Jennifer Weiner has a collection of short stories out called The Guy Not Taken. I should admit up front that I am not a big fan of short stories. I am the type of person who finishes a 500 page book wondering “but what happens next?” Short stories tend to leave me wishing they were longer.
Weiner’s book of short stories starts with three stories that are connected to each other. The first story is about a teenager and her family after the father has left. The next two stories show the main character growing up through visits with her grandparents and her plans for her wedding. The following stories also follow an age arc – each successive story focuses on someone older.
Each story was gripping – Jennifer Weiner is an amazing author. The stories that gripped me most were “The Guy Not Taken” – where a married but tired & lonely new mom edits an online wedding registry for her ex-boyfriend so she is the bride. She spends a day with him, and is enthralled with the massage and the full night’s sleep (as anyone with a new baby would!), but realizes her real life was much better than the alternate one. That story felt finished when it was done.
The other story I was gripped by was “The Mother’s Hour”. It is a fabulously written story about new moms and judgement and what is the worst that could happen. I understand why the author ended the story where she did, but it left me with that “what’s next?” feeling.
I really enjoyed The Guy Not Taken, and someone who really likes short stories would love it. I left the book wishing I could go back into the book and read just a bit more from each story. I was mollified a bit by the Author’s Notes at the end of the book, which explained more about each story. I really did enjoy it, but I’m going back to a novel next – I need to read something with more of a conclusion!