Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Barbara the Slut and Other People” as Want to Read:
Barbara the Slut and Other People
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Barbara the Slut and Other People

by
3.55  ·  Rating details ·  3,452 Ratings  ·  459 Reviews
A fresh, honest, and darkly funny debut collection about family, friends, and lovers, and the flaws that make us most human.

Fearless, candid, and incredibly funny, Lauren Holmes is a newcomer who writes like a master. She tackles eros and intimacy with a deceptively light touch, a keen awareness of how their nervous systems tangle and sometimes short-circuit, and a genius
...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published August 4th 2015 by Riverhead Books (first published August 31st 2014)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Elyse
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
What I like best about these short stories is that the author, Lauren Holmes, gives us a
good personality profile of her characters, sets up the story situations, but never
gives us the root cause for any person, place, or circumstances. Instead of reading the stories 'unfold' as we often do... She leaves out the 'unfolding'.
The result is thought-provoking....leaving purposeful-reader-interpretation.

Starting with the title of the book...the word 'Slut'...opens up a door for conversation
The wo
...more
Nat
Oct 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Barbara the Slut and Other People is a collection of eight short stories that tackle everything about family, friends, and lovers, and the flaws that make us most human.

HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO TALK TO YOU?: 4/5 stars

In Mexico City customs, twenty-year-old Lala has fifty pairs of Victoria’s Secret underwear with tags on them in her suitcase. They were for her mom to sell to the teenagers in her town for a markup of three hundred percent.

Lala said she would do it because she hadn’t visited her mom in
...more
Kate Koza
Mar 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"I was thinking I might want to study public health, but I was also thinking I might want to move to the forest and eat berries and mushrooms and hibernate with the bears in the winter."
Blair
Important facts about this book:
1. These are those kind of stories that are really scenes, slices of characters' lives. Don't expect them to have endings. (It's not just a stylistic quirk that the subtitle is 'And Other People' instead of 'And Other Stories'. These are sketches of individuals first and foremost.)
2. This is mainly a book about sex and dogs. But not in a weird way.
3. I was impressed with how real (almost) all of these characters felt to me, but something about the stories consiste
...more
Michelle Hart
Mar 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horrible-women
i guess at hunter's mfa program they don't teach how to write endings. whooooa okay, shots fired. but seriously, this book is SO sophomoric and simple to the point where I felt insulted after reading it. it is occasionally funny, but relies on ridiculously easy (and easily ridiculous) jokes. in order to blend in with her new lesbian friends, a woman decides she needs a rattail. seriously. aren't we beyond those jokes?

her prose is clean as hell, which is great, but because the prose is so into t
...more
eb
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
These short stories are fresh and conversational, funny and modern. I'm sure they were horribly hard to write, as all the best stuff is, but you can't tell, because Holmes isn't interested in showing off. In contrast to a piece of sh*t like Hausfrau, here's a book that's full of ideas and fraught situations but not of pretension or self-importance.

The stories are about teenagers and people in their 20s; they're about sex, but they're also about how wonderful it is to have siblings, which I love
...more
Richard Denney
Jan 15, 2016 rated it did not like it
Me during the first story:
description

Me after the third story:
description

This shit was a BOREFEST! The first story was alright but the second story was so boring and bland I was so scared to go on. I moved on to story 3 and it was just as boring if not more than story 2. With that title for a book, I was expecting something hilarious, dark, and deep. I didn't get any of those things. This was a waste of time. I would not recommend it AT ALL.
Jenna
Totally enjoyed this at the sentence level, the slice-of-life-story level, and as a whole; maybe my favorite short stories this year, and I've read some good ones this year. 4.5 stars.


