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Wonderful Girl
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summary
This extraordinary first collection of short stories covers the landscape of dysfunctional childhood, urban angst, and human disconnection with a wit and insight that keep you riveted to the page. The characters here have rich and imaginative interior lives, but grave difficulty relating to the outside world. The beginning story, "Ducklings," introduces the over-weight and over-enthusiastic Marjorie, the last twelve-year-old you would want babysitting your toddler. In "Wanted" we meet Eleanor, a single girl living in Chicago who may or may not be dating a serial killer. "Another Cancer Story" is an unsentimental account of two sisters whose beloved mother just won't seem to die, and "The Last Dead Boyfriend" gives us a recovering addict who keeps encountering her recently deceased boyfriend, an unpleasant man she wished she'd broken up with before he died. Always funny, often dark, and wholly satisfying, these stories explore the longing for connection among characters who are frequently stricken with anxiety. Each story is rendered in a way that is surreal, vivid, and entirely convincing. "Wonderful Girl is a smart, funny collection, by turns poignant, mysterious, terrifying, sexy, often just plain nuts (in a good way!). The characters in these stories are deliciously confused but always in control, if not of their fates, at least of their pets and boyfriends. What strong voices these women have! Contemporary American life has never seemed so threatening and yet so warm, so full of possibility, yet so harrowing. Reading Wonderful Girl is like meeting a dozen new friends, people you instantly fret over, want to know better, want to call and give advice, bring home to meet your folks, people you ultimately love." --Bill Roorbach, judge and author of The Smallest Color, Big Bend, and Temple Stream

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Half Title
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  1. Title Page
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  1. Dedication
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  1. Contents
  2. p. vii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. p. ix
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  1. 1. Ducklings
  2. pp. 1-15
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  1. 2. Another Cancer Story
  2. pp. 16-30
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  1. 3. What She Should Do
  2. pp. 31-34
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  1. 4. Wanted
  2. pp. 35-48
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  1. 5. In Mem
  2. pp. 49-62
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  1. 6. Runaway
  2. pp. 63-64
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  1. 7. Girls
  2. pp. 65-82
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  1. 8. Snowball
  2. pp. 83-97
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  1. 9. Our Last Supper
  2. pp. 98-105
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  1. 10. Six Different Ways to Die in the Windy City!
  2. pp. 106-112
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  1. 11. Tribute to an Optometrist
  2. pp. 113-125
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  1. 12. Look at the Sky and Tell Me What You See
  2. pp. 126-133
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  1. 13. Words to Live By
  2. pp. 134-136
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  1. 14. The Last Dead Boyfriend
  2. pp. 137-147
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  1. 15. Wonderful Girl
  2. pp. 148-160
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  1. 16 Encore
  2. pp. 161-162
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