Lizzie's Reviews > Like Life

Like Life by Lorrie Moore
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's review
Aug 25, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: meg-s, short-stories, nyc, 2009, used-book, borrowed, 1001-books
Read in August, 2009

Pretty sure I borrowed this from Meg over two years ago. Sorry Meg! Thanks Meg!

On the title page is what seems to be a stamp mark from a used book store in Kho Tao, Thailand. There is probably a good story there for Meg to tell in comments.

I'm not the most practiced short story reader, with only medium Lorrie Moore exposure. In high school I got a copy of Birds of America at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore in Chicago, because I liked the stickers on the cover and because that store always made me feel more literary than I was really going to be. I didn't finish the book. I did really like a New Yorker story a few years later, though.

I was a little disappointed with these, but it was good to try again. 4 stars for the one about the playwright and for the one about the history professor, 2.5 stars for everything else. Both of those great ones take place (at least partly) in NYC, which I didn't expect, and they do strike a chord. Strange to read stories set in Wisconsin malls/Times Square streets I am equally familiar with.

I was totally surprised by the semi sci-fi element of the title story. I can't say I truly liked it, though. It reminded me of what worked so well in the Meg Rosoff book How I Live Now, its showing and not telling the impact of an alternate-history war the reader won't understand. This one didn't feel so elegant or even necessary, and it sticks out kind of weirdly from the totally normal naturalism of every other story I'm aware that she writes.
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message 1: by Meg (new) - rated it 4 stars

Meg I wish it was a better story other than I bought it at a used bookstore in Koh Tao! Used bookstores in Thailand can work almost like libraries, the idea being you can buy a book in one place, read it, and then sell it at your next destination. Then you don't have to carry the weight in your pack. I bought and sold lots of books on that trip and this is one of the few I kept. (Also kept a Barbara Kingsolver book. Can't remember most of the ones I sold. Did sell a falling-apart copy of Jitterbug Perfume, I think. Or maybe it just fell apart? Definitely got rid of the copy of The Beach that we had. It gave me nightmares.)

Didn't read this while on Koh Tao, though, I read it at our next stop, which was a national park/rainforest called Khao Sok. It was weird to be there reading a book that was very grounded in the United States, and it made me feel kind of melancholy.

I am also reading a Lorrie Moore book right now so that's good of us.

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