Book Reviews

Women in Bed: Nine Stories by: Jessica Keener

17836571[1] Jessica Keener returns with this collection of nine stories that thematically address variations of love: love of self, family, and sexual relationships, from loneliness and isolation, desperation and rejection, to need and passion, forgiveness and, finally, to love found. Poignant, surprising, funny and profound, and always perceptive and gorgeously written, Women in Bed is a rich collection of moving tales that will engage you from the first page. (Goodreads)

It’s not what you think. Yes, get your mind out of the gutter. These nine short stories do explore the topic of sexuality and intimacy (in bed) but also a woman hospitalized (in bed), struggling with depression (in bed) and just finding peace and comfort (in bed). This sentence reminds me of that silly game where you add “in bed” to someone’s comment to appear funny. It usually involves cocktails, though.

I have a like/dislike relationship with short stories. I enjoy reading a snippet into someone’s life but then I get vested and want to read more just as the story ends. Just like any collection of short stories, there were some that really struck a chord and will stay in my mind. Jessica Keener is a fantastic writer and storyteller. She uses simple prose and vivid descriptions to immerse the reader into the story without overwhelming.

After revealing a family tragedy to a guy on a date:

“He looked at me differently after that. People usually do. A combination of compassion spliced with envy as if being close to tragedy gave me an edge to living.”

There were many sentences like this one and Ms. Keener knows how to write just enough to have the reader feel what the character is going through without being too obscure or wordy.

Jessica Keener does have a novel out called Night Swim which sounds excellent as well. I am excited to add a new author to my “watch list”. This story was a quick read, only 160 pages, but being short doesn’t equate with being short on character development and well written plots and storylines for each story. Each story felt like a novel and I believe that is difficult to pull off.

Women in Bed will be released tomorrow on October 1, 2013.

To find out more about Jessica Keener visit her site at

*I was fortunate to receive this Advance Readers Copy from NetGalley. I was not compensated or required to post a public review.

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