Was initially taken in by this book's title and awesome cover, and the content lived up to the high expectations raised. Loved this collection and want more Lauren Holmes, stat! I could/would have whizzed through these stories in no time, but fortunately life sent some obstacles my way, and I'm glad this created a
...more
Jennifer
Sep 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Despite the salacious title, "Barbara the Slut" is not about sex. This book of 10 short stories is about the human condition -- relationships between siblings, parent/child relationships, life cross-roads, job stresses and more. Sure, sex plays a role -- to a varying degree -- in many of the stories, but it's not the central theme. Those hoping for pages of steamy love scenes will be disappointed.

I loved Holmes's style and wondered why I don't read short stories more often, as it's a powerful g
...more
Nicola
Sep 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
A fantastic wee collection focusing on, but not pandering to, twenty-something life. I loved the characters, the incidental nature of their troubles, the unapologetic approach to their flaws and uncertainties. Holmes does a great job of making the mundane engaging and putting the reader into the mindset of the character. Highly recommended.
Simon
Aug 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quirky collection of tales that see us dipping into people's lives at random, yet pivotal, moments of their lives. The characters are all wonderfully vivid flaws and all. The stories all standalone and bar two they all intrigued me, only two or three blew me away but she is one to watch and I'll be picking up whatever she writes next. (Would be a strong 3.5 if could rate it that!)
Bella
Aug 19, 2015 rated it did not like it
When I read the blurbs on the back of this book I got excited when words like "complex" "fearless" and "gorgeous" were used to describe Lauren Holmes' collection of short stories. Apparently, Lauren Holmes "writes like a master".
Well, after finishing this book tonight, all I can say is, "Did I read the same book?"

There was nothing special about the writing or about the stories. The characters and the plots came off as shallow to me.
Maybe this was why it was 30% off at Barnes and Noble?

At least
...more
smetchie
It's weird because I loved the stories but I forgot them really quickly. I read it for bookclub so I had to go back over some of them looking for details a few weeks after finishing. I wound up getting sucked in and reading whole stories over again. Something about the writing is utterly captivating. Each story is an intimate (too intimate) glimpse into a different character. I didn't want to be in any of their heads but being there was hypnotic. This might be exactly what it feels like to wake ...more
Tyler Goodson
Aug 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Reading this was like being underwater and coming up for air in a world where you can read about real people and real sex and real relationships with boyfriends/girlfriends/spouses/parents/siblings/jerks/dogs. Not every single story killed me, but some killed me so dead--especially "Barbara the Slut" which should be required reading for everyone.
Claire (Book Blog Bird)
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this collection of short stories. Each one dealt with the sort of thing that women and girls have to deal with on a daily basis and I liked the way that none of the stories had a neat story arc with a tied up ending. They were well written and kind of saucy too. Really recommended.
Gwendolyn
Jun 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this collection of stories. Holmes writes with a particular type of acerbic humor that is difficult to pull off, but she does it over and over again. Here’s an example from the opening paragraph of “Desert Hearts,” one of my favorite stories in the collection: “When I moved to San Francisco with my fiancé, he started practicing law and I started selling toys. I was supposed to start practicing law too, but I didn’t have the heart. I almost didn’t even have the heart to take the ...more
Chelsey
Aug 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
I really enjoyed this. Smart and refreshing.
Cosima
I had no preconceived notions about this book; I just knew that is was a collection of short stories and picked it out, so I had no expectations high or low. The stories are mostly centered around college students or recent college graduates, with a couple of exceptions. The theme seems to be that all of these characters are still figuring themselves out and pivotal moments in their young lives are shown. I found a few stories to be funny, some were so-so, and some were just dry, but overall it' ...more
Emily
Jun 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
I would say I'm the core audience for this book. Single, a young woman, and a slut. Haha, just kidding about that last part - but I flew through this collection of short stories and laughed and cried all the way. Her writing is some what sparse and direct and what I've read of some reviews some people believes this makes it hard to connect with the characters. I disagree completely. All these characters felt super real to me. My favorite story hands down was the one about the girl working in the ...more
Matthew
Jul 07, 2015 rated it did not like it
No. Absolutely not. Shallow and lazy. I hate to bad mouth a work so much. Congrats to the author. I am going to assume it is the 'humor' I don't get and that it causing the problem. Writing about sex is not enough to be daring. I felt like I was reading the journal of some MTV reality show lead. "He said, I said, I said, he said, she said, said said said."
Terri Jacobson
Aug 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
This collection of 10 stories by Lauren Holmes was a lot of fun to read. Her stories display a frank female sexuality that is refreshing. Her sense of humor shines through. A positive reading experience.
Courtney Maum
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this! I loved this, I loved this, I wanted to do nothing but read it while I was reading it.

