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felt in the jaw

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  90 ratings  ·  17 reviews
In her debut story collection, Kristen Arnett, with dark humor, explores the lives of queer women and their families in the light of the bleak Florida sun. A young dancer suddenly loses language while her family struggles to understand their new roles. A mother endures a horrifying spider bite while camping with her daughters in the backyard. A family reunion goes sour whe ...more
Paperback, 220 pages
Published 2017 by Split Lip Press
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4.30  · 
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 ·  90 ratings  ·  17 reviews

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Tender, nervous, somewhat alienated lesbian domestic/natural realism set (entirely?) in Florida. Lots of weird body stuff, mostly in the realm of the real, including a fantastic story featuring period problems. A few stories deliver this subtle but very affecting build of suspense/danger/threat.
Kami Bumgardner
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't often read a lot of short stories; not because I don't enjoy them in general, but because they are not always great. Most leave me either wanting more from them, or feeling like there was just too much in there to make a good story. They are incredibly hard to write, as you have such a small window to get your reader hooked emotionally, and tell a whole story arc from beginning to end in a very short amount of words. Few people do this well- O. Henry, Edgar Allen Poe, and Arthur Conan Do ...more
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I want to go on a date to a Dunkin Donuts drive-thru with this book, and tbh reading it I feel like I did. Florida is important to my heart in a weird and confusing way, and reading this I realized how I have not even realized how much I wanted queer stories in Florida. I would recommend to anyone interested in queer women, or Florida, or drive-thrus, or having a body that might/definitely is/ definitely will someday break down, or a heart with love troubles.
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm a huge fan of Kristen Arnett's essays, and her first short story collection did not disappoint. I feel like I am still swatting away Florida bugs and worrying about Florida children.
Megan Clark
May 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Some of this wrenched me hard, but these endings aren't quite there.
Edward Rather
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Kristen Arnett’s Felt in the Jaw is real in every sense of the word. If you read to escape reality, to breakaway from the grind of life, expecting a release from the darkness in this world, you will not find that here. The experience that Felt in the Jaw offers is not so much one of reading a book but rather staring into a large mirror reflecting the world around you. Kristen’s stories are a deeply personal look into everyday life. A dissection of troubles and annoyances that a lot of people exp ...more
Lauren Dostal
Finished last night and get to see Kristen at a reading tonight! Yay!
This book is stunning. Though they are not related, every story builds on the energy of the last. Each story is like a snapshot, a moment suspended in time. The characters crash together, entangling themselves for our viewing pleasure, then fade to black. Every scene, every life left to resonate beyond the page. I did not expect to be so profoundly moved by this book, but it blew me away. Really really really amazing.
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Human stories about human folks living in an otherworldly place (Florida). What I love is how the focus on the domestic becomes universal, and exposes how vulnerable we are when trying to connect with each other through “Home,” whatever that is for an individual.
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a collection as purely Floridian as your Popsicle melting before you can eat it, or being swallowed by a sinkhole, or dying because you fell asleep in the back of a van in a parking lot in the middle of June. I loved it.
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Hyper-real and dreamy at the same time. All the stories are tied together by a cohesive feeling that’s almost a blurred recognition of mundane connection to reality from women that seem to slip in and out, not quite meeting the expectations for them. Yet they’re all very different and deal with unique, small situations and sometimes how unspoken larger themes loom in the background- present but maybe not explicitly laid out. Not exactly uplifting stuff, but still entrancing and vivid. Arnett cou ...more
Danielle Lazarin
The stories in Kristen Arnett's beautiful, funny, tender and cohesive collection are set in Florida, mostly in the domestic spaces of queer women and their families, populated by their children, their exes, their wives, their mothers, their pets. There are trips to the supermarket and the donut shop and lurking pregnancies and neighbors and wondering that comes from a place of kindness and hope, that becomes an extended hand, and often that hand is bitten: by animals of the human and not-human k ...more
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
There’s something about these stories that feels unreal to me, even while they also feel true and well-observed. It may just be that Florida always feels sort of fantastic to me in fiction, but I think it’s more than that. It’s in the narration, I think, which is both intimate and sort of removed, which creates for me a sort of dreamlike quality. But, yes, these are very good stories.
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this! Being from Central Florida, this struck me as a unique take on a place I thought I knew. Like "The Florida Project," it asks us to see a FL behind the Mickey-ears -- in this case, queer families of various social classes, trying to make a life in a landscape that doesn't want them.
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Of course I liked this.
May 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Kristen Arnett's short story collection, from 2017. Queer Florida stories. Loneliness, isolation, warmth. *3.5
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