Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bearded Women Stories by Teresa Milbrodt

I'm not even sure how to categorize this book. It's beautiful and touching with just a touch of sarcasm and wit. This collection of short stories has to be the best I have ever read.
The description from NetGalley is this: Welcome to the contemporary Freak Show. A woman trying to have a child has a parasitic twin, an extra lower torso, and set of legs named Bianca—should she have "Bianca's Body" removed to improve her chances at conception? A bearded lady considers coming out of the closet about her hirsute nature, while carrying on a battle of wills with an overeating patron in "Mr. Chicken." A woman with four ears gets a chance to make extra money as the mascot of a tattoo parlour, and encounters a middle-aged, cookie-baking stalker who believes she is a sign that the end of the world is nigh. Meet the "freaks"—they're mothers, wives, and lovers: all of them trying negotiate a world that is quicker to stare than sympathize.
I figured it was up my alley. What I didn't expect was something so visceral and emotional. This is not a freak show but an expose of what it's like to live as someone who is different. The first story Bianca's Body was more than a tale about a woman with a parasitic twin. This nameless woman struggles with jealousy over that part of her body that seems to be more receptive to her husband, the pain of not being able to maintain a pregnancy and the identity of who she really is. It's the perfect introduction to Teresa Milbrodt's world.
The writing is a little odd which only adds to the work. Many of the characters are unnamed and the stories a brief snapshot of their lives. Some left me wondering and others felt complete. This is one I am glad to review and such a gem that will sadly be overlooked by those who would appreciate it most.

No comments: