...curious, sometimes very dark — and often delightful ... Cohen’s greatest strength is in her realism ... In another break from the coming-of-age archetype, her characters — both the children and, especially, the adults — are distinctly unsympathetic: immature, perverted, selfish. No detail is spared in casting them as unappealing ... Behind the characters’ transgressions is an acute portrayal of failed relationships and communication, of what is expected of women and how they struggle to transcend the norms that require them to achieve certain things.
Lies, misconceptions and self-deception are at the heart of Miriam Cohen’s funny, scathing, and touching collection ...Cohen’s tales are coated with unease as innocence collides with reality. Decay and death are never far. Individual stories tackle bulimia, rare diseases, and rumored serial killers. When the heroines aren’t coping with loser boyfriends and lecherous bosses, they’re dealing with the fallout from their own messed-up families, wherein the adults are just as clueless as the kids ... even as the freewheeling days of youth give way to the melancholic realities of adulthood, Cohen maintains her fleet style, her stories peppered with wry observations and off-center, ribald humor. Sometimes raw and always entertaining, her collection is a pleasure.
Cohens’ vivid first story collection captures the vulnerabilities and compulsions of varied female characters as they come of age. The blurred innocence of childhood and realities of adulthood are intriguingly exposed in these linked tales ... Cohen’s 14 stories offer an intimate examination of the complexities of her characters’ lives, particularly their struggles between compassion and obligation.