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Do Not Deny Me

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  332 ratings  ·  72 reviews
When Jean Thompson—“America’s Alice Munro” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)—is telling stories, “You cannot put the book down” (The Seattle Times), and her superlative new collection, Do Not Deny Me, is one to be savored, word by word.

 • Award-winning storyteller gaining popularity: Je
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Paperback, 292 pages
Published June 9th 2009 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2009)
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
These stories are us. I've never read an author who better captured ordinary 21st century Americans from all angles. When I rate short story collections, I often end up right in the middle at three stars, and that is not an insult to the book. Some great ones, some so-so, that's how it usually goes. The writing is very good in all the stories in this book, but some could use a little more oomph in the subject matter.

My three favorite stories were:

1)"Liberty Tax": This was the best one in the b
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John
thompson's ability to draw fully-realized characters from all walks of life is her greatest feature. from young college students to middle-aged divorcees to men hitting a late-life crisis. everyone is rendered believably and recognizably and sympathetically. there is a wonderful sly sense of humor throughout. also a near-buddhist sensibility. everyone is struggling in their way to find some form of happiness or understanding or simply caught in a momentous point in their life. not sure why i'm n ...more
Diana
Great variety of short stories. I'd never read this author before.
David
12 short stories by Jean Thompson. I’d read The Humanity Project and found it to be entertaining and engaging enough to seek out more of Thompson’s work. I found this short story collection and all the way through it I thought “man, good story that makes me feel like shit.” Thompson’s stories are all very well written pictures of domestic situations, people who live together and hate each other, people who work together but can’t tolerate the situation, or people who are looking for love but fin ...more
Jonas Mueller
Thompson, Jean. "Do Not Deny Me."
New York: Simon and Schuster, 2009

Jean Thompson is an exceptional writer whose wit and elegance show in even the worst stories in this surprisingly uneven collection, and she uses both in equal measure to tell stories that are at once painful and darkly humorous. At her best, Thompson paints a grim and sometimes darkly comic portrait of modern American life. At her worst, her language and humor are left to hold up stories with no other support.

The biggest proble

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Kellie
Do Not Deny Me is a collection of twelve short stories that represent literary fiction at its very best. Each tale is beautifully crafted, with precise and striking phrases and detailed, relatable characters. The first story, "Soldiers of Spiritos," hints at the writer's opinions on literary criticism. An aging English professor and his discouraged student find that they share a love of dramatic literature and a distaste for modern criticism that replaces appreciation with overwrought analysis. ...more
Scott Foley
Do Not Deny Me is one of those rare short story collections that actually gets better as it progresses.

I must admit that I picked this book up simply because it was a short story collection and, as a short story writer, I try to familiarize myself with successful authors' styles and subjects. When I read the author biography and discovered that Thompson only lives fifty miles away from me, well, I automatically wanted to like the book and support a fellow Central Illinoisan.

We got off to a rough
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Deidre
Jean Thompson. Do Not Deny Me. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2009.
She writes well about the current culture of younger people and it's very interesting and effective. I think the city where most of the stories take place is Chicago. Every story was good. I'll definitely pass the book along to Alexis and Kathryne.

“Mr. Rat” - The young guy in the story was pretty much like how Kathryne and Alexi describe most guys they know.

“Liberty Tax”
Thompson has a good understanding of who we are. Young coupl
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Schuyler
Now, I normally don't like it when people rate books they haven't read all the way through, but I'm making an exception. I read about half of this short story collection and I would have finished it if I thought the rest of the stories would offer something different than the first half...but I have a pretty good idea of what the other stories hold.

I'm coming to realize that the more I read, the more and more I'm attracted to style and voice rather than content. Of course content is important t
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Bonnie Brody
Finding a good writer of short stories is more rare than finding a gold nugget on the sidewalk while you're taking a walk. Jean Thompson is an excellent writer of the short story genre. There are several favorites that I have in this collection.

