Friday, June 24, 2011

SHOES HAIR NAILS / Deborah Batterman

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Short Stories/Women’s Lit/Chick Lit

Approximate word count: 60-65,000 words

Kindle US:
YES UK: YES Nook: YES Smashwords: YES Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


At different times a writer, editor, and teaching artist, native New Yorker Deborah Batterman has had her stories featured in many anthologies and journals, both in print and cyberspace. Batterman is also a featured writer at Smartly New York
For more, visit her website.


A collection of eleven short stories set in a variety of places and times with female protagonists of all kinds.


Lately I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the different reasons people read. I suspect someday all my thoughts will end up as a blog post. I’ve concluded that, though there is a wide range of general reasons, a specific reader will often have different motivations depending on the type of book. When I read women’s lit or chick lit (whatever your definition
of these may be) I’m sure what I as a male am looking is different than what the primary target demographic of these genres hopes to find. Most of the time I think we’re happy with the same books, but for different reasons.

Books can give you a chance to vicariously experience things you couldn’t otherwise, help you see situations from a different viewpoint, and possibly come to understand a group of people better. This is what I hope to gain from women’s lit.

In contrast, a book can help you understand that your experiences aren’t unique. It can demonstrate that others have the same hopes, fears, and difficulties. This is one potential benefit of reading women’s lit for a woman that doesn’t apply in the same way for a man.

The title of the collection references the titles of three of the eleven stories. These superficial sounding titles make sense, but camouflage stories with much more depth than implied by the names. Many stories felt as if there were multiple layers; different messages a reader might receive or more than one lesson to learn, depending on your own perspective.

For example, Shoes has a lesson about judging by surface appearances, but also illustrates that no matter how well you think you know someone, there are always things you don’t know or understand about them. Nails is about friendships and relationships. My personal favorite was Hair, which had lessons about parenting, responsibility, and possibly consequences.

Neither of the benefits discussed above will come to fruition if the characters don’t ring true. The variety of characters populating each story in SHOES HAIR NAILS seemed real, even those much different from anyone I know. Whatever your reason for reading woman’s lit; SHOES HAIR NAILS is an excellent choice.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues

Rating: **** Four stars


Anonymous said...

Great review! I read the first title of this short story collection and couldn't stop thinking about my mother and the vast territories in her that I will never know. The hints, the sidelong glances all ring true and are vividly and beautifully rendered in "Shoes."

BooksAndPals said...

Thanks, Jennifer.