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Bearded Women: Stories

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  113 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Meet the freaks—they're mothers, wives, and lovers: all of them trying negotiate a world that is quicker to stare than sympathize.
Paperback, 250 pages
Published October 15th 2011 by ChiZine Publications (first published January 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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Aug 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Woodwork squeaks and out come the freaks.*

Conjoined twins, a cyclops gal, bearded beauties, Medusas, giants, people with extra ears, limbs and skin...they're all par for the course here. And they're not freaks, not really. They're just trying to lead normal lives. Just like the rest of us. They hold dull, meaningless jobs while raising kids and falling in and out of love. Sometimes their tempers get the better of them and they burst into flames, but seriously...who hasn't felt their blood boil a
Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-it
I picked up my copy of Bearded Women at Toronto’s Word on the Street festival last month, and finally finished it. I’m going to say right now that my slowness in finishing had absolutely nothing at all to do with the book. I got married last week, so suffice it to say that my then fiancé (now husband) and I had a lot to do, and sadly not a lot of time to read. But even with everything going on, I didn’t want to put Bearded Women down.

Each story in the book is about someone who, if this were seve
Oct 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for something different
Shelves: weird, netgalley
Meet the 'freaks' - they're mothers, wives, and lovers: all of them trying negotiate a world that is quicker to stare than sympathize.

"What the ef are you reading, Cali?" That's probably what you're thinking, right? Trust me. I totally hear yah. LOL. So let me explain. I am a cover snob. It doesn't matter if it's a bestseller or a self-pub. I look at covers and critique them (though I'm way more understanding of self-pubs). Anyone who says bookcovers aren't important is naive. It doesn't matter
Jan 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Dehumanized by a world which has used their oddities for entertainment purposes, the women in Teresa Milbrodt's Bearded Women Stories challenge our thoughts on genetic variances and humanity and how we view our own selves. With wit and charm, she beautifully weaves short stories about women who are as real as we, who are strong in the presence of adversity, and whose only desire is to live their lives, embracing those aspects which make them so different than those around them. These stories of ...more
Ian Mond
Feb 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If you'd like to hear - rather than read - my thoughts on Bearded Women Stories, please visit episode 35 of The Writer and The Critic podcast with my co-host Kirstyn McDermott
May 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2013
This was almost impossible not to love. The stories are creative and funny, sad, and touching all at the same time. Like nothing I've read before and I hope to read more like it!
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
A collection of stories about women - giants and conjoined twins, bearded and tattooed, and those prone to spontaneously combust - and moments in their lives; perhaps inevitably, many of these stories resemble each other, but Milbrodt rather cleverly, every so often, makes these characters outward appearances pleasingly inconsequential to the outcome of the story.
Oct 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
I will admit that this is not the type of book I would normally pick up in the store. I have a tendency of judging books by their covers, which is in direct opposition to the old adage admonishing against such behaviour. It isn’t even that the cover of the book is bad, It’s a great cover, in fact, I’d probably thumb through it a little before I ended up buying something else, all the while wishing I had purchased this book. I have a habit of staying in the wonderfully expansive and quite perfect ...more
Sara Thompson
Nov 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
I'm not even sure how to categorize this book. It's beautiful and touching with just a touch of sarcasm and wit. This collection of short stories has to be the best I have ever read.
The description from NetGalley is this: Welcome to the contemporary Freak Show. A woman trying to have a child has a parasitic twin, an extra lower torso, and set of legs named Bianca—should she have "Bianca's Body" removed to improve her chances at conception? A bearded lady considers coming out of the closet about
Oct 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It’s almost impossible to resist the urge to stand up with a megaphone screaming, “Step right up, step right up! Come one, come all!” when introducing Teresa Milbrodt’s Bearded Women Stories. Bearded Women Stories, while very unimaginatively titled, is a poignant collection of short stories that doesn’t focus solely on the unusual physical conditions of the people but on their basic human struggles. It’s not difficult to empathize with these people because many people have tried to have a baby, ...more
Oct 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of interesting stories
Recommended to Katy by: netGalley
Shelves: ebook, net-galley
Come one, come all and see the macabre, the strange and the beautiful world of those the world deems freaks! From conjoined twins to bearded woman to people with extra body parts ranging from a whole extra torso and set of legs, to some extra ears, to a cyclops, a giantess, a Medusa – even a Butterfly Woman! You will thrill to the sensuous legs on Bianca’s Body – you will chill at the woman who spontaneously combusts when she becomes angry – you will fill with the woman who finds herself by join ...more
Oct 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love these stories. They are interesting and warm with an emotional connection that strikes something deep inside. It's interesting, each of these stories involve freaks, but it doesn't seem like that when I read. Despite how obviously different the characters are, they seem like so many people I've known. People I've been close to. When it comes down to it, their problems are the same problems we can identify with. I've heard it said that we can't see the familiar, that the way our brain work ...more
Tyrannosaurus regina
I started out worried that this collection was going to be at least a little exploitative or dehumanizing, based on the title and theme, but it wasn't that at all. It was the opposite of that. I never anticipated how moved I was going to be. The stories all explore the body and identity in different ways, some bodies falling within the breadth of human variation (conjoined twins, gigantism, ichthyosis) and a few not (cyclops, medusa). In all of them we explore the person, the way they negotiate ...more
Mar 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Typically not much of a short story reader, I was captivated from the start. Yes, each amazing freaky attribute possessed by the women in these tales is fantastically interesting in an of itself, but here's the hook: the real beauty, the real genius, is in the matter-of-fact normalcy possessed by each character, and the unbiased community built around each of these women that allows them to be unabashedly, unashamedly themselves.
Fun, strange, and often whimsical, this book is a pleasure to read
I had no idea what to expect out of this book, and did in fact brace myself for a bunch of stories about ~weirdos and freaks~ in the way that makes me want to huck books across the room. Fortunately, what I found was a collection of really fucking awesome stories about identity and difference and bodies.