For others who enjoyed it, I'd also recommend "Single, Carefree, Mellow" for other stories narrated (primarily) by unpredictable, irreverent female voices.
Marie-Therese
3.5

A very good collection of warm, humane, engaging stories.

Holmes has a great ear for dialogue and a knack for putting her mostly sympathetic characters in slightly absurd but someh0w always believable situations. Some of these stories are funny; most are a little bit sad. A couple swing a bit too wide, with empathy devolving into something close to sentimentalism, but even the lesser ones have their bright, well-defined moments. I sometimes wished the endings were less abrupt (a technique tha
...more
Nadine
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you like the humor in the title, you'll love the book. All the stories were great, but I especially LOVED "My Humans", "Pearl and the Swiss Guy Fall in Love" (these two a must for dog lovers!), and "Desert Hearts".
David Johnson
Jun 11, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5

Review to come.
Lenna the Goober ball (The Grinch)
Booooooooooo-ring!!!! That's basically how I felt the whole time reading this. The first story was decent, but the lack of an ending, basic disconnection from the characters, and general dislike of the whole shpeel of a "story," and I was NOT a happy camper! I pushed through all of them and I'm sad to say that towards the end, they all mushed together with the same boring female leads who need to be coddled and given everything on a silver platter because they don't have the balls to do anything ...more
Adrienne
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
The most interesting part of this book is the title. I feel like Holmes wanted her overall meanings and themes to appear in contrast to her totally bland descriptions and so-realistic-it's-completely-inane dialogue, but then forgot to include any meanings or themes. Subject matter notwithstanding, this reads like a book for third graders. Am I missing something?
Paige Pitzer
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. I typically love short stories, but I was very underwhelmed with most of these. beautiful prose and likeable characters, but the endings had me scratching my head and I just didn't get much from the stunted storylines. I enjoyed My Humans and Barbara the Slut the most.
Georgia Hill
Oct 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: on-my-shelf
Hugely relatable, sharp and funny. Short stories are killing it this year!
Freesiab (Bookish Review)
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing collection of short stories. The characters were rich and the settings were modern. All the stories connected by sexuality in some way. Well done.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: Barbara the Slut and Other People by Lauren Holmes- 3 stars 3 10 Dec 10, 2016 08:59AM  
response 7 19 Aug 27, 2015 02:25AM  
  • The Bed Moved
  • Night at the Fiestas
  • Music for Wartime: Stories
  • Mothers, Tell Your Daughters: Stories
  • You Should Pity Us Instead
  • Lovers on All Saints' Day: Stories
  • You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine
  • The Hypothetical Girl
  • Infinite Home
  • Safe as Houses
  • In the Country
  • The Visiting Privilege: New and Collected Stories
  • Single, Carefree, Mellow
  • Scary Old Sex
  • Bright Shards of Someplace Else
  • The Star Side of Bird Hill
  • Alone With You
  • American Housewife
13531396
Lauren Holmes grew up in upstate New York. She received a BA from Wellesley College and an MFA from Hunter College, where she was a Hertog Fellow and a teaching fellow. Her work has appeared in Granta, where she was a 2014 New Voice, and in Guernica. Holmes lives in New York’s Hudson Valley.
More about Lauren Holmes...
“I was thinking I might want to study public health, but I was also thinking I might want to move to the forest and eat berries and mushrooms and hibernate with the bears in the winter.” 11 likes
More quotes…