Duffy-Comparone’s stories are indeed as layered as an elaborate cake, and as incisive as a blade ... Throughout the immersive collection, many stories center on a coming-of-age. Duffy-Comparone deftly tackles the genre, which has been done over and over again in literature, but as Duffy-Comparone shows, there are endless possible variations on the theme ... The protagonists are our best selves and our worst selves and, frequently, something in between. If Duffy-Comparone’s stories are sometimes cringe-inducing, it is only because of the embarrassment of seeing our own qualities reflected in them. With Love Like That, Duffy-Comparone joins the ranks of Claire Messud and Ottessa Moshfegh—writers who, despite relentless criticism, placed unlikable female characters at the center of their stories. She also joins the ranks of Grace Paley and Lorrie Moore with her delightful prose, rich with unexpected, yet pitch-perfect descriptions. Despite the sugary treat that adorns its cover, Duffy-Comparone’s book does not sugarcoat its subjects; these women lead lives that are not glamorous or refined, and the complicated elements of being human are on full display here. Things like pubic hair and mucus and colostomy bags are not played for disgust; they are simply present as normal aspects of life.
Duffy’s unforgettable debut is an intense, emotional exploration of the unconventional relationships various women and girls experience ... This collection of dark, tender, and enthralling short stories is captivating. Duffy is a masterful storyteller and uses vivid imagery to showcase the pivotal moments in the lives of these broken but resilient female characters as they go through loss, love, hurt, and healing.
Duffy-Comparone gives voice to a wide range of women and girls leading hardscrabble lives in her bold debut collection ... Duffy-Comparone nails her characters in a mere few words...often placing them in a realistically oppressive atmosphere ... Heartrending prose and a sprinkling of humor make this one a winner.