Colleen Wainwright's Reviews > Bad Behavior

Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill
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bookshelves: fiction, short-stories, relationships

Mary Gaitskill goes there, all right.

The stories in this collection—her first, I think, if that's possible—deal with relationships, sex, and broken-down communications between couples of various sorts: husbands and wives; prostitutes and clients; and, most famously, bosses and employees, in "Secretary", which was vastly altered in the movie version.

Really, it's all about people feeling isolated and less-than. And they are well-drawn studies. She's very insightful into the human condition, brutally frank, and a deft writer. Unfortunately, the end result is me, depressed, and not in a way where I felt enlightened or deeply touched. They were involving while I was reading, but not so much afterwards, whereas I can name several short-fiction writers (Russell Banks, Alice Munro, Frederick Barthelme) whose stories pierced me and left a hook in there. (She also seems far fonder of adverbs than I, but this could also be a heightened sensitivity on my part, due to a class I took recently.)

Look: I bought it for a buck at Out of the Closet, and read it all the way through. So she did her job. I guess it would be interesting to read her later work, to see how this clever young writer has matured.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
August 1, 2013 – Finished Reading
September 11, 2013 – Shelved
September 11, 2013 – Shelved as: fiction
September 11, 2013 – Shelved as: short-stories
September 11, 2013 – Shelved as: relationships

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