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Flying Leap: Stories

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  443 ratings  ·  39 reviews
These shocking, brilliant, and ultimately beautiful stories chronicle the lives of ordinary people in extraordinary situations. Each tale is laced with enough wit, humor, and imagination to keep the reader constantly amazed. From the young son persuaded to donate his heart to his dying mother, to the girl who befriends a man in a dog suit in post-apocolyptic suburbia, to t ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 15th 1998 by Picador (first published 1998)
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4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  443 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Aug 28, 2009 rated it liked it
I'd heard good things about Judy Budnitz, that she's original, wacky and all that. And I really appreciate it when a short-story writer tries to experiment and entertain rather than shock and depress. But too many of these stories just left me cold. They tried so damn hard to be clever that they felt forced; the characters were cliches. I did enjoy a few of them, though, mainly the ones that weren't so conceptual/allegorical and seemed a little more personal. I wish someone had told her to wait ...more
Christy Stewart
Wonderful women's author.
Apr 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, own
The best story here is "Skin Care," which is the heartbreaking tale of a girl with leprosy looking for love. It's poetic and beautiful and so LONELY. Ugh. What a great bit of writing. My other two favorite are the first two in the collection: "Dog Days," which is a post-apocalyptic that doesn't focus so much on the "why" as it does on feelings, and "Guilt," which is about heart transplants and family and love.

It's overall a very strong collection, and I enjoyed how the stories are all rather sh
Aug 02, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ewa
Um, well... sad and strange are the adjectives I'd use to describe this collection of stories. I really didn't get the funny, adventurous, surprising, enchanted, magical or fantastic vibe that everyone else is feeling. But, I did finish the book, therefore saving it from my "unreadable" category, so I didn't hate it! I did always want to know what happened next, but I was mostly disappointed by the answer.
David Runge
Jul 31, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charming and dramatic. Twists reality without asking you to suspend disbelief too far.
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love this bizarre and magical collection of short stories. I first read it when I borrowed my mom's copy almost ten years ago, then I snapped up a copy of my own last week when I spotted it in a used book store. Budnitz has a real gift for telling stories that are absolutely believable within the confines of the magical realities she can create. She also writes convincingly from various perspectives. For example, she writes as an exaggeration of the cheerleader stereotype in one story, then sw ...more
Judy Budnitz has assembled a collection of fantastical, shocking, and surprisingly human tales, in Flying Leap. From cheerleaders to the apocalypse, dog suits to heartbreaks, Budnitz’s comical and bizarre tales included a little bit of everything and left me wanting more.

Why I read it: Contemporary Fiction 311, but I would have read it outside of class in heartbeat.

Quick read? The stories read quickly, but there are enough of them to last you a good chunk of time.

How was it: I adored it. There
Alex Scales
Confession: This is the most excited I've been about a short story collection in years.

As gorgeous as The Virgin Suicides was, I was left pretty cold after finishing it--extremely well written, but just didn't move me. I never truly engaged me beyond a mechanical sense. So this is the perfect antidote for that apathy.

Budnitz is hysterical. I mean, cheerleaders sacrificing themselves to the "School Spirit" kind of hysterical. While looking her up on The All Mighty Google, I saw a review describ
Oct 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm pretty sure this is the only collection of stories I've ever bought because of an opera, namely "Dog Days," which I saw earlier this year. It was amazing. So is the story Budnitz wrote that inspired it. There's plenty more here to be amazed by: a college virgin with a strange form of leprosy, a cheerleader born-again through team spirit, a baby that weighs 100 pounds. And Budnitz doesn't just create fascinating characters; she also twists the scenarios in a peculiar way that feels all her ow ...more
Mar 23, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book needed some more editing. There were some wonderfully written stories, with a plot line that really reeled you in. There were other stories that were probably trashed in her writer's workshop or graduate school or both and she still insisted to include them in this collection. Someone should have put their foot down and kept them out. They made reading this book very clunky and at times boring and tiresome.
There are some amazing stories in this. The tale of the boy whose mom needs a heart transplant had me laughing piteously, painfully, achingly guffawing. But most of the stories didn't touch me--there was a contrivance, a distance, a lack of heartfelt connection. For a book so enticingly, boldly titled, I expected more risks and more engagement. That said, her use of language is beautiful. The characters aren't as interesting.
Jul 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a stellar collection. It was one where I found I could only handle reading a few stories each night, because after each one, I'd need a pause to think it over. Where so many collections and anthologies are like watered-down lemonade - easy to drink lots, not necessarily satisfying - this was the good stuff - potent, profound, unique, crafted.

Loved it.
Apr 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very creative stories, I sometimes don't enjoy short stories, but these were so good and short enough to keep my interest. Very good writing. I especially liked the story "Average Joe" and the last story in the book but they were all so good, I gobbled it up. I've already ordered her other book of stories.
Dec 23, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Winterson Fans
This book is another great gift for women who love to read. Budnitz has a unique style. I think that modern writers with style - and unique style at that - are rare. She is imaginative and it works.
Oct 10, 2007 rated it did not like it
I learned about this author from NPR's "This American Life", and was optimistic about the book when it arrived. Unfortunately, I can see why Budnitz's stories lend well to radio, and not so much to text. The stories were fluffy, full of imagination, and lacking in literary intrigue.
Aug 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Little stories that are clever and stunning.
Julia Glassman
I really liked Nice Big American Baby, but I could kind of tell that a lot of the stories in Flying Leap had been written by a 23 year old.
Jun 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This woman writes some of the most intriguing and sublime stories I've ever read. Magical realism that would make Borges proud.
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I really enjoyed these short stories...left of centre!
Jun 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An extremely inventive collection of magical tall tales. The story "Train" is a work of art and worth the price of admission alone.
Dec 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
I bought this book for "Got Spirit" a story about cheerleaders marching into a bond fire possessed with School Spirit. They are interesting short stories, but nothing amazing.
Apr 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite short story collections. I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me.
I love short stories, and some of these are brilliant.
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Super enjoyable short short stories that often delve into the surreal. Maybe because of the incorporation of these elements, many of the stories also take on an apocalyptic quality. Recommended.
Jun 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Wonderfully absurd, dark and humorous tales of life in the modern world. It's NPR Kafka and that's a good thing to have.
Sep 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best book of short stories I read this past year. Brilliant.
Nov 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy all of Judy Budnitz's short stories. And she has plenty of them. (smiles)
Jul 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: cynics and satirists.
I love this collection of stories. They are morbid, funny, short enough to hold my attention, and touching. This is a book I re-read almost every summer with a glass of chardonnay.
Apr 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i love this collection of stories, it's one of my all-times favorites. It's a shame I haven't liked any of Budnitz's other work.
John E
Jan 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Fun stories (for the most part). I loved "Yellsville", but disliked only one or two of the 25 stories included.
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Judy Budnitz was born in 1973 and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated from Harvard in 1995, and recieved an MFA in creative writing from New York University in 1998.
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