Title: Shout Her Lovely Name
Author: Natalie Serber
Review: I have to be honest, I tried to finish this book but I just couldn't do it. This book, albeit interesting and extremely real, dropped the F-word way too many times for me. I tried to ignore it, but after ignoring it over and over again, the F-word was paired up with taking the Lord's name in vain. I shut the book and was done. I honestly don't understand the need to include vulgarities such as this. It does nothing to further the story. I would love to finish this book sans the F-word. I was taken in by the honesty of the book, the reality of her stating people’s deepest thoughts out loud. These thoughts that we would never want to admit to having. It is truly fascinating.
Thank you Heather for this review.
**As a response to a question from the publisher about my review of Shout Her Lovely Name, I decided I needed to clarify my post and why I rated it only One Star.
I should note that I read about a third of the book. The first story had language that bothered me a little bit. I thought that the stories themselves were very interesting and I honestly think I would have enjoyed them if it weren't for the language.
I rate the first story two stars. It was a fascinating look into a mother's perspective of her child's struggle with anorexia. It gave us a glimpse of her thoughts of this hardship and how she blamed herself for the hardships anorexia put the family in.
I give the second story three stars. I enjoyed the second story about Ruby and her struggle to accept an unwanted pregnancy. She smokes, drinks and basically tries to have a "natural miscarriage." We follow her intimate thoughts about whether she will keep the baby, stay with her absent boyfriend, or make her way on her own. It is a good story. I realize that this story is continued in the book, but I have not read the rest of it.
The third story I rate one star. Having suffered from post postpartum depression myself, I related to the woman in the third story about her thoughts as she boards an airplane with her newborn son. She thinks about dropping the baby over the banister and how she honestly doesn't care about what is going on around because all she can think about is her annoying sucking child and her hurting nipples. She thinks about these types of things, but doesn't voice them for fear of her husband overreacting. This is why I was so disappointed to have to put the book down. I felt connected to the women and wanted to get to know her more, but I could not ignore the vulgarity. I do not use or even think that kind of language, and I do not want to hear or read it.
As a general note about the book, while I appreciated the stories I read, I had a difficult time discerning when one story started and another ended. I would rather have had a more clear cut ending and start to the stories. I found myself flipping back to find out who the character was I was reading about only to realize I had started a different tale. It is possible that if I finished the book all the stories would come together nicely but with the difficulty I had from this as well as the vulgar language, I couldn't finish the book and I can only give the book (the 1/3 I read of it) one star.
Publisher: Published June 26th 2012 by HoughtonMifflin Harcourt
Quick Review: 1 stars (out of 5)
Why I Read It: Sent by the publisher for review.
Synopsis: Mothers— both reluctant and euphoric — ride the familial tide of joy, pride, regret, guilt, and love in these stories of resilient and flawed women. In a battle between a teenage daughter and her mother, wheat bread and plain yogurt become weapons. An aimless college student, married to her much older professor, sneaks cigarettes while caring for their newborn son. On the eve of her husband’s fiftieth birthday, a pilfered fifth of vodka, an unexpected tattoo, and rogue teenagers leave a woman questioning her place. And in a suite of stories, we follow capricious, ambitious single mother Ruby and her cautious, steadfast daughter Nora through their tumultuous life—stray men, stray cats, and psychedelic drugs—in 1970s California.
Gimlet-eyed and emotionally generous, achingly real and beautifully written, these unforgettable stories cut to the heart of the connection and conflict in families. Shout Her Lovely Name heralds the arrival of a stunning new writer.
Author Biography: I grew up in Santa Cruz, California, an only child of a single mother, I spent my youth riding my bike and reading incessantly. My college days were spent at University of California at Irvine where I studied English with a writing emphasis and then I studied at UC Santa Cruz taking a degree in education. I imagined I would be a teacher like my mother, or maybe I would write for magazines. When I had my children, I loved being a stay-at-home parent. I gardened, cooked, volunteered at their schools. When my youngest entered preschool, I took a writing class and then I took another. Soon I gave up gardening and took up early rising to write at my desk. With my kids in elementary school I wrote in coffeehouses and at the library, in the parking lot where I waited for them after school. I published in small journals, The Bellingham Review, Inkwell Magazine, Third Coast, Fourth Genre, Hunger Mountain to name a few, and those publications sustained me, they allowed me to continue believing in my work. I was lucky enough to win some prizes, John Steinbeck Award, Tobias Wolff Award, H.E. Francis Award, I was short listed in Best American Short Stories. All of this led me to Warren Wilson College for graduate school where I received my MFA in fiction. Through the raising of my family I continued writing. Now as my youngest enters college and I teeter on the cusp of an empty nest and a new decade of my life, my book, SHOUT HER LOVELY NAME is forthcoming with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. There’s a lovely symmetry to my timeline and if I wrote it in a story, no one would believe it.