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Happy Trails to You: Stories
by Julie Hecht
When Julie Hecht's stories first appeared in The New Yorker, her unnamed photographer-narrator became an instant literary icon. Chronicles of her strategies for surviving civilization's decline -- herbal remedies, macrobiotics, a bit of Xanax -- have established her as one of the most captivating and eagerly read voices in modern literature.
In this new collection of stor ...more
In this new collection of stor ...more
ebook, 224 pages
Published May 6th 2008 by Simon & Schuster
(first published 2008)
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This hilarious take on modern life contains stories in which a vegan, hyper-paranoid, misanthropic, anxiety-ridden woman tries and fails to come to grips with the world around her. The reader at once feels for her and wants to throttle her (our protagonist) for her holier than thou goody two shoes attitude.
Julie Hecht's short story collection describes in first person, and with self-conscious humor, a mid-life, upper middle class woman in rural Connecticut, conflicted between her idealistic concerns and the social life of those around her. Told with great hilarity in places, and a general sense of absurdity throughout, my lasting impression is one of empathy for her self-inflicted angst, some of which I share.
I have Julie Hecht's first collection of stories, Do The Windows Open?, about five times, and each time I end up laughing out loud; this volume is just as funny and quirky, though a little bit darker and sadder, since the heroine (an incredibly neurotic woman who sometimes, embarrassingly, reminds me of myself) is older and seems more isolated, and lonelier, than she did in DTWO. Julie Hecht's sense of humor is of the "love it or hate it" variety, I think; I happen to love it, but have shared th ...more
Feb 04, 2009 Becky rated it it was ok · review of another edition
Recommended to Becky by: browsing library
Bizarre. That would be the one word that I would use to describe this book. The randomness, the paranoia, the self-righteousness - it all threw me for a loop. I just can't believe that at some points I actually was identifying with the main character because she is such a liberal freak of nature. The nameless character has anxiety attacks because the whole nation found out about good ol' Bill Clinton's scandal. And by the sound of it our nation is hopelessly and irrevocably becoming less intelli ...more
Jan 02, 2014 Kate rated it really liked it · review of another edition
Recommends it for: anxious vegan photographers
Recommended to Kate by: Harper's
"I'd recently heard a Ukrainian or Russian--a big, Soviet-looking expert--explaining how the poisoned Prime Minister of the Ukraine could have eaten soup without tasting the dioxin that almost killed him and did disfigure his face. 'It was thick borscht--with garlic, onions, cabbage, turnips, kale,' the expert said in his thick accent, which made the soup sound even thicker. The explanation was that with all these healthful, strong flavors of vegetables, with spices, too, the Prime Minister migh ...more
i LOVED do the windows open but this book left me feeling like julie hecht was doing a julie hecht imitation. many said they found the character irritating in her previous book, but i actually found her funny & "relatable" (whatever that says about me.) but in this book, i found her grating and offensive. maybe it's me who's changed. but there was a big difference to me in someone talking about their anxiety about the LIE - oh, boy, can i relate - and someone talking about their annoyance th ...more
I had a very hard time connecting to this collection of short stories until the very end. I found them meandering and without an emotional core that I could find (except a sense of the loneliness and isolation, which was present throughout the book but only really apparent to me in the last two stories in the collection). These are not poorly written stories, however, just...airy in the reading.
Julie Hecht is a contemporary American fiction writer specializing in interlacing short stories. She is best known for her book "Do the Windows Open?," a series of short stories some of which first appeared independently in The New Yorker.More about Julie Hecht...