A+ Theresa Milbrodt, would read again.

Now I must make my wife, who is the best bearded lady, read these.
Feb 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Started this book before Christmas, but finished it after. It's a collection of stories featuring bearded women, siamese twins, and people with other physical or emotional oddities. (Holes in their palms, extra skin flaps, giantism etc).

I loved this book. It was wonderfully odd, creative and funny, and told stories about extraordinary people facing ordinary things like change and loneliness.

I also liked the style of writing.

Oct 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book was great! Lots of short stories in current time of "freaks" getting by. Genius. Couldn't put it down. I do wish some of the stories would have been longer or resolved more, but it was great little sneak peeks. The first story is probably my favorite.
Oct 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
I received an advance reader's copy of this book from netgalley.

I couldn't wait to start reading this short story collection from people who would be freaks.
As with most collections, some of the short stories were amazing, while some didn't hold my interest for very long.
Nancy Baker
Dec 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Excellent collection of short stories whose main characters are what might be called freaks but whose concerns are familiar to most of us (love, aging, infertility, parents, siblings). There is a cool, matter-of-fact tone to the prose but that only heightens the emotional impact.
Emily Andrews
while the stories did not follow the theme I expected given the title, they were well-written, heart warming and relatable. given the cast of characters in each story, this is a great feat as there is something about each that is redeeming.
Rick Claypool
Oct 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Smart prose and compelling characters each with their own endearingly warped perspectives. A weird and worthwhile read.
Pavarti Tyler
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Beautiful collection full of insight and grace. I'm overwhelmed by the talent of the author here. Thank you! Looking forward to finding more work by her!
Jade Eby
Apr 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Originally published at my blog Chasing Empty Pavements

This cover is absurd yet crazy awesome. It’s what initially made me want to read this novel. But the words within the story is what kept me reading. The blurb is pretty amazing too. This book is basically made up of “freaks” with stories to tell.

The Good: What I didn’t expect to find in this novel was such great writing. It was beautifully written but it had this strange, lyrical feel to it. The thing I loved about this novel was that even t
Melody Kydian
Jan 13, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was not what I thought it would be. It wasn't bad but it wasn't phenomenal either. You're presented with several short stories focusing on varied individuals and a small portion of their lives or the people around them. The reason this book is only 3 stars to me is that there is little reason to care about any of these stories. They're the "average joes" with some "weird" stapled on. I feel all of the stories could've benefited from several paragraphs to several pages more. There would ...more
Aug 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
There are hits and misses, in my oppinion. More hits than misses and the hits are spot on. I listened to it through audible and though I love a good short story collection I don't like them so much on audio because it can easily get confusing but this one was worth it. I am def getting the ebook as well so I can actually read these gems.
Feb 24, 2012 rated it did not like it
Silly and a waste of time.
Carly Erbacher
Easily the best collection of short stories that I've ever read!
Jul 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
All the stories are gems! (minus the last two which were just meh)
Frances Brent
It is a circus sideshow world, orisit really? Emotions and relationships are searingly human in a world that could be a nightmare, but isn't.
Nov 26, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chizine_own
This is copy 1 of 150 signed numbered copies.
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Teresa Milbrodt is the author of three short story collections: Instances of Head-Switching, Bearded Women: Stories, and Work Opportunities. She has also published a novel, The Patron Saint of Unattractive People, and a flash fiction collection, Larissa Takes Flight: Stories. Her fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in numerous literary magazines. She earned her MFA in Fiction an ...more

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