I was pleasantly surprised by the second book in my Evergreen reading challenge, Diane Bracuk’s Middle-Aged Boys & Girls. I will admit that I approached this particular collection of short stories with some trepidation.
I mean, just check out this blurb on the back of the book
Growing older but not necessarily growing up is the central theme of Middle-Aged Boys & Girls, featuring characters who, to varying degrees, are stuck in adolescent roles…
I was prepared for spoiled, immature characters who I just knew I wouldn’t like. And the first story, Shadow Selves, seemed to prove my point. It featured a woman who, to my thinking, thought she wouldn’t get what she wanted out of life so didn’t even try but instead chooses to indulge her basest desires to the point of self-destruction. It’s told from the perspective of her friend who is torn between admiration and disgust, but all I felt reading those few pages was disgust.
But it got better. All the stories in this collection are told in the first person and feature characters riddled with the self-doubt and anxiety I’m sure we all felt as unsure teenagers. They were a lot more relatable than I had anticipated, most were even likeable. They were the type of people in the types of situations you might actually encounter and the overall impression I got from this collection was of listening to friends talking about their lives. I’d say I enjoyed this book, I doubt I’ll remember much of it a year from now, but it was a pleasant enough read while it lasted.