RaveThe AV Club\"In previous memoirs Michelle Tea brilliantly captured the seething desires of adolescence and the growing pains of reluctant maturity. Her new book is just as raw, just as honest, just as gorgeously punk-rock rebellious ... Tea does this with many of the dark and dangerous moments in this book—she doesn’t exactly make light of them, but she describes them with a clear-eyed honesty that allows her sense of humor to cut through the pain ... Tea is at her best in this book when she uses her own experiences as a lens through which to see a piece of art or a cultural shift ... Michelle Tea may settle into a sobriety from alcohol, a sobriety of family, a sobriety of intellectual thought, but her writing will always be wild with sex and desire and music and art, always reaching to discover a new \'difficult beauty,\' and leaving her readers high—on writing and life.\
RaveThe AV Club...a brilliant retelling of The Tempest that is as enjoyable to read as it must have been for Prospero to watch the storm he created ... While there are some wild moments in Hag-Seed, Atwood’s writing is so skillful that it is easy to suspend our disbelief ... [a] brilliant tale.
PositiveThe AV ClubThese [Hamlet] references are enormous fun to recognize. A little less fun are the philosophical digressions the fetus embarks on, which can feel a little discombobulating ... Nutshell may be a short book, but it is not hard to crack. And what lies within—the suspense of a murder plot, the matching game that’s played when a classic story is retold, and the unique perspective of an unborn narrator—is quite pleasurable to both pick through and savor.
PanThe AV ClubReaders who are familiar—very familiar—with Emily Dickinson will find much to ponder in Jerome Charyn’s A Loaded Gun: Emily Dickinson For The 21st Century. But those who only know her work from high school English class, or from the general pop-culture myths that surround her (hermit, spinster, white dress, gingerbread), will be puzzled, and ultimately misled, by the claims Charyn makes and the evidence he uses to support them ... [Charyn's] comparisons are interesting but become increasingly tangential and reveal little about who Dickinson might have been ... eaders who know a thing or two (or more) about Dickinson might take pleasure in these tangents, but even the knowledgeable will feel the lack of real evidence backing up Charyn’s claims. Instead, he relies on forceful language to persuade his readers that he has uncovered and understood essential aspects of Dickinson’s character.
MixedThe AV ClubThose more familiar with the play will enjoy matching up Tyler’s characters with their original counterparts, but may feel disappointed at the simplicity of the adaptation ... the speech Kate delivers in the book feels somewhat unearned; the issues she addresses aren’t very present in the plot that precedes them. Still, Tyler’s writing is lively and engaging ... Those who want a more radical take on Shakespeare’s problematic play will have to look elsewhere. But those who want a good book to read on the beach this summer will find Vinegar Girl a pleasant and sometimes piquant read.
RaveThe A.V. ClubErdrich is at her best when she weaves together stories from the past and present, illuminating the connections between generations, and sometimes between the spirit and corporeal worlds. And in this novel she does just that—not only with the generations of LaRoses but with other characters as well...In addition to constructing an intricate plot full of loss and redemption, and characters who embody three complex dimensions (and sometimes more), Erdrich’s evocative writing transports the reader further, making the ordinary extraordinary.
RaveThe AV Club...a fluid mix of autobiographical writing and critical theory that uses each to think about the other ... Like the Argo, this book keeps building on itself with stories of sexual and intellectual and maternal passion, the conception and birth of Nelson’s son, and the decline and death of Dodge’s mother. There’s gender fluidity, bodily fluids, the fluid nature of language, the ebb and flow of life and death. But at its center is always love, its meaning ever renewed, from its first utterance on a cold cement floor to the last, which, in this ongoing narrative, still has yet to be said.
PositiveThe AV ClubMuch is hinted at that never becomes fully realized. This is both a strength—as it reflects a reality seldom portrayed in fiction—but also a challenge to readers who may feel unsettled by its lack of certainty. Still, My Name Is Lucy Barton features gorgeous writing.