different from any other aberration. Such absurdly perfect integration of woman's bones, flesh, and features was not unlike a third arm growing out of the center of another woman's back. Barnum was the first to figure out that strangers would pay to see this sort of female oddity paraded before him"(174).
Samantha
This is one of those short story collections that really taught me something about how to put a short story collection together. It hits so many different notes but yet the sense of place (Michigan), the common themes (gender, adolescent females, mother/daughter, women as object), and her unique voice make Campbell a writer I'm really gonna follow.
Lori
Some stories were a bit dark, but they were all intriguing and thought provoking, made me wonder about about the writer- I need to google her;)Read fast...the stories are short. Wouldn't recommend it if you're already in a blue mood, but otherwise you might enjoy it...dark or not.
Kim
So glad I finally read it! This is a book of short stories. All deal with women or animals - mostly women. Several stories dealt with food and our relationship with food. The last one was my favorite: generational eating, generational work, and lack of conversation.
janicec100
This is a collection of short stories--a bizarre collection. I can read about one story per train ride to work. Despite the disturbing circumstances of the women, the stories are interestingly upbeat. Kind of a weird book.
Lucy
LOVE Bonnie Jo Campbell's stuff, her writing is so good you never know what is going to happen from sentence to sentence. Always waiting for a surprise or at least something interesting to happen!
Amee Schmidt
I love the women in these stories, and now that I am finished, I'm sure that this is one of the most influential books I've read in terms of exposition and characterization. Bonnie Jo is a master.
Jason
Really good writing with an appreciation for the under-appreciated. The stories: 'Circus Matinee', 'Gorilla Girl', and 'The Smallest Man in the World' were excellent!
Kate
Breath-taking stories - must read. And I don't generally gravitate to short stories. Bonnie Jo is a masterful storyteller, with interesting subjects.
Megan
Abandoned after two stories. Well-written but FAR too dark and violent for me, and with similarly abrupt choose-your-own-resolution sort of endings.
Merceda
Decent read. I don't like short stories too much because I don't get enough substance from them.
Nicole
So interesting and unlike anything else I've ever read. Bonnie is awesome.
Brent Marcus
really great collection of short stories. heavy on the weird and interesting.
Kim
I enjoyed it! Okay, so it was rough in some places, but I enjoyed the variety.
Ruth
Good collection of interesting characters. Well done!
Dawn
Love her characters - They are unapologetically feral.
Darryl Hall
Stories that will knock you out of your comfort zone.
Sara
Superb writing.
Becky
Great stories!
Lindsay Reid Fitzgerald
Lindsay Reid Fitzgerald marked it as to-read
Aug 30, 2015
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Bonnie Jo Campbell is the author of the National Book Award finalist American Salvage, Women & Other Animals, and the novels Q Road and Once Upon a River. She is the winner of a Pushcart Prize, the AWP Award for Short Fiction, and Southern Review’s 2008 Eudora Welty Prize for “The Inventor, 1972,” which is included in American Salvage. Her work has appeared in Southern Review, Kenyon Review, a ...more
More about Bonnie Jo Campbell...
Once Upon a River American Salvage Q Road Mothers, Tell Your Daughters: Stories Our Working Lives: Short Stories of People and Work

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