Whether writing the memory of lazy a day on the Jersey Shore or the visceral image of smeared blood on book spines, Noble molds her prose into the shape she needs to crack a feeling open. What is perhaps more intriguing—and at times challenging—about Be With Me Always is that there is no central theme to these micro essays ... The unifying thread is instead a unified method of inquiry, a willingness to transform and meet each subject on its own terms—and then to flit away ... [Billings'] work is a testimony that it is not always the big, traumatic moments that haunt us, but also the small, flirtatious ones that creak and stir, never fully revealing their ghosts ... Like a girl, perfumed, attempting to become a flower, Noble’s essays try to become the things they describe; her work reminds us of the labor, and the ingenuity, needed to thoroughly examine a life.
Randon Billings Noble's Be With Me Always is a tender, graceful collection of essays from a writer whose mission seems clear. Who are we within the context of our desires and longings? How do we function within bodies that are regularly changing? Through the process of viewing ourselves outside the shell of our beings, Noble does not seem to be suggesting that we can or even should live outside the limits of our corporeal essence, but we can try ... The thrill of a volume like this is how Noble doesn't seem to be insisting her essays be read in the order as presented here. The sections are logically curated, and the essays contained within clearly speak to each other, but they also communicate across the pages ... Be With Me Always works its magic in profound, subtle, seamless ways. The meticulous craftsmanship in the construction of these essays is equally matched by Noble's beautiful, confident, assured vision.
Essayist Noble has a focused, tight style, often employing the technique of looking at somewhat discrete items (or memories) and seeking connections among them ... Throughout the collection, Noble delivers many sharp-edged sentences ... Unique eyes look at familiar things and somehow make them seem both odder and more familiar.