Emily's Reviews > The Brutal Language of Love: Stories

The Brutal Language of Love by Alicia Erian
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Dec 07, 2009

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Read in December, 2009

Alicia Erian's 'The Brutal Language of Love' is engaging and entertaining, but not always enjoyable. There were some stories which I found particularly powerful, and I suspect the standouts would differ wildly person to person, depending on their life experiences.

This is a book of short stories about the weirdest sex and love situations:

1) Standing Up to the Superpowers (***): A tale about a promiscuous woman who sets out to ruin a guy's life. The guy ends up raping her but feeling so bad about it that he follows her everywhere. The relationship they develop is fascinating.

2) Alcatraz (**): Roz is an obese middle school student who beats a popular guy in the school spelling bee. They develop a relationship completely based on explorative sex - a very strange story.

3) Bikini (***): Vanessa is a free spirit who loves to wear a bikini in the early days of the trend. In college, she starts dating Shawki, a middle eastern guy who has much more conservative ideas about who she should be. A reasonably interesting view into a bi-cultural relationship.

4) Almonds and Cherries (****): After a mildly arousing experience while bra shopping, Brigette realizes that she may be lesbian. She decides to recreate this experience for a film class assignment to explore this new development in her sexuality. Easily the best piece in the book.

5) Lass (**): Shayna falls in love with Carl, the son of a famous Irish author. Unfortunately, she is also in love with the father, who she meets after her wedding with Carl. Most of the story takes place in Ireland, as Shayna meets and gets to know her new in-laws.

6) On the Occasion of my Ruination (**): Gilda works at the lingerie store in a mall. She's determined to lose her virginity to Jonathan, a guy at the pizza place, before leaving in a month to college. This documents that experience.

7) The Brutal Language of Love (****): Leonard, a rising amateur documentary artist, asks Penny if he can capture her in her job as a projectionist at a theater. Because he doesn't give her direction on what to speak about, she starts rambling and tells him about her biggest worry: she has breast cancer and can't afford a biopsy or surgery. Her father refuses to contribute. Leonard changes the topic of his film and also takes it upon himself to take care of Penny. Meanwhile, Penny is in a destructive relationship with coworker Felix. Quite a powerful story.

8) Still Life with Plaster (**): A slightly depressing story about unpopular elementary/middle school Patty who has to deal with mistreatment not only by her peers, but also by her family.

9) When Animals Attack (**): A story about a very tense family dynamic, further ignited by Mother's request to meet and give career/life advice to a certain runaway. Interesting, but I didn't feel like it made me think of anything new.

The book is short and sweet. It's worth picking up if you want something that can make you question what you thinks is right and wrong in love.

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