Not Oprah’s Book Club: Death is Not an Option

It’s easy to sit back and say that the reading public, or at least what is left of it, doesn’t read enough short stories—as so many a critic has done over the past few years. And it’s true: we don’t. So I count it as a political act of sorts to seek out short story collections particularly those, this will come as no surprise, written by women. When it’s a young woman, to boot, well, count me in.

Reading Suzanne Rivecca’s debut short story collection, Death is Not an Option, may have started as a political act on my part, but it quickly became a rabid obsession. The collection is brilliant—a rare and wildly entertaining mix of feminist wit, highly original prose, and endlessly endearing and familiar characters. Rivecca deals with a smargasbord of issues that we write about on this blog every day—sexual assault, religious dogma, adolescent sexuality—in the most poetic and moving of ways. It’s as if the smartest, funniest Feministing reader ever, wrote a collection of short stories (or at least that’s how it felt to me). Here’s just a taste of her moving prose:

It’s like those rare moments in life when we are hit with an urge to explain. Along with the delusion that everyone cares, that everyone has been waiting with bated breath all along, all through the long desert of our silence, and after we tell all they will look at us with dewy pride and love.

Rivecca actually goes on to explain how these rare moments are usually proven false, that no one is “waiting with bated breath” for our shining insights. But in this case, she’s wrong. I look on her bravery, her sensibility, her talent with “dewy pride and love,” both.

Join the Conversation