My all-time favorite is the first story, 'Soldiers of Spiritos'. Ms. Thompson takes on all the politically correct 'isms' that are currently in vogue in academia. The story is about a drama teacher who feels worn-out and out of place on the faculty. At th
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Jodi
When I first discovered The Hold Steady it was love at first listen. They were like nothing I’d ever heard before. I fell hard and fast and there was no looking back. But, sadly, as is often the case of for fickle young girls, the love grew tired. As The Hold Steady and I fell into a meaningful, comfortable relationship I began to grow restless. I missed those first exhilarating months –butterflies in my stomach and a racing pulse. With each record that was release, I began to grow a little rese ...more
Doreen
The good stories in this collection are quickly forgotten because there are too too many of them and one loses track of characters, scenarios, conflicts. She is not the Alice Munro of American short fiction as described by one of her reviewers because she does not have the complexity of form that drives much of Munro's work. but like Munro, she has a knack for creating characters who are despicable simply because they live quotidian lives. There is something to be said for this kind of empathic ...more
Scott Pierce
Short stories about normal-to-downtrodden people facing daily challenges to define themselves and find some center - sometimes they do, but in patchwork and odd ways, and sometimes they don't, though they may see through their own delusions. I liked her writing style - maybe some small part of Carver in her- and I notice some Ray Pierce in the story Escape, about the crippled man whose wife is preparing to put him in a home and he dumps ground up sleeping pills in her drink.
Judith
Thompson is a fascinating short story writer. Some of her stronger stories have he writing from the male point of view. Treehouse tells the tale of a very successful man - executive, husband, father - who slowly loses his grip. I found most compelling her contrasting stories of a guy who knows he is a relationship louse (Mr Rat) and a divorced woman who gets tired of being hateful (Her Untold Story). Not all are gems, but all are interesting and worthy of reading and prise.
Amanda
Unlike David Sedaris's quote on the cover of "Do Not Deny Me," the characters in this short story collection of Thompson's fall flat on the page. She explores every-day men and women and does nothing to bring them up from the depths of their middle-class ennui. "Treehouse" was my favorite of the collection, in which Thompson explores the spiritual awakening of one man trapped in the commuting, 9-to-5 world. The title story also showed much promise, but the main character let me down as much as s ...more
Holly
Right or wrong, I judge a short story collection by how well I can remember the individual stories later. Thompson's stories have no pat ending; the reader is often left slightly uncomfortable. Her characters make one wonder if true happiness is even possible or if all is compromise. These are stories of loneliness; the characters are in the process of figuring themselves out, of finding where they belong, of trying to determine what it is they want. I don't think the comparison to Alice Munro i ...more
Cathy
Jean Thompson is a short story writer I have not read previously. She certainly knows her craft and each story had its own resonance. There were some stories here that I enjoyed more than others - but that is the beauty of a collection, to find the one or two that tap you on the shoulder, keep you thinking away from the page. So I particularly enjoyed 'Little Brown Bird' and 'Escape'. I will certainly put Thompson's other collection 'Throw Like A Girl' on my wish-list. Having said many positive ...more
Amanda
I found the stories in this collection enthralling. I really enjoyed Thompson's writing style--so many of the stories stuck with me even after I put the book down. My favorites include: "Soldiers of Spiritos," "Wilderness," "Little Brown Bird," "Liberty Tax," "Escape" and "Treehouse." Thompson did a fantastic job of turning the everyday into a riveting storyline. To me, that is what I enjoyed most about this compilation: I loved the way the stories would start out explaining seemingly run-of-the ...more
Lee
I wasn't sure what this book was about but it's a series of short stories about love, loss, health issues, divorce, all sorts of topics - some I related to better than others and some were just amusing. Some of the passages made me laugh out loud:

"Different people she knew had launched themselves in odd directions, had a fling at Buddhism or Christian farming co-ops, embraced animal rights or Alcoholics Anonymous, or changed genders, adopted Chinese girl babies, any manner of dramatic transforma
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Paula Hartman-Carlo
This wasn't my favorite collection of Ms. Thompson's stories but there were still some heavy hitters such as "Her Untold Story" and "Escape."
Jaime
I don’t read many short stories, but I thought this collection was really good. I think what is most compelling about it is that each story was something that could happen to you, or to someone you know. There’s nothing extraordinary here, just people dealing with their lives. Funnily enough, the one story I didn’t enjoy was the one that shared the collection title "Do Not Deny Me", which had a psychic bent to it. She even brings things full circle a bit, with the final story showing a different ...more
Carol Waters
Characters I will remember. Story lines that had a twist, or a direct hit. Enjoyable read.
Edan
I am basing this 4-star rating on the fact that I absolutely loves 3 or 4 of these stories. Others fell flat for me, felt conventional and predictable (cue epiphany, etc.) and for a while I thought I didn't like the collection. But the opening story, and the last few, really got me. Really. There's a lot of loneliness in this collection, and many seekers, and there's a pleasing comic voice, and sharp observations, too. Overall, I enjoyed this book. Even the stories that didn't move me, were stil ...more
Amanda
Thompson creates a solid, reliable world for each story in this collection and manages to render each less colorful than what her characters expect from their mundane realities. The scope of possibility is narrowed down, and so too is her language. We get a straightforward, rather bleak, portrait from her characters that promises some precarious hinge point at which they, or their world, might change. However, because of the way she tethers the characters to their banalities, rather than evoking ...more
Melissa
I still have three stories to go, so technically I'm not done, but even if the last three are the worst short stories ever in the history of the world, not even that could sour my four stars. Let me tell you, Jean Thompson has the goods. Within the first paragraph, she sucks you into her characters so tightly you can no longer remember a time when you didn't know these people. And then the story ends & you get bummed, but there's another one right after! I'm not sure how I'll be able to cope ...more
Linda
Beautiful :)
Donna
Aug 14, 2015 Donna marked it as to-read
Tony Lam
Blake
I really loved a few of these stories ("do not deny me," "treehouse," "escape"), but some of the others ended so abruptly that my reading experience was marked by a (not to be too dramatic, here) sense of dread... i was always worried the stories would end too soon because for me, so many of them did. lots of great characters and great moments in all the stories, but for me, not the most satisfying collection.
Don
I was disappointed in this book, especially after reading the reviews. I've read two of Jean Thompson's novels and really enjoyed them (especially The Year We Left Home). But these short stories were somewhat pointless. If you decide to read this book, don't expect any endings with twists or resolution. Each story just ends flat, and I sat there wondering why I invested the time to read it.
Abby
I loved Jean Thompson's previous short story collection, Throw Like a Girl, so I had high expectations for this collection. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. While some of the stories are very powerful and insightful, the majority of them meander along with no real message or climax. The reader is subject to Ms. Thompson sharp observations to the detriment of plot or anything else.
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Jean Thompson is a New York Times bestselling author and her new novel, The Humanity Project will be published by Blue Rider Press on April 23, 2013.

Thompson is also the author of the novel The Year We Left Home, the acclaimed short fiction collections Do Not Deny Me, and Throw Like a Girl as well as the novel City Boy; the short story collection Who Do You Love, and she is a 1999 National Book
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More about Jean Thompson...
The Year We Left Home The Humanity Project Throw Like a Girl The Witch And Other Tales Re-Told Who Do You Love: Stories

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