amber's Reviews > Touchy Subjects: Stories

Touchy Subjects by Emma Donoghue
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's review
Jul 26, 2011

it was amazing
Read in June, 2011

Some of these stories absolutely slew me-- I read them over and over, at home, on the beach, and out loud to friends. Donoghue takes the familiar (romance, domesticity) and reveals the unfamiliar hidden within those everyday situations.

Her characters include heterosexual couples, lesbian and gay couples, single-businesswomen-seeking-sperm, evangelical Christians, and people who just really love dogs; all of these are treated with honest affection, making their stories relatable. Had I known the subject matter of each story beforehand, I would have abandoned the book outright, thinking it too obsessively domestic. Thank heavens I knew nothing. Each piece was artfully done. My only recommendation, if you have little interest in babies or babymaking, is to skip the first section of the book and read it after you've gone ahead to "The Cost of Things," "Team Men," and "Pluck." The poem in "Speaking in Tongues" also can't be missed.

The author's style is simplistic but original in its precision-- she decides which aspect of human feeling she wants you to understand, and brings you to it without pretension or wasted words. Much of what Donoghue chooses to focus on is unexpected, "quirky" even. She documents small tendencies in human interaction of which I was never previously aware, but which seemed like intimate, personal, universal truths later on. This collection seems to emphasize people just "missing" each other-- missing one crucial emotion, just one essential perspective on one another or the situation.

I loved it. :)

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